Masterclassing

Magnum upscales its female empowerment programme in Cote d’Ivoire with AWA digital ambassador launch

David Murphy

Ice cream brand Magnum has launched AWA by Magnum, to celebrate upscaling Magnum's female empowerment programme throughout the brand’s cocoa farming communities in Cote d’Ivoire.

In collaboration with NGOs and partners, through Magnum’s supply chain network, such as CARE International and 100WEEKS, the AWA by Magnum programme provides women in the cocoa farming communities with the entrepreneurship and literacy skills, funding (through direct mobile payments) and infrastructure of the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLAs).

This helps the women to financially establish themselves independently, providing training to further their economic understanding and provide a lasting impact, with individuals participating in the AWA programme having 12 times more savings compared to the benchmark in Côte d’Ivoire. Further to this, the first cohort of graduates from Magnum’s female empowerment programme have successfully established businesses such as fashion retail and food production, with almost three quarters (74 per cent) of people in the programme having already expanded their income-generating activities.

Women play a vital role in cocoa farming communities in Côte d'Ivoire. To support them, Magnum is amplifying their voices and work, while bringing awareness to its long-term strategy to financially and socially empower them this World Cocoa & Chocolate Day.

The empowerment program is also brought to life by AWA, Magnum’s first ever digital ambassador, who was created using facial scanning technology combined with the live portraits of 128 Ivorian women from the cocoa farming communities and who have been positively impacted by Magnum’s long-term programme.

2022 marks the first cohort of programme graduates and, looking beyond this, AWA will tell the stories of achievement from the programme and explain how, by empowering them both economically and socially, the women have been able to diversify their income. 

AWA will model a limited-edition fashion collection created in partnership with Rebecca Zoro, using local materials and inspired by her Ivorian heritage and culture. The 5-piece collection will be available to buy on 1 October via the AWA by Magnum Online Store.

She said: “Since my early childhood, I have always been passionate about the strength, beauty and work of Ivorian women. Today I highlight this love through my creations. The inspirational trips inside Côte d'Ivoire as part of this project allowed me to "see" and especially to feel the positive impact that female entrepreneurship can have on our local communities. 

AWA by Magnum is a dream come true because it is the synergy between the young stylist that I am, the commitment of the women I met and the talent of our local artisans. I am so excited to present AWA on such a global platform and proud to know that the benefits will go to farming communities through Magnum's cocoa program that supports them. I thank all the people who between countries and continents have spared no effort to make this beautiful project see the light of day.” 

Funds generated from the sale of the collection will go towards the development of additional impact programmes led by Magnum in Côte d’Ivoire. This is in addition to Magnum’s commitment to support the cocoa farming community through its investment of €25m (£22.3m) to fund its wider cocoa impact programmes for female empowerment and beyond.

Through its supply chain network, Magnum collaborates with NGOs including CARE International and 100WEEKS, and aims to further its commitments to the cocoa farming communities by expanding the programme. 600 women in total will have passed through the programme by the end of the year, with a clear upscale plan to offer extensions such as additional training modules.