The International Trade Center’s (ITC) Ethical Fashion Program supports the development of marginalized communities of women in Kenya and Uganda, mostly groups of artisans based in poor rural and urban settings. The program enables disadvantaged African communities and their groups of informal manufacturers to become part of the global supply chain, thus developing their export capacities and strengthening their position in both the domestic and regional markets. The project is based on a joint effort of the ITC and Ethical Fashion Africa Ltd. (EFAL), which is based in Nairobi. Watch the video below to learn more about EFAL and designer Vivienne Westwood’s collection.
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EFAL affiliated with the FLA in February 2010 to work towards better management of the risks in their supply chain. EFAL’s affiliation has been handled as a special project for the first year due to its unusual and diverse supply chain, which extends to informal workshops, communities and home-based work. Within the first few months of collaboration, FLA provided ITC with new tools and methods – including photo elicitation. This method helped illustrate the day-to-day lives of the workers, painting a more complete picture of the program’s impact on workers’ lives. Photo elicitation is an explorative approach among a small sample of workers to discover what a typical workday looks like; how workers view their lives, their work, and their community; what is most important to them; and how the Ethical Fashion Program is embedded into their daily routines. Read more about the Ethical Fashion Program and see the recently-published 2010 FLA Annual Report to learn more about the photo elicitation method used during program development.
On May 31, dozens of company, supplier and NGO representatives joined FLA staff for an informal gathering at the FLA Shanghai office to discuss trends, best practices and lessons learned in capacity building for social compliance. Labor advocates and industry leaders are increasingly realizing that it is important to look beyond monitoring to develop resources that positively and sustainably affect compliance. Capacity building at the factory level – activities that strengthen the knowledge, abilities, skills and behavior of individuals – is essential for sustainable compliance. Capacity building encompasses more than training, and can include:
- Human resource development: the process of equipping individuals with the understanding, skills and access to information, knowledge and training that enables them to perform effectively.
- Organizational development: the elaboration of management structures, processes and procedures, not only within organizations but also the management of relationships between the different organizations and sectors (public, private and community).
- Institutional and legal framework development: making legal and regulatory changes to enable organizations, institutions and agencies at all levels and in all sectors to enhance their capacities.