Education is the key to sustainable development. This is why the Otto Group is making a financial contribution to a social project established by the Cotton made in Africa Initiative to promote adult literacy.
This Public-Private Partnership project receives major support from the Otto Group and offers some 5,000 adults in the Central-South region the opportunity to learn to read and write in evening school. "Improving the literacy rate is one of the key factors in establishing a sustainable development process", is how Andreas Streubig, Otto Group Director of Environmental and Social Policy, explains the company's engagement.
The project was established in the autumn of 2009 within the framework of the Cotton made in Africa Initiative, together with the fashion company Apart, the German Society for Investment and Development (DEG) and German Agro Action. The illiteracy rate of around 71% has an extraordinarily high impact on the economic development of Burkina Faso and also poses very specific challenges for the smallholder farmers who participate in the Cotton made in Africa initiative: many cannot enjoy the potential benefits of the educational courses on offer because they cannot make notes or even read the course materials. Here, the literacy project helps people to help themselves.
Cotton made in Africa is not only committed to the sustainable cultivation of African cotton but also sees itself as an intermediary for a number of Public-Private Partnership projects. These PPP projects are characterised by companies and public organisations bundling their resources in order to strengthen social infrastructures in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Zambia and Malawi through social projects.
The Aid by Trade Foundation further expands the Demand Alliance for its Cotton made in Africa initiative to the USA: Anvil is the first North American apparel manufacturer to join. The additional demand from this textile company for sustainably produced cotton will significantly help grow the program.
The Cotton made in Africa Demand Alliance continues to grow. With Anvil the network gains a further textile manufacturer that places a very high priority on its corporate responsibility. Anthony Corsano, Chief Executive Officer of Anvil Knitwear explains the deepening of the company's sustainability strategy: "Cotton made in Africa is another source of sustainable fiber for Anvil. It is rain fed, utilizes principles of soil conservation, reduces pesticides, and incorporates important ILO labor principles. We also hope our purchases help African smallholder farmers improve their own living standards." Headquartered in New York, Anvil Knitwear produces sportswear and accessories under the Anvil® brand and for major private label brands. Anvil has earned its reputation in the textile sector as a transparent sustainability pioneer, marketing its sustainable projects through its AnvilOrganic® and AnvilSustainable® collections.