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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.