Vanilla for Change

Building brighter futures for the next generation of vanilla farmers in Madagascar

Did you know 80% of the world’s vanilla comes from the Sava region in Madagascar? But it’s one of the hardest places to be a child; 3 out of 4 people live below the poverty line, over 40% of children (under the age of five) suffers from stunting, and the country has the world’s fifth highest number of out-of-school children in the world. 

Since 2016, we’ve been working in partnership with Wall’s and vanilla supplier Symrise, to improve the livelihoods of vanilla farming communities in the Sava region. The partnership aims to break the cycle of poverty that gets transferred from one generation to the next and ensure a strong and sustainable supply of vanilla for the future.

This summer we’re so excited to be a part of Vanilla for Change. The campaign helps bring to life the amazing impact we’re having in Madagascar, to consumers here in the UK!

Vanilla for Change and Wall's logos

What we have achieved in Madagascar

In partnership with Wall’s and Symrise, we have already supported more than 40,000 people across 76 villages in Madagascar.

Our partnership aims to tackle some of the biggest issues affecting vanilla farmers and their families. The programme provides direct support to farmers (as well as the wider community) to improve their livelihoods, making sure they get a fair price for their crop, have access to health insurance and financial training. All of this helps to provide better opportunities for the next generation.

Some of our joint achievements include:

  • Over 9,000 households and 38,000 community members in total are now covered by lifesaving health insurance.
  • Over 114 Village Savings and Loans associations are active across the region, providing communities with access to fair credit and savings.
  • Over 40,000 people received ‘Essential Package’ training, which encourages improved family health, nutrition and parenting behaviours.
  • 2,400 young people now have access to education services, such as numeracy and literacy ‘catch up’ classes, Youth Committees (including very popular football clubs!), rural training colleges and career guidance.
  • We’ve carried out a study on the impact of the vanilla industry on the lives of children and used these finding to help develop a Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct and guide for all businesses to ensure better protection of children living in vanilla farming communities.
What we have achieved in Madagascar - image by 'Charlie Forgham-Bailey | Save the Children

How does the campaign work?

Consumers of four of Wall’s best-loved ice cream varieties (which all contain real vanilla from the Sava region, of course) will be able to see the impact they’re helping to make in young people’s lives.

Consumers of certain Wall’s vanilla ice-creams will be able to see the impact they’re helping to make in young people’s lives using the Track Your Impact tool, run by the social enterprise ME to WE. Their innovative tool introduces QR and web codes for four ice-cream varieties, all which contain real vanilla from the Sava region. This provides access to real-life stories from young farmers supported by our programme in Madagascar. This way, consumers can see first-hand the positive impact ‘Vanilla for Change’ is having on farming communities in Madagascar, and on young people here in the UK through ME to WE’s WE Schools programme.

The real-life stories are an amazing testament to the impact our partnership is making in creating brighter futures for the next generation of vanilla farmers.

"Vanilla for Change is just the first step to demonstrate our commitment to fairness across our supply chain”, says Ian Maskell, Global VP Wall’s. “It’s a beautiful chapter of the journey we embarked on as a brand to make a difference to the lives of the communities we serve, through our purpose of building a happier, more inclusive world one street at a time. We hope this will be a first step towards a wider global commitment.”

Click here to find out more

Germina's story

Read Germina's story - Vanilla for Change & Save the Children UK

Germina, now 17, started playing football when she was 13. For her it’s more than just physical activity and the thrill of winning. ‘When I play football, I’m always smiling. My favourite thing about football is the training and friendship. Our relationship in the team is peaceful and respectful.’  Germina speaks with a gleam in her eyes. Quietly confident, she beams with positivity and a sense of purpose.

Germina’s family have farmed vanilla for generations. But being a vanilla farmer isn’t easy—a whole crop can be wiped out in a day by extreme weather, heavily impacted by poor flowering or even stolen.

When Germina isn’t playing football with the youth committee supported by Vanilla for Change, she visits the Maison Familiale Rurale. Young people attend this rural technical training centre to learn a trade, also part of our programme. Germina studies vanilla farming and sewing.

Growing up in Madagascar can be difficult; only one out of three children complete primary education, and there are few opportunities for teenagers to learn how to earn a living. This is why the vocational training centre and youth committee activities, made possible by Wall’s, Save the Children and Symrise’s partnership, are so important.

To read more about Germina and find out how you can get involved in Vanilla for Change, click here

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