The Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) is expanding its network in Great Britain: Baroness Lola Young has come on board as the foundation’s ambassador. The parliamentarian from the British Upper House wholeheartedly supports sustainable fashion from Africa. Effective immediately she will promote the foundation’s initiative Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and its work in the British Isles.
Back in December 2011, the Aid by Trade Foundation presented its initiative Cotton made in Africa at an informational meeting chaired by Lola Young in the House of Lords. The foundation’sgoal is to helppeople help themselves through trade. To this end, its initiative Cotton made in Africa creates an international Demand Alliance to buy sustainably produced cotton from currently around 230,000 African smallholder farmers. As ambassador, Baroness Young will advocate for the interests of AbTF and CmiA in future. “The issue of ‘ethical fashion’ is close to my heart and I see Cotton made in Africa’s work as very valuable and most impressive. I am really looking forward to supporting this dynamic initiative in the British markets and I hope I can make a small contribution towards fighting poverty in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Baroness Young
In October 2011, the Aid by Trade Foundation invited Lola Young to attend the foundation’s annual stakeholder conference in Zambia. She learned about the work of the AbTF and CmiA and visited cotton farmers and a ginnery. “We can talk all we like about fair trade, water usage and ecological impact. When you meet the people who are experiencing change, who raise your awareness of how precious water really is and explain how a dry period with low cotton yield forces a family to live on just one meal a day, your efforts are no longer abstract. They become very concrete. Talking to the people there about the challenges they face was a new and enriching experience for me.”
Lola Young has been a crossbench peer in the House of Lords since 2004. She is currently setting up an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ethical Fashion. Her focal points are art and culture, caring for children and young people, mental health and equality. Baroness Young is a member of the EU Committee for Social Policy and Consumer Protection and in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Prior to her career in politics, she headed the cultural division of the Greater London Authority. In 2011 she was awarded the Order of the British Empire.