We’re proud to partner with Ben Affleck and the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) to launch a delicious chocolate bar series that’s helping Congolese farmers cultivate a brighter future. Theo ECI bars are available nationwide at stores including Whole Foods and in our web shop. A portion of proceeds will be donated to ECI, with the potential to positively impact more than 20,000 people living in Eastern Congo.
To purchase Theo Congo bars, please click here.
Our ECI bars are made of 100% Congolese cocoa in two distinctly different flavors: Vanilla Nib, a scrumptious mix of cocoa, creamy vanilla, and crunchy cocoa nibs, and Coffee & Cream, a delicious blend of our milk chocolate and Congolese coffee from Caffe Vita.
In keeping with our high sourcing standards, the cocoa, coffee, and vanilla used in our Congo selections are Organic, Fair Trade certified, and grown in the region by farmers who care about quality and sustainability. Which means you’ll not only taste the difference, you’ll help make a difference for generations to come.
Why Congo, Why Cocoa, Why Now:
Theo and ECI believe real, enduring change often comes from public-private partnerships. We’re able to develop solutions that will improve lives in Eastern Congo through our joint expertise: ECI has a history of working with the Congolese people to create economic opportunities that serve as a foundation for stability and success, and Theo has extensive experience building sustainable, fair trade supply chains around the globe.
“We have a transparent supply chain which allows us to increase the perceived value of cocoa among the farmer groups with whom we work. At the heart of many social and environmental problems are business issues. It’s all based on quality. We provide the technical information and market awareness farmers need so that they can increase quality and charge more for their product.” – Joe Whinney, founder of Theo Chocolate
This year alone, Theo will purchase more than 640 tons of cocoa from the small holder farmers ECI supports – enough to make 9 million chocolate bars. For our very first harvest, which began in September 2012, Theo exported more than 300 tons of Organic, Fair Trade certified cocoa from Eastern Congo. These landmark purchases positively impact over 20,000 people living in the region, increasing household incomes and improving access to vital services.
While the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is rich in natural and human resources, it has the lowest per-capita gross domestic product in the world. Violence, poverty, and disease in the DRC have claimed the lives of over 5 million men, women, and children. And despite democratic elections and multiple peace agreements, the eastern region is still impacted by conflict, which has significantly diminished the availability of reliable, income-generating employment, as well as education and health care.
Theo and ECI recognized an opportunity to help the region emerge from crisis by joining forces with local farmers to cultivate cocoa. This fast-growing, high-yield crop requires minimal re-planting, prevents deforestation, commands solid global prices, and is a major source of income for women. Cocoa is also considered “militia-proof” because its true value isn’t realized until it’s processed.
One of the important ways Theo is helping Congolese cocoa farmers improve the quality of their crops is by working with Green House – an ECI grantee – to develop and provide training programs.
“The farmers are ready for change and open to learning. Especially when we can show the farmers what happens as a result of these changes. The biggest obstacle we have had to overcome is fear of change.” – Dhena Bassara, Director, Green House
To learn more about ECI and grantees like Green House that support economic and social development opportunities in the DRC, visit easterncongo.org
To view recent media coverage on how ECI and Theo are working together to help Congolese cocoa farmers, please click the links below.
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