School sponsorship is a very expensive process and also can have negative impacts upon those it seeks to help. Common criticisms of sponsorship are that it creates a dependency culture, is unsustainable and creates cultural issues. Having recognised these issues, COCO and The Hoja Project worked together to come up with a solution to each problem and established the Food for Fees programme.
Food for Fees involves the cultivation of an area of land using sustainable agriculture techniques, which organically boost crop yields. The produce from the land is then sold on to the government, so as to not flood the local market and damage the income of local farmers.
In the short term, the surplus generated from the programme is used to sponsor students through secondary school. However, in the longer term it is intended that sustainable agriculture techniques are transferred to the student and their parents to help them to increase their own crop yields, and subsequently their income to empower households to send their own children to school.
In August 2015, the first 60 students were sponsored through the Food for Fees project, it is hoped this figure will increase to 80 in 2016 and 100 each year thereafter.