Release of Cocoa Life's 'Strategy to Help Protect Children' & how Embode applied a child-centred approach to support its design

14 March 2023

Supporting Mondel─ôz International’s strategy to help protect children in the cocoa sector

How Embode integrates a child-centred, systems-based approach to help combat child labour.

Mondel─ôz International’s global cocoa sustainability programme, Cocoa Life, has just entered its
next phase. As part of the next phase of this programme, Cocoa Life has published its newly
updated ‘Strategy to Help Protect Children’ (the “Strategy”). As a key supporting organisation in
developing the Strategy, Embode is pleased to see its release in furtherance of our joint goal of
supporting the development of positive child protection initiatives and approaches across supply

Fundamental to our contribution, Embode conducted a consultative review of Cocoa Life’s
programming, which then informed how we supported Cocoa Life in refining and renewing the

As independent subject matter experts in child labour and child protection, we focus on taking a
child-centred and systems-based approach to help combat child labour in the cocoa sector. For
Embode, a child-centred approach looks at the broader child protection systems that exist, how
they operate and how they can be improved and strengthened over time to help sustainably
protect the interests and rights of children. In the case of the cocoa sector, this means looking
at child labour in all of its forms and remaining cognisant of the inter-connected nature of child
protection concerns. As we have clearly stated before, child labour does not occur in a vacuum
but is caused and conditioned by broader child protection and development factors. This is why
our approach recognises that there are an array of forces at play which transcend any sector
and any particular commodity’s supply chain. In this context, Embode zeros in on systems that
currently exist and examines how they can be strengthened or changed to help protect children
from exploitation and abuse. Strong child protection systems should aim to help protect all
children, whether they live in the context of the cocoa sector, adjacent to it or otherwise. This is
why, when assessing human rights impacts and developing remediation systems, we actively
seek to integrate approaches with local government and duty bearers. For example, children
who have migrated with their families will commonly not have access to education and are at a
higher risk of being involved in child labour.

Our focus on systems-based change necessitates engagement with a broader range of
stakeholders to ensure wider coverage and comprehensive responses to child labour, including
engaging government agencies and NGOs that focus on child protection and child rights. This
approach is not without difficulty and complexity, but is core to our ethos as an independent
organisation that works with a range of stakeholders. This results in discovery of nuances and
keeps the ‘how’ central to our work of striving to see human rights protected. We strive not just
for temporary solutions, but for fundamental change to the systems that enable rights abuses,
such as child labour, all while recognising we are one agency in a sea of others with the same

With each project we undertake, it is our hope and goal to see a positive impact on rights
holders. We are appreciative of the Cocoa Life team and their willingness to partner with us and
make adjustments to country level programmes in order to help protect children in their supply

If you would like to learn more about our approach to child protection, child labour and adopting
a child-centred approach, please reach out for a discussion. We value all perspectives that
seek to construct a future where the barriers children face are removed, enabling them to
develop freely.

To read the full Cocoa Life Strategy to Help Protect Children, see HERE.