Over 3,000 children in Southern Africa get access to school education - this was achieved as the result of the community project "Promotion of school infrastructure in Zambia" initiated in July 2011 by the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) and Otto Group. The project received support from the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) and local cotton company, NWK Agri-Services.
In order to reach the target of 100% sustainable cotton production by 2020, the Otto Group's sustainability strategy counts on cotton from the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) Initiative. In addition to using CmiA cotton, the Otto Group has also taken further steps to support smallholder farmers and their families in the CmiA cotton growing regions. "From the very beginning, our goal was to support the communities where CmiA cotton is grown. Children are the future of a country, well-educated children even more so. This is why we are strongly committed to promoting school education for the children of CmiA cotton farmers" explains Andreas Streubig, Division Manager Corporate Responsibility of the Otto Group. A total budget of 411,000 Euro was invested in the project in order to develop the school infrastructure in Zambia.
In order to reach children who had hardly any chance of attending a school until now, a total of 4 schools with multiple buildings and classrooms were built while two schools were refurbished to welcome local schoolchildren in the remote cotton-producing regions of Zambia. Over the last year, more than 3,200 children of CmiA smallholder farmers have already benefited from the school project: In addition to the school buildings, a total of 4,330 school books, educational materials such as geometry sets, pencils and exercise books as well as 280 tables and benches were provided. Gardens were also created at all schools. Five of six schools were supplied with electricity, in part thanks to solar panels. Sanitary facilities and a total of 18 boreholes for supplying the schools as well as surrounding communities with clean drinking water were built. Following the successful completion of the project, it was officially handed over to the communities and the Zambian government. The first local initiatives for the continuation of the project have been formed. Their first undertaking will involve the construction of teacher accommodation.