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There are many textile companies providing needed support to villages and communities across Africa.

A great example of how villages are being supported through textiles is Liz Cooper's work at Yakaar Niani Wulli Federation. Yakaar Niani Wulli have brought together more than 80 villages and almost 2000 farmers.

Yakaar Niani Wulli’s aim is to help villages in Senegal, West Africa establish food security and ensure various sources of income for families. To achieve this aim Yakaar Niani Wulli has had to diversify their activities; textiles is just one of them.

Liz Cooper is helping villagers to develop a collection of textile products. Products are made from organic cotton and dyed with natural indigo.

Textiles products create many jobs for villagers:
The cotton must be farmed and harvested, then spun and woven into cloth. Yakaar Niani Wulli obtained certification from the fair trade foundation in 2006 for its production of organic cotton.

Yakaar Niani Wulli reintroduced the cultivation of indigo to villagers. Once a garment is produced and the indigo is harvested and prepared, a woman can spend up to one day, creating different patterns of colour.

For more about Yakaar Niani Wulli's work view their site . Look out for the online store coming soon!

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Comment by Edith Nkwocha on September 10, 2009 at 10:53
Very interested, Liz. I wasn't able to view the site when I clicked on the link. Please keep me posted concerning the oline store.
Comment by Raven + Lily on August 9, 2009 at 16:33
It is so exciting to see all these high-end designers truly making a difference in the lives of these disadvantaged women in Africa. These women face the challenges of illiteracy, HIV/AIDS, political instability, FGM, and extreme poverty. Our non-profit, Raven + Lily, focuses on connecting designers to fair-trade co-ops in India and East Africa.

A team of our designers just returned this past week after assisting Marnie Bugs handbags in developing a line of accessories. Part of the proceeds from this collection will return back to the women in our co-ops to pay the women a fair wage, microenterprise opportunities and education in their community.

Here are some pictures of our trip last week! We would love to connect with more like-minded designers so please visit our site and sign up:

Comment by Spotlight on Sourcing on August 6, 2009 at 9:52
Comment by Spotlight on Sourcing on August 5, 2009 at 22:23

Image: Arise, June 09

How can Africa inspire Designers?
Suno gathers traditional Kenyan Kanga textiles and creates bright and beautiful clothing with a New York twist.

Suno founder and designer, Max Osterweis, discovered Kanga fabrics while visiting East Africa. Kangas have been worn by women in Kenya for 200 years, the fabric is brightly coloured with beautiful patterns and are an obvious inspiration for designers.

After the political unrest in Kenya that came after the 2007 election, Osterweis was determined to support the countries talent and do something with his discovery - Kenyan Kanga textiles. Osterweis creates his collections using these textiles in a workshop in Kenya and New York – the aim is to train workers in Kenya to continue with their talent, build on skills and provide fair employment.

Visit Suno Site
Comment by Spotlight on Sourcing on August 5, 2009 at 21:33

SOKO is an eco-clothing production plant for the export market that creates fair employment and offers training and skills development for the local community in Ukunda, on the coast of Kenya.

A significant 70% of SOKO profits are used to support community projects in Kenya, while 30% goes into expansion to provide employment for more Kenyans.

How does employment help individuals?
"I never imagined earning such a salary. My parents are very proud of me and I am setting a good example to my children. I can give them a good education now, to high school as well. I have saved a lot of money and my friends think I am rich. I really enjoy my work and I am happy people in Europe are wearing the clothes that I am making.”
A tailor employed by the SOKO project.

Find out more about SOKO’s work or make a donation

SOKO founder Jo Maiden will be speaking at the EFF event: Spotlight on Sourcing, to find out more about this event and to find out about other exhibitors and speakers Click Here
Comment by Spotlight on Sourcing on August 5, 2009 at 21:29
UniquEco Designs

UniquEco Designs are supporting communities and helping the environment in so many ways in Kenya! Making them an unmissable company to speak to at the Africa event.

People in communities in Kenya are employed by UniquEco Designs to create beautiful and unique accessories made from recycled waste washed onto the shore. Products are then sold across the world and to local shops and craft-fairs. The sales generate income that allows the project to continually run so they can continue to employ over 150 people.

Beaches are cleaned of rubbish in the process while employees learn business skills. Communities in Kenya begin to see the rubbish around them has a value and people across the world are being educated on how we are polluting our oceans.

Make sure you visit UniquEco Designs Site to find out about their other projects.
Comment by Lady Lux on July 30, 2009 at 2:30
Wow thanks for profiling this. It's so important to expose Western readers to initiatives like these. We at LadyLUX are always on the lookout for brands and products that support local industries in developing nations. The Out of Africa line of products is not only good for you by being natural and organic, it also supports women-owned cooperatives in Benin, West Africa.
Comment by Spotlight on Sourcing on July 29, 2009 at 20:45
Liz, great to hear people can now view the shop site!

I am glad you like the post- Yakaar Niani Wulli are doing amazing things and deserves to be recognised!
Comment by Kate Louise Hutchinson on July 29, 2009 at 14:11
A new event has been created...

SPOTLIGHT ON AFRICA 18th August at the Rich Mix Office in London

For more details and to REGISTER NOW go to
Comment by Spotlight on Sourcing on July 29, 2009 at 11:49

Once a garment is produced and the indigo is harvested and prepared, a woman can spend up to one day, creating different patterns of colour.

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