ICI is a leading non-profit foundation that promotes child protection in cocoa-growing communities. Uniting the forces of the cocoa and chocolate industry, civil society, farming communities and national governments in cocoa-producing countries, ICI ensures a better future for children and advances the elimination of child labour. We work with our partners to ensure that cocoa-growing communities are more protective of children and their rights, that the cocoa supply chain manages the risk of child labour responsibly and that knowledge and information are promoted openly and transparently.

Operating in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana since 2007, we have implemented holistic child protection strategies in cocoa-growing communities and across the cocoa supply chain. Our 2015-2020 strategy has so far directly benefited 381,144 children, 232 communities and 214 farming cooperatives.

Our work

In communities we tackle child labour’s root causes and innovate to find new solutions

In the supply chain we promote responsible business conduct and support human rights due diligence

At the national level we support governments in their child protection efforts

At the international level we build knowledge and advocate for children’s rights


ICI’s vision is of thriving cocoa-growing communities where children’s rights are respected and protected, and where child labour has been eliminated.


ICI works to improve the lives of children in cocoa-growing communities, safeguarding their rights and contributing to the elimination of child labour by supporting the acceleration and scale-up of child-centred community development and of responsible supply chain management throughout the cocoa sector.


ICI aims to directly improve protection for 375,000 children by
the end of 2020.

Our values

We believe that ICI’s responsibility is to help, protect and serve those who are in need, particularly by putting the best interests of vulnerable children and their families at the heart of our interventions,  as well as by promoting and upholding fairness, justice and dignity, both inside and outside of ICI.

We uphold the highest standards of honesty, accountability, and transparency in all aspects of our work. We are committed to exercising and demonstrating an appropriate, efficient and rational use of resources for the maximum impact possible.

We are independent, unbiased, impartial, equitable and inclusive in how we engage with beneficiaries, stakeholders and staff, and in the decisions we make.

We believe that durable, scalable and impactful solutions depend on dialogue, collaboration, joint learning and coordinated, collective action. We promote a vision of shared responsibility, where everyone deriving revenue, profit or pleasure from cocoa or chocolate works together and contributes to a more dignified and sustainable supply chain.

We encourage creative thinking, challenging the status quo, and adapting to new realities. We are results-focused but are also ready to take calculated risks and to learn from failure as well as success. We aim to influence, inspire and lead the way.

Message from the Executive Director

Innovating and inspiring for greater impact

by Nick Weatherill

“We are on the right track, but the road ahead remains a long and steep one.” 

Since 2015, ICI has grown considerably, establishing ourselves as both an operational partner and a thought-leader in the fight against child labour. We’ve improved the lives of over 380,000 children in cocoa-growing communities over the last 5 years, meaning we have surpassed our direct-action target of 375,000 children by the end of 2020.

Last year, we reinforced our monitoring and evaluation capacity to better measure the success of our work and learn from our results. An analysis of the last 5 years of our community development work confirmed a 20-30% reduction in child labour in communities we worked with, alongside increased school enrolment and improvements in income for cocoa-growing households. We also confirmed the potential of our Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) to reduce child labour by almost 50% amongst identified children, at the same time broadening our understanding of the risk of relapse and the importance of measuring the severity of child labour, as well as its incidence.

All these findings serve two crucial purposes at ICI, which we believe will drive impact at scale. 

First, we’re using this knowledge to adapt and innovate. We’ve channelled what we’ve learnt from our community work into the development of new tools, such as our Child Labour Risk Calculator and we’re also refining and piloting operational models for child protection and forced labour risk management. With growing calls for mandatory human rights due diligence, we’ve made it our goal to ensure that both companies and governments can better meet the expectations upon them through cost-effective, scalable approaches that deliver impact for vulnerable farming households and their children.

Second, by providing evidence of our impact and building shared knowledge of what works, we’re inspiring and motivating others to act. In the face of a widespread and persistent challenge like child labour, we know that it is easy to become discouraged by the scale of the task. That is why we are showing what is possible and focussing on how success can be scaled across the sector to drive greater progress. We’re building momentum among all responsible parties, enhancing the sector’s collective efforts, and ensuring investment is targeted at those interventions that we know are effective.

In 2019, we saw our membership grow, our project portfolio increase to 24 projects with 17 partners and our operational reach expand to Cameroon. More broadly, we now estimate that 15% of the cocoa supply-chain in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana is covered by some form of child labour monitoring and remediation system. We are on the right track, but the road ahead remains a long and steep one. It is my hope and conviction that ICI will continue to innovate and inspire so that many others join us on this journey and together we can bring about real change.

At ICI we work with our partners in the cocoa sector and beyond to improve protection for children in cocoa-growing communities, achieving real impact through our Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems and our Community Development Programme.

Our impact/CLMRS

Rolling out the CLMRS across West African supply chains

A core part of ICI’s 2015-20 strategy consists of supporting the cocoa sector embed responsible risk-management within the supply chain through Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS). These systems prevent, identify, monitor and remediate child labour cases.

Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems, developed and adapted for the cocoa sector by ICI in 2012, are now being implemented across the cocoa supply chain in West and Central Africa, protecting children and supporting human rights due diligence. We now estimate that these systems cover 15% of the cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

Last year, working with eight partners, ICI’s CLMRS were active in 194 cooperatives, covering over 168,757 farmers across Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon. Since 2015, along with our partners, we have positively impacted the lives of 215,746 children in cocoa communities through these systems.

ICI’s CLMRS – which blend monitoring, awareness raising, remediation and prevention activities – are estimated to identify at least 60% of child labour cases in farmers’ cooperatives and can result in a reduction of hazardous child labour by as much as 49% among those children. This demonstrates our CLMRS are having an important impact. But through experience we have also learnt that the situation in cocoa communities is a highly fluid one. Among children who stop working, we see that around 23% may return to carrying out hazardous tasks at some point. This underscores the necessity for continual monitoring of households, particularly to guard against relapse and to ensure that harder to reach cases receive ongoing support. Repeated follow-up visits allow vulnerable households where children continue to face the risk of child labour, to receive further targeted remediation.

Last year, we also saw some of ICI’s partners make ambitious commitments to expand the CLMRS to cover their entire at-risk supply chain. Such steps are necessary if the sector is to make greater progress in reducing child labour. At ICI we are continuing to innovate and are testing adaptations to further increase the effectiveness of such systems and reduce the costs of implementation, creating conducive conditions for the CLMRS to be scaled up.

Children positively impacted by ICI’s CLMRS

CLMRS results in 2019

Household members participated in 213 Income Generating Activities
Community Service Groups set up at the cooperative level
Children identified as involved in one or more hazardous tasks in 2019
Active Monitoring and Remediation agents in Cooperatives
Active Community Facilitators
Supply chain actors trained in 2019
Farmers targeted in 2019
Farming households visited
children (aged 5-17) in households visited by a CLMRS agent
Awareness raising sessions at the community and household level with on average 7 attendees at each session in 2019

Learn more about the CLMRS

ICI’s CLMRS is a structure embedded in the supply chain of chocolate and cocoa companies which aims to identify, remediate and prevent child labour.

Darrell High
Head of Nestlé Cocoa Plan

“The Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System was successful in tackling child labour in just over half of cases in the 2019 reporting period. The CLMRS is a key component of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan where there is a high risk of child labour, so we will use it in all our sourcing from West Africa by 2025.”

Jeff King
Sr. Director Global Sustainability and Social Impact, Hershey’s

“Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems are critical to identifying any child labor issues that exist within our supply chain. But the more important element is the remediation it enables us to undertake – whether it’s educating farmers or securing school kits and birth certificates to ensure kids are in school. Hershey will be expanding this important system to 100% of our high-risk supply as part of our Hershey Cocoa For Good direct sourcing program by 2025.”

Impact Cheerleader at Tony’s Chocolonely

“Since the implementation of the CLMRS in 2017 we have found a lot more cases of illegal child labour than before. While this is obviously not great news, it demonstrates that the system is working. Collaborating closely with the cooperatives sparked a lot of helpful feedback, based on which ICI is developing a new data management system that will enable partners to generate a report at the press of a button.”

Community development has been integral to ICI’s strategic approach for the past five years. Between 2015 and 2018, we assisted 75 cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana through the ICI core programme to create a more protective and enabling environment for children.

Our impact / Community Development

Supporting empowered communities to increase child protection and reduce child labour

In 2019 we commissioned an external evaluation and conducted additional analysis to understand how effective our community development approach has been in reducing child labour and promoting children’s rights.

Analysis of the impact of ICI’s community development programme shows a significant reduction of child labour over the course of the project. Preliminary results show an average reduction of 20% across 46 communities in Côte d’Ivoire and 30% across 29 communities in Ghana. The proportion of children carrying out hazardous tasks and the number of hours they worked per week also fell substantially. The external evaluation also showed significant impacts in terms of improved access to quality education and community empowerment, when compared to unassisted communities.

Key to ICI’s success were the Community Child Protection Committees that were set up or strengthened within the assisted communities. These groups drove the development of Community Action Plans and forged vital connections with local government. Consequently, they were able to make their voices heard, receive visits from local government officials, and lobby for further support. Child Protection Committees remained active in all the communities throughout ICI’s three-year programme.

In tandem, communities mobilised more funds than comparison communities to pursue specific development projects and invest in children’s education. Throughout the project, community financial contributions to the implementation of their Action Plans more than doubled, from 15% to 33%, highlighting increased ownership of the development process.

Access to quality education also increased in the 75 communities. Schools were constructed or renovated, canteens were built, enabling school meal programmes to be put in place, teacher accommodation was erected, and school latrines were built to make school environments fit for learning. These actions saw enrolment levels rise by 13%, increasing children’s time in the classroom and opportunities for formal learning.

Women also became empowered through a combination of literacy and numeracy classes, income-generating activities and savings groups. This meant that women’s autonomy, household incomes and self-esteem all improved in assisted communities. The external evaluation revealed that these activities were valued highly by community members.

Over the three-year period, ICI’s community development programme has shown to be effective in reducing child labour. Assisted communities were empowered to put in place locally-managed child protection systems and conduct numerous activities that contribute to their community’s overall development.

reduction of hazardous child labour in Ghanaian communities
reduction of hazardous child labour in Ivorian communities

Community Development in Action: Abease

ICI worked with the Abease community in Ghana to promote child protection as part of the Community Development Programme. As a result, community members became informed, empowered and motivated to strengthen child protection, putting it at the heart of their development. Today, Abease’s children face a reduced risk of child labour and have greater access to quality education.

James Coffey
President of the Abease Community Child Protection Committee

“The state of education infrastructure in this community was poor. Armed with our Action Plan, we went as far as the regional minister to lobby for our development.”

Our impact / Community Development

Eliminating Child Labor in Cocoa-Growing Communities: ECLIC

Over four years from 2015 to 2019, ICI supported children and families in 50 cocoa communities in Côte d’Ivoire following our community development approach with the support of the United States Department of Labor through the Eliminating Child Labor in Cocoa-growing Communities in Côte d’Ivoire (ECLIC) programme.

decrease in hazardous child labour among supported households

Key Results Among Supported Children

Significant decrease in hazardous child labour among supported households

Increased awareness
of child labour and
the importance of education

Improved educational resources and access to quality education


ECLIC in Numbers

children assisted across 50 cocoa communities
children helped to access education through support with school fees, materials or vocational training programmes
Community Child Protection Committees formed and trained
out-of-school children ‘graduated’ from bridging classes and re-entered the regular school system
community members reached through awareness-raising
school kits distributed
birth certificates distributed
schoolchildren trained on child rights and child protection
teachers trained on child rights and child protection: 71% said they are actively applying that knowledge
adults attended literacy classes
members of at-risk households received support with alternative Income Generating Activities and/or joined Loans & Savings Groups

Innovation and learning

Finding new ways to tackle existing and emerging challenges in cocoa supply chains and learning to scale up impact are at the heart of what we do at ICI.

Quality education: an important piece in the child labour puzzle

Last year, ICI delved further into the link between education quality and child labour. This research found a strong correlation between […]

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Learning to tackle forced labour risk in cocoa

Forced labour is a serious problem that needs to be better understood and addressed in global supply chains, including cocoa. A 2018 […]

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Understanding child labour risk, refining monitoring mechanisms

Traditional methods of measuring child labour, such as in-depth assessments, are costly and time-consuming. But what if there was a way to estimate […]

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Message from ICI’s Co-Presidents

Mil Niepold

Mil Niepold
Independent Expert

Isabelle Adam
Corporate Relations, Touton

Learning at the heart of progress

We are nearing the end of a 6-year strategy cycle at ICI – an excellent time to take stock of lessons learnt.

ICI has continued to evaluate and refine its intervention models and is working to strengthen synergies between cocoa sector stakeholders and improve child and forced labour assessment tools in cocoa-growing communities. Remediation and prevention activities have been rolled-out to an ever-growing number of children and farmers; while innovations, such as estimating child labour risk at the community and household level, continue to be tested on the ground.

We are proud of our successes and while progress has been made, stronger commitments and coordinated action from those within the cocoa sector and beyond are now needed to take this impact to the next level.

More than ever before relationships between the public and private sector need to be strengthened if we are to deliver on commitments to tackle child labour. Founded on the principle of “shared responsibility”, ICI is already working closely with producing countries – providing input and support for the National Action Plans which are the guiding architecture for government efforts in the sector.

Consuming countries also have an important role to play. They have the ability to provide technical and financial help to reinforce those systems on the ground that better assess risk and monitor progress, and can put in place regulatory frameworks to ensure that they are used. Some of the very tools the sector is already co-developing with governments on traceability are essential to combatting child labour and other important sustainability challenges like deforestation and farmer poverty. There is a true win-win for producing and consuming countries to align efforts and collaborate, with the support and commitment from the private sector and civil society as implementers and agents of change.

Given the complexity of these inter-locking challenges, ICI’s unique role as a multi-stakeholder convener of most of the sector’s largest companies and NGOs – combined with the expertise of key United Nations agencies – will be ever more important in the years ahead.  From the outset, ICI has represented a powerful combination of community-centric models that are empowered by the infrastructure and leverage of global supply chains. We are more committed than ever to sharing what we are learning, from our research, from the innovations we are incubating and from our operational efforts on the ground, with all those actors that we need on board to help prevent and address the urgent issues of child and forced labour in West Africa.

Board Members and Contributing Partners

Current ICI Board Members, Contributing Partners & other donors

The ICI Board is comprised of Board Members from both industry and civil society, who preside over the foundation’s governance, accountability and strategic direction. Corporate and non-profit Contributing Partners generously fund our work.