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World of Difference

Welcome to Ivory Coast, where Tearfund is challenging gender inequality and empowering women to start small businesses.

Photo of woman lifting basket
Ivory Coast, World of Difference


You’ve arrived in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa supplier, providing nearly a third of all the beans used to make chocolate. But, sadly, women here suffer badly from discrimination, and three-quarters of rural Ivorian women live below the poverty line.

Come with us and see a World of Difference in central Ivory Coast, where Tearfund’s partners are breaking down barriers and supporting women to claim their rights and overcome inequality.

A smile tomorrow

Adeline is 15 years old. She has already faced huge challenges in her life. But, as you will find out when you read on, her life – and that of her mother and sisters – has turned a corner and the future looks much brighter. She wanted to share her thanks for all of you who support people like her…

‘Thank you and please continue to help people like me across the world,’ says Adeline. ‘And I pray that God will help you and make you successful in all that you do.’

Photo of Adeline

Adeline, age 15, has been able to continue at school because her mother, Albertine, benefited from livelihoods training to start up a small business.

Listen to Adeline pray in French, the official language in Ivory Coast, and join in using the English translation in the transcript:

Total Time

Total Time

Lord, my God. My King of grace and faithfulness. Father, I pray that you will give a smile tomorrow to all those, like us, who suffer now because they have nothing. In Jesus' name, amen.
World map zoomed out

Where is Ivory Coast?

Ivory Coast, officially the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a country located on the south coast of West Africa that borders Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana and the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean).

Ivory Coast in numbers

Transforming lives in Diabo and Zambakro

Tearfund’s work in Ivory Coast dates back to the 1980s and expanded in response to rising conflict over the next few decades. That resulted in desperate need and deep poverty, which has continued into the last decade, even while the country has been largely peaceful.

Photo of Ballo’s nephews

Ballo’s nephews Eric (left) and Brice (right) in their uncle’s field, he has seen his income improved from a Tearfund partner food project.

Finding my own way

Albertine and her daughters were deemed worthless by her husband, now they have everything they need by taking a stand...

Photo of Albertine holding a necklace

Despite being dismissed as useless by her husband because of her gender, Albertine now sells necklaces and beads at the market in Bouake, Ivory Coast.

Illustrative stamp of church community

Albertine used to be shunned by her community. ‘When my friends saw me passing by, they would whisper, “Here she is, coming to borrow money again!",’ she says. Albertine lives in Diabo, a town in central Ivory Coast. ‘They would laugh at me because I was always asking for loans.’

Albertine came back to Diabo in central Ivory Coast, her home town, 12 years ago when her husband rejected the family. He believed Albertine and her six daughters were useless because they were all women. ‘My husband started neglecting the children, saying that female children are worthless.’

She decided to live back with her aged mother and her brother. Life was tough, Albertine struggled to make a living selling attiéké, a traditional west African cassava-based dish. But it did not provide enough income, and she had to take her children out of school.

Then one day, Albertine was invited to a meeting at church. She was surprised by what the organisers had to say: ‘They told me to relax. They were going to help me to take care of the kids.’ It sounded too good to be true, but it wasn’t...

Photo showing a selection of beautiful beads and necklaces

A selection of beautiful beads and necklaces, created and sold by Albertine, whose business is a great success.

Restoring the family's self-worth

The meeting was organised by Tearfund’s partner Association des Femmes pour le Développement intégral en Côte d'Ivoire/Association of Women for Integral Development in Ivory Coast (AFDI). Albertine’s daughter Adeline takes up the story…

‘I remember my father saying that, because we were all girls we were no good to him,’ says Adeline, who was just three at the time. ‘That’s why we came here. But when we arrived we suffered from hunger because of a lack of support. None of us children went to school.

‘Then, one day, AFDI came. They asked my mother to come to a gathering at church, where they asked her what problems she was experiencing in her life. After she explained her difficulties, they said they would start to help her.’

Photos of Albertine's shop and food market

‘I thank God, that this year my troubles are gone,’ says Albertine, who loves her new business selling jewellery.

‘Whenever I have a need, I can stand up for myself and find my own way’
Albertine, Ivory Coast

One of the first things AFDI did was to make sure that Albertine’s children returned to education by providing books, school clothes and backpacks. While children’s education is free in Ivory Coast, parents still have to pay for and provide school equipment for their children to attend.

Then, AFDI supported Albertine with a grant to start up a small business. ‘I now sell clothing at the local market,’ she says. And it’s proving to be much more rewarding than selling attiéké.

‘I am so delighted about the help that AFDI has given me. It helps me forget about my sorrows. I thank God, that this year my troubles are gone.’

‘Now we are happy,’ adds Adeline. ‘We have everything that we want. Thanks to this support, we children can go to school.’

And Albertine no longer needs to seek support from others. ‘Whenever I have a need, I no longer visit people for loans, I can stand up for myself and find my own way.’

Photo of Christian Alliance Church of Zambakro

Time of worship at the Christian Alliance Church of Zambakro, Ivory Coast.

Mother of transformation

Meet Kouassi, who claimed her calling and now encourages other women to do the same.

‘Tearfund came to Zambakro in 1998. They arrived on a Tuesday. I said I wouldn’t go to their meeting – there were already too many meetings at church. But I realised it was possible to get a good job by joining the projects Tearfund were proposing.

‘I trained as an insurance agent. But I couldn’t get a job so I left the city of Abidjan to join my husband in Zambakro. I became a trader, I cook and sell cakes and doughnuts at the local market.

‘We study the Bible which helps us see God’s vision for our lives. That we have a purpose. Now I teach other women to have a vision and they embrace it. Some of us can witness. Some can work on farms. Others sell fish.

‘Whenever we meet with the women, they tell us how happy they are to have this training and assistance. I am full of joy when I hear about Tearfund.’ Kouassi likes to be called Mum PMEC, which is the name of the training process that AFDI uses to transform the community, Processus de Mobilisation de l'Eglise et de la Communauté (Church and Community Mobilization Process). She is literally the mother of transformation!

Photo of Koffi

Koffi, who was also helped to start a business, knitting wool to make clothes for sale in the market of Diabo.

Landscape of rolling green hills

Revisit previous destinations

While you wait for your next destination, you can find more encouraging stories of transformation by taking a look back at all the other fantastic places we’ve visited with World of Difference here.

See destinations

We hope you enjoyed your time in Ivory Coast.  But there’s another exciting destination on the horizon... But to find out where, you will have to wait and see!

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