‘Helping people to help themselves’ through education
Cotton is an important component of our textiles and often comes from developing and emerging markets. Together with the Aid by Trade Foundation, we are comitted to the promotion of sustainable cotton farming in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, we support educational and vocational projects for the children of African cotton farmers, and promote the development of school infrastructure.
Since 2008, we support the initiative Cotton Made in Africa (CmiA) of the Aid by Trade Foundation, which focuses on the principle of “helping people help themselves”. It was founded to improve the lives of cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa. In trainings cotton farmers learn how to improve the quality and yield of their cotton, and are trained on about environmentally friendly cultivation methods. The higher yields also lead to an increase in income for the farmer. Already, around 650,000 small farmers have been trained. In the long term, these measures will help to make the small-scale agriculture environmentally friendly and socially responsible. We support the initiative as a buyer of cotton for our products.
As part of our social commitment, we focus on educational support measures for children in the CmiA growing regions of Benin and Zambia through two projects. Education is an important key to sustainable development and thus for better living conditions of cotton farmers.
School project in Benin
The West African Republic of Benin is one of the world's poorest countries. Approximately every third child drops out of primary school because the parents cannot afford to pay the tuition. In many places there are no schools. In October 2010, together with the Aid by Trade Foundation, the German development organisation GIZ, the German Investment and Development Cooperation DEG, the cotton company I.C.A. and a local foundation of CmiA, we launched the “Co-Education: Cotton for sustainable education” school project. The aim of the project was to enable more children to attend school and improve the quality of education. By the end of 2014, we had participated in the construction and equipping of schools in six communities of Benin. More than 750 children are now attending five newly built schools that are equipped with solar energy, wells and canteens. In many other schools, the facilities have been improved: 66 school gardens and canteens provide regular meals for children, 10,000 textbooks were purchased, and 20,000 locally produced school uniforms distributed. Through scholarships 600 fifth grade students were given important supplies, such as English and French dictionaries, or solar-powered calculators. Many children who had previously not attended school, now had the opportunity to do so. Overall, the project contributed to fewer children dropping out of school and more graduating from high school. In addition, twelve wells were dug, to give the participating communities access to clean drinking water.
School project in Zambia
Zambia is located in southern Africa and, like Benin, is one of the poorest countries on Earth. Since 2012, together with the Aid by Trade Foundation, the DEG, the cotton company Cargill Zambia and the local communities, Tchibo supports a school project in Zambia. Five new school buildings, including sanitary facilities, furniture and materials, were completed in February 2014. Each school has its own well, which helps to ensure that both the school children and the surrounding communities have access to clean drinking water. In support of a healthy diet for the children, school gardens are planted and the children learn the basics of sustainable farming techniques. By the completion of the project in 2015, five additional school buildings with sanitary facilities, school gardens and wells will be built.