Stories

Ethical Fashion Africa Ltd gets thumbs-up from FLA assessment

31 July 2012
ITC News
Business-practice assessment of EFAL highlights value and benefits of Ethical Fashion Initiative’s social-enterprise partner in East Africa.

Ethical Fashion Africa Ltd (EFAL), the operational partner of ITC’s Ethical Fashion Initiative in East Africa, has been given a solid approval for its work in a business-practice assessment carried out by the Fair Labor Association (FLA).

EFAL, which is based at the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s downtown Nairobi hub, is social enterprise that manages the production of accessories for some of the biggest names in fashion. Among these are Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Ilaria Venturini Fendi (Carmina Campus) and Sass & Bide.

The FLA assessment looked at both economic and social benefits for women working with EFAL. For example, women who receive orders from EFAL can earn between $4 and $7 each day. Without these orders they would be earning less than $1. Moreover, the survey found that there is no correlation between the level of education and the income of the artisans. Those without any formal education can earn as much as those who have received training.

Economic and social benefits

The women survey also confirmed that they had earned more respect from their male counterparts — particularly from their husbands. This was largely because they now had an income and better means to take care of their families and livestock.

Equally important is that the FLA survey found that EFAL had helped boost the self-confidence of the people involved. A whole 94% said that participation in the programme had increased their self-confidence and 88% said that they now had the ability to take independent financial decisions. While 86% of the respondents said that their diets had improved because of workplace meals, 68% also mentioned the additional income allowed them to eat three times a day, compared to once or twice a day before.

Since joining the FLA in 2010 and signing up to its code of conduct, EFAL has worked hard to develop the essential framework needed to ensure better control of risks related to the often difficult working conditions throughout the supply chain. This proved to be a big challenge, especially since much production is carried out by marginalized people in informal workshops and community groups that are often based far from modern infrastructure networks.

Learn more about ITC's Ethical Fashion Initiative.