Showing Commitment, Shaping the Future  

The people in the countries of cotton production in Africa and the environment we are active in are the central focus of our work. That is why our commitment extends beyond the sustainable cultivation of cotton and why we launched the CmiA Community Cooperation Program in 2015. There is backing for projects in education, health and environment and for initiatives in support of women. Consequently, the Program builds on the successes of the cooperation projects begun in 2009.

All projects of the CmiA Community Cooperation Program are developed by verified local CmiA partners in cooperation with the village communities on the basis of a need analysis. A board of expert advisors meets twice a year in order to select the projects for funding. 

Creating Opportunities Together

Schulkind mit SchreibtafelMany countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have a high illiteracy rate. The reasons for the lack of formal education are often purely practical: In many cases, the nearest school is too far away, the buildings are run-down, and thus can no longer be used, and there is a lack of qualified teachers and school materials such as books. What's more, parents can often not afford the school fees. Against this backdrop, the CmiA Community Cooperation Program therefore focuses on developing educational infrastructure. What is unusual in many African countries is the fact that we do not only help children but also adults to have access to education

The improvement of living conditions in sub-Saharan Africa is linked directly to the support of women. Mainly women do a very large portion of the work in the fields, run the household and take care of the children. Therefore, other mainstays of the Program include the empowerment of women and strengthening their rights.

In many of the rural regions in sub-Saharan Africa the people suffer from a lack of hygiene and lack of a sufficient health system. Already small interventions can prevent serious diseases and can be lifesaving. Already on-going projects in this area are two WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) projects in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The rich and varied flora and fauna in Africa are among the richest resources worldwide and yet highly endangered. As agricultural land is tended alongside country-side requiring protection, there is a need for clever projects the Program is committed to.  

All parties benefit

  • The smallholder farmers and their families are directly involved in the project development and are given support in areas that can significantly improve their quality of life.
  • The bodies that fund the Program help to improve the living conditions in the villages and can report about their ecological and social commitment using impact measurement and pictures.
  • All those involved bring genuine added value to the cotton growing regions of Africa through the Program.

Get Involved

  • The CmiA Community Cooperation Programm is a success story you can continue to write. You want to become a funding partner or want to apply for the Program? Find out more about how you can get involved here.


Adult Literacy in Burkina Faso

Adult Literacy in Burkina Faso  

Afrikanische Frau beim UnterrichtIlliteracy has a negative impact on the socio-economical development in many West African countries. Not being able to read, write, or do arithmetic, can make it difficult for cotton farmers to best apply the training content. Education is thus a key factor to establishing sustainable farming practices and therefore improve the living conditions of cotton farmers and their families. In the autumn of 2009, the first community project for adult literacy was launched in Burkina Faso. By the end of June 2013, more than 5,000 adults have been given the opportunity to learn to read, write, and do arithmetic as part of the project. Women in particular, benefit from the education project: More than half of the course participants enrolled and of the graduates were female. In addition to the courses, all teachers were provided with the opportunity to receive further education and training in pedagogy during the course of the project.


Citation: Kabore Germaine, the wife of one of the cotton farmers from Kuizili and mother of four children, "After two years, I can now read and write Moré. It's very important for my business to be able to do arithmetic. Now, I can go back and reread the recommendations I get on my family's health in my notes and pay more attention so that my children regularly go to school."
The Aid by Trade Foundation led the project in close cooperation with the Welthungerhilfe, the non-governmental organization ORGANIC, the Provincial Directorate of the Ministry of Basic Education and Literacy (DPEBA) and the local cotton company Faso Coton. It was co-financed by the Otto Group, Otto Österreich and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) with funds of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


Pictures: Otto Österreich

School Education in Benin

School Education in Benin 

Despite efforts to improve the school system by the Benin government, the poverty that is rampant in the country makes it difficult to develop a well-functioning school infrastructure including equipment and maintenance of many existing school buildings. Roughly one in every three children drops out of elementary school and can neither read nor write, especially many young girls. This is due to the cost of schooling that many smallholder farmers in rural areas often cannot afford. This is where the joint projects from late 2010 until the end of 2014 came in. Thereby, children of cotton families are given the opportunity to go to school in rural Benin. In addition to the construction of seven schools, 66 school cafeterias and gardens with local vegetables provide children with regular meals. Light is key to learning in the evenings or in the early mornings. It now comes from solar lamps that replace costly and hazardous oil lamps. They are distributed by a local company and are certified by "Lightning Africa", an initiative of the World Bank. Since both school material and school uniforms are lacking, the students are provided with a total 10,000 books and 20,000 locally produced school uniforms made from CmiA cotton. By means of scholarships, students also received much needed school supplies, such as English and French dictionaries, pens, notebooks, solar powered calculators or solar lamps they can use at home.

Through radio broadcasts, posters, and meetings in the villages, more than 30,000 cotton farmers in rural areas of Benin learned about the importance of education for their children and about the school project. "Education helps make a farmer be a better farmer. I did not have the opportunity to go to school, but I realize that education means progress," says Orou Yaya, 90 years old farmer, who was initially a critic of the school project. Barikissou Yinongui, female cotton farmer and mother from Benin, "I send my children to school so they do not become 'blind'. I am illiterate and unfortunately never went to school myself. I do not want my children to remain 'blind'. I hope my children will grow up to make a difference by going to school."

The Aid by Trade Foundation led the project in close cooperation with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the local cotton company I.C.A. Additionally, the Tchibo GmbH as well as the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) with funds of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as local representatives of the cotton farmers supported the project.


Empowering Women in Côte d’Ivoire

Empowering Women in Côte d'Ivoire

Frauen holen WasserSince 2012, Cotton made in Africa and its partners have supported 38 women's cooperatives, each with at least 50 members, in Côte d'Ivoire in order to provide them with the step towards economic independence. Currently around 3,000 participants benefit from financial aid. The women invest this money in seeds or equipment for their own vegetable gardens, for example. They sell the vegetables they do not need for personal consumption at local markets and thus generate their own income. Since the improvement of the living conditions of smallholder families in Sub-Saharan Africa is directly associated with the advancement of women, not only the women benefit from this investment but also their more than currently 28,000 family members. 

The Aid by Trade Foundation leads the project in close cooperation with the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) with funds of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the local cotton company Ivoire Coton. It is additionally supported by C & A.


School Education in Zambia

School Education in Zambia

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic: For people who grew up in industrial nations, they are things often taken for granted but for African children, they are in many cases an unattainable dream. The rural areas of Zambia in particular are where children have little chance at education: miles long, arduous journeys to school on foot, overcrowded classrooms without tables and benches as well as a lack of teaching materials are just some of the obstacles. In order to give these children the opportunity to go to school, already 18 schools were built or refurbished (as of 2015) and equipped with school desks and books as part of two projects in Zambia. Currently, 22 wells and investments in sanitary facilities provide clean drinking water and hygienic conditions for learning. In addition to the supply of food from school gardens, the supply of clean drinking water is essential for survival.

The Aid by Trade Foundation leads the projects in close cooperation with the local cotton companies Cargill respectively NWK Agri-Services. They have been financed by the Otto Group respectively Tchibo GmbH and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) with funds of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have supported both projects. The school project initiated in cooperation with the Otto Group could have been sucessfully completed in March 2015. Its results are presented hereGet to know more about the school project supported by Tchibo in the video:

Water and Sanitation in Mozambique

WASH Project in Mozambique

Contaminated water and poor hygiene are among the main causes of the still very high child mortality rate in many countries. This fight is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals the global community aims to achieve. in close cooperation with Otto (GmbH & Co. KG), Care Mozambique, Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) with funds of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the local cotton company Plexus Ltd. the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) and its Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative contribute to this goal with a new community project in Mozambique: Wells will be built to improve the water supply in remote cotton growing areas in Mozambique. A move that will directly benefit the women and girls in the villages: A better water supply through wells saves the female family members, who are traditionally responsible for fetching water, from making long and time-consuming journeys. This also provides girls with the opportunity to go to school, which they are often denied because of their responsibilities in the home. In addition, the quality of drinking water will greatly improve with the new wells. The construction of latrines and raising general awareness among the villagers for basic hygiene measures also contribute to the fact that an important factor of child mortality, namely diarrheal diseases, can be curbed. Given the currently very basic health care available in many areas in Mozambique these investments are essential for saving lives.

Photos: OTTO

Water and Sanitation in Zimbabwe

WASH Project in Zimbabwe

780 people around the world lack access to safe drinking water. 2.5 billion people lack adequate sanitation facilities. 4 billion people – many of them children under 5 years of age – suffer from related, often fatal illnesses. Since March 2015, OTTO Austria, the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF), the Welthungerhilfe and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) with funds from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development are taking action. Together they are investing EUR 320,000 in order to promote the supply of clean water and sanitation facilities in the rural regions of Zimbabwe. Boreholes and sanitation facilities are being built and refurbished in a total of 20 villages in the cotton-producing region of South Gokwe. To ensure that the project has the greatest possible long-term effect in terms of sustainabil-ity, awareness for health-promoting measures is being raised with training courses and campaigns. Committees specially created for the project will make sure that the boreholes are used in a sustainable manner and act as an interface for the local communities. The project training courses and campaigns address nearly 5,000 pupils, who will be trained as "hygiene ambassadors" and will act as multipliers and share their knowledge with their families.

Pictures: Welthungerhilfe


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