World Cocoa Foundation

Fellowship Number: 
Field Location: 
Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
Policy Location: 
Washington, DC
General Scope of Work: 
Primary research on gender dynamics and food security in cocoa-growing communities
Description of Organization: 

The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is a non-profit organization founded in 2000 for the purpose of promoting social and economic development as well as environmental stewardship in cocoa-growing communities. WCF works through public-private partnerships that bring together donors, industry members, producing country governments, research institutes and non-governmental organizations to achieve its goals. The foundation is based in Washington, DC and supports programs that benefit farmers in cocoa-growing regions of Africa, Southeast Asia and the Americas. The foundation maintains long-term commitment to ensure a sustainable supply of quality cocoa that benefits both growers and users of this unique tropical crop; empower farmers to make choices that help develop strong, prosperous communities in all of the world's cocoa-growing regions; and to promote production practices that maintain and increase biodiversity and crop diversification in cocoa communities, thereby promoting food security. For more information please visit:

Project Description: 

The World Cocoa Foundation’s W. Africa programsare public-private partnerships that strengthen cocoa growing communities in areas of livelihoods development, education, and government institutional building for national cocoa sustainability planning. Africa.

CLP focuses on production and livelihoods development, ACI focuses on institutional strengthening in governments and related organizations that regulate and service the cocoa sector (from input supply to government marketing bodies), and ECHOES focuses on holistic community development through literacy, livelihoods, and local capacity building to support cocoa growing communities. Each program is implemented by a local implementing partner (grantee) but coordinated by the WCF Country Coordinator in Abidjan.

Field Placement: 

The Fellow will be based in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire with the WCF Program Coordinator, interacting with implementation partners from the international development arena, visiting funders, as well as the government bodies that support the programs to represent WCFs three core W. Africa programs. Each program – ACI, CLP, and ECHOES- is inter-related and builds off the other, with the core focus of supporting sustainable cocoa across the sector. The Fellow will work across the three programs to support government and stakeholder relations as well as gender and crop diversification in food security in Cote d’Ivoire.

The Fellow will take the lead in developing and implementing research that focuses gender and diversification within food security in program implementation sites in Cote d’Ivoire.  To do so, the Fellow will establish and work through relationships with a large group of Program stakeholders – communities/community beneficiaries, WCF Program managers, field agents, implementing partners, community boards, and government officials.  A large portion of the fellow’s time will be spent working directly with this stakeholders group and community members through the research.

The research activities will be defined by the Fellow, providing him/her with the opportunity to fully design and implement primary research. Activities could include: documenting community perceptions of gender and crop diversification for food security; implementing research standards, such as the Women’s Empowerment Index; establishing baselines of farmer decision making regarding farm planting. The Fellow will also work hand-in-hand with the Program Coordinator in Abidjan to align the research with ongoing program support, including n government relations and program management. 

Policy Placement: 

The policy year has been designed to rely on and build out from the fellow’s research and experiences from the field year. In order to ensure more ongoing and sustainable foci on gender and food security in rural cocoa-growing communities, the Fellow will draw on in-field research and analysis to make recommendations aligning WCF West Africa programs with national sustainable cocoa action plans.

During this year the fellow will work closely with Washington staff.  The fellow will share findings from the first year in the field through a report summarizing outcomes and recommendations from the field research. Based on these findings, the fellow will be invited to develop recommendations for WCF W. Africa development programs in collaboration with Program Directors and Managers based on the field research. A special focus will be on the alignment of gender and food security within the national cocoa sustainability policies that WCF partners on with W. African government agencies.

The fellow will also be invited to collaborate with the Outreach and Communications team at WCF to publish technical bulletins or other publications sharing findings and recommendations and to represent the World Cocoa Foundation at relevant conferences, trainings, and workshops. The WCF DC team will encourage the fellow to develop their strategic planning skills by applying lessons learned from field work to strategic planning as we position our programming to integrate gender and food security best practices. The fellow’s experience in food security in particular will thus provide a point of leadership within the organization.

Education/Experience Required: 
  • Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics, Agriculture Development, Economics, Environmental Economics, Business Administration or business background
  • Coursework relevant to gender, food security, or livelihoods in a development context
  • Primary research experience or academic background in research principles and practices
  • Strong technical skills including data collection, online research, creation of reports and documents suitable for varying audiences, etc.
  • Strong interpersonal skills required to build solid professional relationships required to make this work successful
  • FSI (Foreign Service Institute) Language Proficiency 3S/2R (Proficient speaking in social and professional environments and basic reading)
  • Ability to work independently and willingness to support program staff when needed
  • Other considerations:  Living conditions in the field in Abidjan may vary. Position includes regular field travel to visit program sites. The Fellow will need to acquire fully up-to-date immunizations and take proper malaria precautions.


  • Previous field experience in development context is desired, preferably West Africa
  • Experience in international program management, technical assistance, etc.
  • Ability to coordinate and communicate with international partners using innovative methods, such as online communication platforms such as Skype.
  • Experience in Monitoring and Evaluation
  • French fluency