Project Summary
Barry Callebaut
Barry Callebaut
Food & Beverages
Practice Area
Digital Transformation

Barry Callebaut, a Belgian-Swiss chocolate company, has committed to eliminating child labor from its supply chain entirely by 2025 through its Forever Chocolate initiative. Achieving this across a set of suppliers spanning three continents is a massive challenge, requiring analysis of accurate, real-time data to evaluate the effectiveness of remediation activities in the field. Quoin has implemented the Primero platform to allow the company’s local remediation officers to document their day-to-day remediation work. Barry Callebaut can then use information on these activities to track progress towards their commitment milestones and coordinate efforts with the rest of the company’s operations.


To combat child labor, Barry Callebaut carries out “remediation activities” in areas where it sources cocoa. These remediation activities include providing farms with tools which improve worker safety, training farmers and parents on the risks of child labor in the cocoa plantations, and providing children with literacy training or school supplies, so that they can attend school.

However, getting a child to stop working harvesting cocoa, requires more than just a single training or provision of school supplies. Remediation officers must identify working children, assess the danger of their daily work, and then plan a series of remediation activities. Once Barry Callebaut has provided these activities, it must then follow up with farmers to check if the same children are still working, or if they have returned to school.

What precipitated the work

Like many organizations, Barry Callebaut started off tracking its child labor remediation activities by using the bluntest data management tool in the toolbox: the Excel spreadsheet. Remediation officers spread across three continents would download survey data into a spreadsheet, plan and implement their activities using paper forms, and then painstakingly copy information from these forms into another spreadsheet. When administrators in Zurich wanted to analyze child remediation outcomes or see how many activities had been implemented in the past month, they would need to wait for officers in Ghana and Cameroon to email their completed spreadsheets. The administrators would need to then collate everything they received and import it into a separate database for analysis.

This decentralized procedure caused constant delays and inconsistency in data formatting. Analyzing data took forever and produced often-unreliable results. Perhaps more importantly, remediation officers were dedicating precious time and attention to data-entry tasks - time which they could have otherwise used focusing on the needs and progress of child laborers. The labyrinthine system of spreadsheets and paper forms was technically a data collection system, but it was not a case management system: it provided users with no guidance or insight into the needs and outcomes of the children receiving care. 

Barry Callebaut needed a new system that would meet the following criteria:

  • Secure: Any platform containing personal information about at-risk children should encrypt data at rest and in transit, have a need-to-know access policy, and support single sign-on with multi-factor authentication. Primero meets all these criteria.
  • Mobile-friendly: Users in many countries feel more comfortable with phones and tablets than they do with laptops. Also, since remediation officers work outside the office, being able to enter information on the go is an absolute necessity.
  • Offline-capable: Visiting rural areas and making visits to farms necessitates data entry in areas with sporadic or non-existent connectivity.
  • Insightful: Administrators should be able to perform analysis via both aggregate data reporting and direct querying of data using a well-documented API.
  • Practice-informed: Providing services for children requires attention to the needs and vulnerabilities of the child. The platform should follow a case management workflow focused on the needs of the child, and the user should be able to view contextual guidance about the information they are collecting.

Client came to Quoin…

Barry Callebaut approached Quoin to implement Primero as their information management system for child labor remediation. Quoin has been the principal developer on the Primero platform since 2014 and has implemented it in a number of countries and contexts - from rapid response operations for refugees fleeing conflict zones to national programs to combat domestic violence. The platform is a digital public good, meaning its code is open source, and it is free to use. Child Protection experts from a coalition of humanitarian agencies commissioned the platform and guide its ongoing development. 

What we did

First, Quoin got to work understanding Barry Callebaut's existing processes and tools to identify exactly which needs the platform would be addressing. At this point, our team was able to focus on configuring Primero's standard set of forms, user roles, workflows, and reports to reflect the type of information Barry Callebaut staff were collecting, as well as the decisions and processes informed by that data.

Our team then carried out a full, custom implementation of the Primero platform to suit the needs of Barry Callebaut:

  • Configuration: Barry Callebaut’s workflows and paper forms vary significantly from the standard template suited to most humanitarian agencies and governments who use Primero. Our deep knowledge of the platform allowed us to create a configuration - forms, user permissions, workflows - which matched Barry Callebaut’s day-to-day work, while allowing them to take full advantage of Primero’s feature set.
  • Infrastructure: Quoin has deployed and maintained infrastructure for Barry Callebaut’s Primero instances, allowing them to use the platform with minimal technical overhead and hassle. This “Primero as a Service” offering is a useful option for organizations which have modest technical capacity or are hoping to minimize staff time dedicated to the maintenance of a new platform.
  • Training: Quoin developed and presented a specialized training module for Barry Callebaut’s remediation officers. When training a team to use Primero, we always focus on letting participants know how Primero can fit into their existing day-to-day work; not how they should change their processes to adapt to Primero.

Quoin also developed a number of features for the platform that addressed the particular needs of Barry Callebaut’s field staff, including a new Registry feature which allows Barry Callebaut to associate each child labor case with one of their tens of thousands of farmers. Since Barry Callebaut staff spend so much of their time working in rural areas like farms and remote villages, Quoin paid particular attention to ensuring Primero is easy to use on small screen sizes, and in low or zero-connectivity scenarios:

  • Users can now switch into a special Field Mode, which gives users a predictable, robust experience in areas where internet connectivity oscillates constantly between weak and non-existent signal. This represents a commitment to designing for connectivity conditions particular to developing, rural countries - a use case ignored by most technologies.
  • Standard Primero features like sorting and page navigation are now optimized for small screen sizes.
  • The Mark for Offline feature lets users select which cases they will need to use throughout their work day and cache this information in their browser temporarily. This ensures that if and when users lose connectivity, they can continue their work uninterrupted. This works similarly to downloading music or podcasts to listen to before getting on the subway or a plane.
  • The Primero Registry feature allows organizations to manage large complex lists of people or organizations which users need to link to their Cases. In this scenario, Barry Callebaut maintains a detailed, searchable dataset of several thousand farmers, allowing users to accurately record the farmer for whom each child laborer is working.


As a result of the custom implementation of Primero, Barry Callebaut remediation officers are able to dedicate more of their time and attention to the needs of child laborers. The customized workflow and features provided by the platform streamlines the documentation process, enabling Barry Callebaut staff to efficiently track and manage individual cases of child labor, remediation referrals, and follow-up visits. Quoin continues to assist Barry Callebaut in the eradication of child labor as they expand the usage of Primero across their supply sites worldwide.