Being a good neighbour: children and education
“We believe that educating children is one of the means by which we can make the greatest impact on the families and communities of our employees”
Raul Gigena Pazos, Global HR and Sustainability of Chiquita.
You’re only as strong as your foundation. What makes up strong at Chiquita? Our happy, healthy Chiquita communities and our sustainable approach to the industry. Therefore, Chiquita put into place an education benefits program for the children of its farm workers.
What are we doing?
To give back to and strengthen the community, Chiquita provides school packages in Guatemala and Costa Rica with many of the basic materials required by the education ministry of each country. In addition, Chiquita offers scholarships in Panama, Guatemala and Honduras.
The whole management of Chiquita firmly believe that helping children receive valuable primary education has a positive, long-lasting impact on not only the children, but also the communities they reside in. This is not only good for society, but also for the quality of work Chiquita counts on.
“At Chiquita, it is so important that we stay true to the pillar that reminds us to be a Good Neighbor, and we believe this education program helps us to do just that.”
Jamie Postell, Director of Sales North America for Chiquita.
Chiquita is not only involved in education but also in health care. Children from schools in the farm’s neighborhood are invited to receive visual and dental care, health education and free teeth cleaning kits. The impact of such activities is especially high in areas where educational levels tend to be low and where access to diagnostic facilities is limited due to distance from medical centers and the cost involved.
How far have we come?
Chiquita is proud to announce it has reached 33% of its education aid program goals. This goal is to reach 100 schools and 20,000 children by the year 2020, and to date, Chiquita had provided support for 33 schools. Chiquita aims to spread their support for children’s education further.
Where are we going?
Within ten years, it is Chiquita’s goal to make sure all the children in the banana producing areas will have been given the opportunity to obtain a good primary education.
By 2020, Chiquita expects to reach 100 schools and 20,000 children by building and renovating school infrastructure, providing learning materials and teaching courses. Starting on its own farms with pilot projects in Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala and Honduras, Chiquita then intends to expand the program to those countries where the company buys bananas from independent growers.
Every Chiquita employee will be offered the opportunity to give 1 day of paid work to support the construction and renovation of schools and/or to help teaching.