Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


February 15th, 2012

Baroness Lola Young to be Ambassador for the Aid by Trade Foundation

Parliamentarian Advocates Sustainable Fashion Made of African Cotton

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.

We came across some exciting news this morning and are more than pleased. We met Baroness Lola Young back in December 2011 when the Aid by Trade Foundation presented its initiative Cotton made in Africa at an informal meeting chaired by Lola Young in the House of Lords. This is great news as we launch our cotton campaign to help bring awareness to African grown cotton.

The Aid by Trade Foundation

The Aid by Trade Foundation was established in 2005 by Dr. Michael Otto, the Hamburg-based entrepreneur and Chairman of the Otto Group Supervisory Board. It has since acted independently of the Otto Group. The Foundation’s goal is to help people help themselves through trade, and thus to secure the conservation of vital natural resources and the future of coming generations in developing countries. Cotton made in Africa is the Foundation’s first initiative that literally puts the principle of ‘aid by trade’ into practice.

The foundation’s goal is to help people help themselves through trade. To this end, its initiative Cotton Made in Africa (who we now partner with here at Africa Fashion Guide) creates an international Demand Alliance to buy sustainably produced cotton from currently around 230,000 African smallholder farmers.

Cotton Made in Africa

Cotton Made in Africa (CMiA) © Aid by Trade Foundation.


Cotton made in Africa is an Initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation that helps people help themselves through trade. The initiative aims at sustainably improving living conditions for African small holder farmers by creating an alliance of international textile firms who purchase and process sustainably produced cotton from African smallholder farmers for the world market. Cotton farmers also profit from trainings and social projects.

Currently around 230,000 smallholder farmers from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi and Zambia participate in the programme. Last year around 15 million textiles made of Cotton made in Africa cotton entered the market. For 2012 initiative anticipates around 20 million units.


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.

Cotton Made in Africa and Aid by Trade Foundation – ‘A Hand for Trade, A Heart for Africa’



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