Chocolate Revitalized

PROJECT IDEA: The creation of a lab for the production of nutrient-rich chocolate from locally-sourced cocoa beans, managed by a sustainable enterprise and sold in the local community.



PROJECT LOCATION: Antrema, Anjiabè and Antamotamo villages, Nosy Komba, Antsiranana Province, Madagascar

SECTOR OF THE INTERVENTION: Nutrition, Economic Development, Natural Resources Sustainable Use


African countries grow 70% of the world’s cocoa. However, they manage only 1% of the global chocolate market.  On Nosy Komba, most cocoa farmers have never tasted chocolate, as the final product of their labours is unaffordable.  Communities are robbed of the vast majority of profits from chocolate production. Perhaps less intuitive is the nutritional loss to communities when cocoa is exported. Madagascar is burdened with one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world. Over 50% of children under 5 are permanently stunted as a result. Cocoa, and ultimately dark chocolate, is high in fat, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. Chocolate is more than a luxury- it is an added source of vital nutrients.

Madagascar, a country so rich in natural resources is so poor in benefitting from those resources. Help for Optimism wants to change this paradigm of power, beginning on Nosy Komba. We have launched an enterprise in which locally produced cocoa is processed into chocolate by and for community members. In our pilot project, cocoa is bought directly from farmers at higher than market price. The entire process of chocolate production and distribution is carried out by community members, thus restoring agency over resources and empowering citizens to develop competencies. This initiative has proved profitable and more importantly, popular- especially among children. Future plans are to expand the chocolate production, as well as to incorporate peanut butter – an extremely rich source of proteins and fats.  Chocolate is becoming a source of health, happiness, and economic opportunity on Nosy Komba.


  • to stimulate local economic activity and empower agency over natural resources
  • to supplement the diets of children with protein, fat, and essential nutrients
  • to minimize the environmental impact of cocoa farming and chocolate production
  • to safeguard the Criollo variety of cocoa endemic to Madagascar
  • to encourage children to attend school
  • to bring joy to community members

Cocoa farmers benefit from receiving fair prices for their product. Community members benefit from employment opportunities and potential for growth and management of the enterprise. Community members also benefit from access to the chocolate itself. Children especially will benefit from badly needed nutrients.

Cocoa farmers receiving supplementary training in cocoa cultivation and a fair price for their crop.
Women employed to produce the chocolate and given the opportunity to expand the enterprise.


  • Train farmers on cocoa processing
  • Train a team for chocolate production
  • Set up a lab for the production of chocolate with more efficient machinery
  • Distribute chocolate in schools


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