Showing Commitment, Shaping the Future
The people in the countries of cotton production in Africa and the environment we are active in are at the heart of our work. To support sustainable development beyond sustainable cotton cultivation together with our partners, we launched the CmiA Community Cooperation Program back in 2015. It backs projects in the cultivating regions of CmiA certified cotton that tackle education, health, environment and conservation and support women. The programme therein builds on the success of the cooperation projects started in 2009. All projects of the CmiA Community Cooperation Program are developed by verified local CmiA partners in cooperation with the village communities and on the basis of a need analysis. A board of expert advisors meets twice a year in order to select the projects for funding.
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 Programme help improve the living conditions in the communities 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 Programme.
Around the world, 2.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, while 4.4 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities. Especially children under the age of 5 suffer from related and often fatal illnesses. Every year, 361000 children under the age of 5 die from diarrhoea.* In many of CmiA’s project regions in sub-Saharan Africa, poor hygienic conditions are not uncommon. Furthermore, the health care system in most of these countries is not as developed as required, especially with view to the aforementioned conditions. The consequence is the spreading of illnesses that are frequently fatal. Contaminated water and poor hygiene are two of the main reasons for the in many regions still alarmingly high rate of infant death. These issues are addressed by CmiA’s local projects.
So-called WASH projects (water, sanitation and hygiene) involve the construction of sanitation facilities, the training of the local population in basic hygiene measures, and the installation of boreholes to supply the villages with safe drinking water. These measures help prevent serious diseases and can be lifesaving in areas with very basic health care.
Next to these WASH-projects, the construction and equipping of health centres also contributes to improving the general healthcare in the project regions.
- WASH (in cooperation with cotton company COIC) – 2016/17
Construction of four boreholes for a better supply of clean drinking water in addition to reduced time and labour needed for water carrying – for a total of 5,160 inhabitants across four villages.
- Health Centre (in cooperation with cotton company SECO) – 2017
The infirmary in the village of Ouangolodoudou was expanded and equipped. In addition to the ginnery workers, their family members and the rest of the regional population (all in all around 5,000 people) are now able to benefit from the ward.
- WASH (in cooperation with cotton company Plexus, OTTO, CARE, the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), as well as the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)) – 2015/16
In 20 villages located in the cotton growing region Cabo Delgado a total of 10 wells were repaired, 10 new wells were built and sanitation facilities were constructed in 15 schools, benefiting around 5,000 pupils.
- WASH (in cooperation with cotton company NWK) – 2016/18
Around 4,000 people in the region of Katete benefit from improved hygiene through the construction of four wells and 40 latrines.
- WASH (in cooperation with cotton company Alliance, the Welthungerhilfe & OTTO Austria) – 2015/17
Clean drinking water, toilets and about 10,000 hygiene ambassadors improve the living conditions of the rural population in a total of 20 villages.
- Health Centre (in cooperation with cotton company Alliance) – 2016
To reduce infant mortality and secure the supply of medicine and clean drinking water, the existing health service of the Kasoli community (about 16,00 inhabitants) was improved.
- WASH (in cooperation with cotton company Alliance) – 2017/18
The construction of five boreholes and five systems for rainwater use ensure clean drinking water for domestic and agricultural use in the municipal of Kasoli.
- WASH (in cooperation with cotton company COIC and Bonprix) – 2018/2019
The construction of five boreholes at five primary schools across four villages were improved the supply of clean drinking water while reducing the time and effort spent on carrying water. A total of 21 latrines were built at seven primary schools is (three each) across four villages to improve the general hygiene in and around the schools. In order to secure the success of the project in the long term, trainings on hygiene behaviors take place for schoolchildren and the village community.
- WASH (in cooperation with cotton company Faso Coton) – 2018/2019
Only 0.1% of the total area of Burkina Faso is covered with water. Lack of water and extreme drought characterize this country. The people, mostly women, have to walk very far to the nearest source of water to get clean water. Often only rainwater or water pools are used, which leads to far-reaching diseases. In cooperation with Faso Coton water pumps were built in two villages. As a result, about 3,450 people gain access to clean drinking water. In addition, there are training sessions in the villages about drinking water hygiene and diseases.
Currently running projects:
- Construction of water pumps (in cooperation with cotton company Ivoire Coton) – since April 2019
The cotton company Ivoire Coton operates in many areas where exist no clean drinking water. During dry seasons women have to walk long distances to the rivers to fetch water. In addition to time and physical effort, the entire population suffers from unhealthy water. In cooperation with Ivoire Coton, water pumps will be installed in the affected areas. In addition, awareness-raising workshops will be held to the construction of the pumps.
Pictures: Welthungerhilfe / David Brazier
* WHO / UNICEF (2017) Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and Sustainable Development Goal Baselines. Via https://www.unicef.ch/de/medien/medienmitteilungen/21-milliarden-menschen-haben-keinen-zugang-zu-sicherem-trinkwasser
Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa have a high rate of illiteracy. Purely practical considerations are often responsible for the lack of education: in many cases, the closest school is simply too far away, buildings are dilapidated and no longer usable, there is a lack of qualified teaching staff and school materials, and parents often cannot afford school fees for their children.
Through our social projects we provide not only children but also adults with access to education. This is unusual in many African countries since adults do not normally have any further opportunity to learn to read, write and do basic math. At the same time, illiteracy impairs the socio-economic development in many states across the continent. This elementary knowledge is vital for smallholder cotton farmers because it enables them to fully benefit from the potential of agricultural trainings as well as other support measures offered through their cooperation with CmiA. Education is therefore a key factor for establishing sustainable cultivation methods and thereby improving the living conditions of smallholder cotton farmers and their families.
- School building (in cooperation with cotton company I.C.A. as well as Tchibo, the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)) – 2010-13
The construction of seven schools and the installation of school canteens and school gardens as well as the provision of school material and equipment grants 760 children in Benin access to education.
- Adult literacy (in cooperation with cotton company Faso Coton, the Welthungerhilfe, ORGANIC, OTTO Austria and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG))
Through this educational project, more than 5,300 smallholder farmers in the Bazéga region got access to an elementary education in reading, writing and maths. More than half of the farmers were women.
- School building (in cooperation with cotton company Cargill and Tchibo) - 2014
The construction of eight new schools as well as various repair measures at two existing school buildings gives 2,900 children a chance for an education. The project also funded the construction of school gardens, sanitation facilities and a total of 17 wells.
- School building (in cooperation with cotton company NWK, Otto Group and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG)) – 2015
The construction of eight new schools as well as various repair measures at two existing school buildings gives children in rural areas access to education.
- School building (in cooperation with cotton company Alliance) – 2018
Six different elementary and secondary schools were extended by 12 classrooms, a dorm room for female students as well as 30 gender-specific latrines. In addition, the project funds school tables and benches. More than 600 children profit.
- School building (in cooperation with cotton company SOEDECOTON) – 2018
There are very few elementary schools located in the cotton growing regions in northern Cameroon. Consequently, this region shows the lowest enrolment figures in the country. A school building with two classrooms and two latrines were built. Three teachers instruct around 150 children aged five to eight at the elementary school.
Currently running projects:
- Education of designers (in cooperation with production partner Finespinners) – since 2018
Four local design graduates are to be educated by a designer who has experience on the European market. For this purpose, an in-house design studio is to be established, including respective hardware and design-software
- School building (in cooperation with the cotton company partner Alliance) – since 2018
In the Bariadi district in the Simiyu region, the school infrastructure is inadequate. With Alliance, a total of 4 classrooms and latrines will be built at two elementary schools. In addition, 80 tables and benches will be purchased, as well as a full-size dormitory with sanitary facilities, beds and mattresses and a kitchen. The measures reach about 800 pupils.
- Improvement of school infrastructure (in cooperation with the cotton company partner Arewa) – since April 2019
The infrastructure, especially in rural Babanna is very bad. Schools are in need of major refurbishment and access to water and sanitation is inadequate. In addition, the teachers have only a basic education. Since April 2019 wells & latrines and classrooms are beeing built and renovated. Also in teacher education is being invested. A total of 1,800 students and 40 members of the Women's Center benefit from the measures. For the women sewing machines are being purchased and trainings will be organized (for example, sewing of harvest bags).
- School building (in cooperation with the cotton company SECO) – since October 2018
The Tchologo region is the fourth poorest region in Côte d'Ivoire. The enrollment rate is only about 35%. Since October 2018, the cotton company SECO build a school with six classrooms, including a canteen. The construction of the school will allow 300 pupils access to education. Also in other schools latrines are being built.
Pictures: CmiA / Otto Österreich
Advancement of Women
The improvement of living conditions in sub-Saharan Africa is directly linked to the advancement of women. Mainly women do a very large proportion of the work in fields, run the household, take care of the children and look after the welfare of the whole family. To support women in advancing towards economic and social independence, Cotton made in Africa and its partners cooperate within the framework of the CmiA Community Cooperation Programme to give women cooperatives financial start-up support for income-producing activities such as e.g. animal farming, the setup of small village shops or local food processing. Financial aid for the starting of new projects enables the women to set up their own enterprises and earn additional income. This investment benefits not only the women, but also their family members and village communities.
- Several measures for the advancement of women (in cooperation with cotton company Ivoire Coton, C&A and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG)) - 2011/12
Start-up support for income generating activities such as animal farming, village shops or local food processing for 1,250 women and 12,500 family members.
- Women project for chicken breeding (in cooperation with cotton company Alliance) - 2016/17
The Mukuyu women’s club in the Chisamba community was equipped with material for the construction of a stable as well as 500 chickens and starting capital for feed and medicine. All club members received a multi-layered training in chicken farming.
- Women project for goat breeding (in cooperation with cotton company CGL Parrogate) - 2016/17
The Shakunkama women’s clum in the Nampundere community was equipped with material for the construction of a corral as well as 200 goats and 60 billy goats for breeding, starting capital for feed, veterinarian costs and medicine/vaccinations. All club members were trained in goat farming.
- Women project for goat breeding (in cooperation with cotton companies Alliance & Corman) - 2017/18
The Tuyandane women’s club in the Nampunwe community (around 800 inhabitants) was equipped with materials for the construction of a stable, as well as 5 billy goats and 35 goats for breeding, medicine and starting capital for feed. All club members were trained in goat farming.
- Women projects: Maize Mill & Borehole (in cooperation with cotton company WUCC) - 2017/18
Back in 2014, the Thuhambenko women’s group in Rwengaju has initiated a maize milling project with 90 female farmers. The women have bundled their financial means from cotton harvesting to buy a piece of land (2,500 m²), construct a tentative shed and install a maize mill that was provided by the government and activated in September 2016. To secure the long-term success of the project, WUCC and CmiA have now funded a stable and weather resistant building for better storage of machines and produce.
Additionally, a well was drilled to facilitate the women’s everyday life, as they are often responsible for fetching water.
Currently running projects:
- Improvement of the water supply and cooking stoves (in cooperation with cotton company CIDT)
The village of Tondeni has fertile soil, which causes a considerable increase of cotton producers through immigration. The drinking water supply of the population is insufficient. In cooperation with CIDT, water pumps and energy-efficient cooking stoves are being built. Approximately 250 people will get access to clean drinking water and the construction of the approximately 20 improved clay ovens will reduce the time-consuming task of finding wood.
- Improvement of living conditions of women and girls (in cooperation with cotton company Sodecoton)
There are very few primary schools in the cotton growing regions of northern Cameroon, which means that these regions have the lowest enrollment rates by national standards. Especially girls are not sent to school. Furthermore, there are only insufficient treatment rooms in the health center, which means that pregnant women can not be nursed. In cooperation with Sodecoton, two classrooms and two treatment rooms in the health center will be built. Furthermore four latrines are being built in the immediate proximity of the health center.
- Measures for the advancement of women - since October 2018
In order to create new sources of income in rural regions, since October 2018 three so-called Women Clubs have been funded. This includes for example a poultry farm. The women can generate their own income.
In cooperation with the cotton company Alliance, women will receive support in order to cultivate a cotton field together. In addition, Alliance supports the women in launching additional income-generating activities.
In cooperation with the cotton company Continental Ginneries Limited, three Women Clubs have been sponsored since November 2018 (Developing a grocery store, acquiring an oil press and developing a poultry business).
Since October 2018, three women's clubs will be sponsored. This includes for example a start-up support for income-generating activities such as goat and pig breeding.
Environment & Conservation
Our image of Africa is that of a continent with unique scenery and exotic wildlife. The rich and varied flora and fauna are some of the continent’s richest resources - and yet highly endangered. Especially in places where agriculture meets countryside that requires protection, there is a particular need for projects that meet the demands of the various stakeholders and help preserve the natural African resources for future generations. The CmiA Community Cooperation Program is committed to this challenge and is running environment and conservation projects in the regions where the CmiA cotton is grown.
- Solar Power (in cooperation with cotton company ECPGEA) - 2016/18
In the North Gondar region, 75% of the Farmer Training Centres (FTCs) lack connection to the local electricity grid. In order to be able to conduct trainings during the evening hours, ten FTCs were equipped with a solar power system that allows lighting and computer usage. This access to electricity improves the training facilities, especially during the cultivation period (field work during the day, training in the evenings).
Currently running projects:
Return system for pesticide containers:
The professional disposal of pesticide containers is especially in rural areas difficult. Although the farmers are educated about the risks to their own health and the environment, but an environmentally sound disposal of empty containers is usually not given. In cooperation with the cotton company SAN JFS, 185 "Eco-Points" (collection points) have been set up since April 2019, where farmers can deliver empty containers. 220 women selected by the communities receive special training to supervise the stations. For the returned containers, both the farmers and the women, receive a premium from the cotton company. SAN JFS collects the containers in regular intervals at the collection points and sells them to recycling companies in the area. The proceeds will be invested in the continuation of the project. From the measures benefit up to 20,000 farmers from the surrounding communities.
Pictures: Paul Hahn / CmiA