Gueyo, Ivory Coast — In the run up to International Women’s Day, the first stone was laid for a marketplace for women-led businesses in the Ivory Coast village of Gueyo as part of a partnership between Dove Chocolate and CARE, Mars, Inc. reports.
The centrally located commerce area will open in July and provide space for women to sell goods daily. The reinforced structure will provide protection from the elements, a major improvement from the open air market it is replacing, according to Mars. The project will be connected to the electric grid, allowing women to extend their work day and will feature conference space to organize training, run operational meetings and be available for rent as another income source.
The official ceremony was attended by local dignitaries; Mars West Africa Director Jason Green; Inge Jacobs, senior manager, Human Rights and Income, Cocoa, Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., LLC; and 1,000 women and entrepreneurs.
“There is a palpable excitement within the Gueyo community as we embark on this market build and opening,” says Guillaume Aguettant, country director for CARE in Ivory Coast. “As in the United States, International Women’s Day is widely celebrated by both the women and men in Ivory Coast. Today is all about the national pride we have for these women and the commitment they’ve made to themselves to gain financial independence.”