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FUTURE FASHION BUSINESS

Controversial: used clothing exports to Africa

The export of used clothing from Europe to Africa is controversial. Various East African countries announced that they would impose an import ban on imports of used clothing from 2019.

We spoke about these topics with Anton Vaas, the managing director of Aktion Hope, a long-standing partner of the SEZ.

The main argument against exporting used clothing to Africa is that it destroys the textile markets of the importing countries. What is the truth of this accusation, Mr. Vaas?

This discussion arose in the early 1990s, primarily through a study by Südwind. But that's not entirely true. There was an African textile industry in the 60s and 70s, but it was never internationally competitive. It was hit very hard by the liberalization of African markets in the 1980s.

What is the state of the African textile industry today?

There are still textile factories producing clothing for domestic markets. But this is more traditional clothing made from fabrics with traditional patterns. This traditional clothing is more often bought for holidays because it is simply too expensive for everyday wear. It's no different for us either. And textile exports do not represent serious competition for this traditional clothing.

African clothing markets today are primarily dominated by low-cost and low-cost Chinese imports. The markets are flooded with new goods, but they are of low quality. Some of the textiles also contain substances that are harmful to health.


And what role do old clothing imports now play in the African markets??

It is now assumed that the export or trade of used clothes tends to have income-generating effects locally in Africa. A lot of items of clothing have to be ironed on, most of them are sewn around. This creates jobs for people with low incomes, such as seamstresses. We assume that in East Africa alone, for example, several hundred thousand jobs depend on the trade and processing of used clothing.

Why then the import ban that the East African Community decided on two years ago when so many jobs depend on the used clothing business?

The argument was that they wanted to build their own industry. At first it sounds logical and it was grist to the mill of those who criticize the export of used clothing. But if you take a closer look at how this decision came about, you quickly see that the whole thing came about under pressure from the Chinese, who want to secure their sales markets for new goods.

In fact, the import ban has already been partially reversed because it simply ignores people's reality. Many used clothing dealers protested against these regulations. There were also considerations that in the event of an import stop, the used clothes would cross the green border and customs revenue would then be lost for the East African Community.

Will the import stop come in 2019 or will it be suspended for now?

Rwanda is still adhering to this import ban; all other countries in the East African Community, namely South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi, have suspended it.

What can we consumers here in Germany do to ensure that the old clothes that go to Africa actually have value?

The quality of donated clothing has been declining for years because the trend is towards fast fashion, because people who buy clothes today consistently only buy according to fashion. Fashionable appearance, latest collection, less quality. Today people actually buy according to their mood and clothing has degenerated into a purely disposable item. And there is our appeal as a development policy organization to consumers to buy clothing more consciously, to buy high-quality clothing and to wear this clothing for as long as possible. And not just after the first season or after wearing it ten times to put it in the clothes container. Clothing must be worn for as long as possible and be of high quality so that it can be used sensibly.

When we sort the clothing we collect, less than half of the donated clothing can actually be reused as clothing. More than half are no longer acceptable from a quality perspective. It must be further processed into secondary raw materials, which is also ecologically important and correct. It's good that these textiles exist for this. But you would have to start much earlier - consume less, wear clothes longer and buy higher quality clothes so that this pile of old clothes doesn't arise in the first place.

How does Aktion Hope differ from other non-profit collectors?

Aktion Hope is the only nationwide collector in Baden-Württemberg that has subjected itself to the criteria of the umbrella organization FairWertung. FairWertung is a nationwide association of over 130 non-profit organizations that have adhered to the strictest standards in the collection and sorting of clothing. All sorting operations are externally audited. Attention is paid to social standards in sorting, environmental standards, import and export regulations are checked - and, very importantly, the proceeds generated from the trade in used clothes are donated exclusively to charitable purposes.

Categories
BENEFIT SEZ

SEZ benefit concert 2018 now on CD

The SEZ benefit concert on October 25, 2018 is now also available on CD. An ideal Christmas or birthday gift for anyone who loves classical music.

The CD contains the following pieces: the Divertimento KV 136 and the Serenata notturna KV 239 by W.A. Mozart, Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in A minor, Jean Sibelius's Andante festivo, Ottorino Respighi's Danze antiche, Giacomo Puccini's Crisantemi and the aria Lascia ch'io pianga from Handel's opera Almira.

The Camerata Europeana orchestra performed under the direction of Radoslaw Szulc, with soprano Tamara Bueno de la Torre as soloist.

CD orders (10 euros plus shipping) are possible at: info@sez.de

Since 1993, the SEZ has been organizing regular benefit concerts for its friends and supporters in the White Hall of the New Palace in Stuttgart.

Categories
DOHUK PROJECT FUNDING SEZ

SOLAR POWER FOR CAMP MAM RASHAN IN DOHUK

Philipp Keil, Managing Director of the SEZ, at the opening of the photovoltaic system in Camp Mam Rashan in Dohuk, northern Iraq.

RECENTLY, THE 8.500 PEOPLE IN CAMP MAM RASHAN IN THE NORTHERN IRAQI DOHUK PROVINCE FINALLY HAVE ELECTRICITY DURING THE DAY.

This was made possible through funds from the state of Baden-Württemberg. The State Ministry provided around 400.000 euros in funding for the construction of the photovoltaic system, while around 200.000 euros came from the private sector - as donations in the form of discounted material resources and free labor.

“The project enjoys great attention in northern Iraq,” reports SEZ managing director Philipp Keil. “It is a very innovative project that contributes to significantly better care for the camp residents. And at the same time it is a good example that radiates far into the region and raises awareness among people in northern Iraq about clean energy.”

Work on the photovoltaic system at Camp Mam Rashan in Dohuk started at the end of 2017 together with the non-profit atmosfair gGmbH, which carried out the project. “atmosfair did a great job,” says Laurids Novak, who is responsible for project funding at the SEZ. “The whole thing was only possible to this extent and to this quality because we had great support on site, including from the team at Refugee Aid Essen.”

The Mam Rashan plant is designed to be easily expanded to meet a higher proportion of electricity demand. There are already considerations about this. The training of local maintenance staff and energy scouts, for example, were part of the project measures.

“For the SEZ, the photovoltaic system in Mam Rashan is an absolute pilot project. We have not yet had any other project of this size, because we normally support much smaller projects,” emphasizes Keil and adds: “In Mam Rashan, an attempt was made to provide humanitarian aid with a long-term perspective to combine perspective. And I think that was a success.” The experience with the project was very positive, everyone was willing to get involved – and “Mam Rashan is a blueprint for other camps.” The Mam Rashan camp is predominantly inhabited by Yazidi internally displaced people. In addition to the solar system for Mam Rashan, the state of Baden-Württemberg has supported other projects in Dohuk in northern Iraq. For example, a carpet factory was built on the edge of the Khanke refugee camp. Also in Khanke, a playground was built in a children's center on the edge of the camp with support from Baden-Württemberg. Other measures included the implementation of computer and English courses in collaboration with the Iraqi organization Women for Better Healthy Life (WFBH) and a pilot project to raise and fatten calves in a remote region outside Dohuk.

Categories
DOHUK PROJECT FUNDING SEZ

Solar power for Camp Mam Rashan in Dohuk

Philipp Keil, Managing Director of the SEZ, at the opening of the photovoltaic system in Camp Mam Rashan in Dohuk, northern Iraq.

Recently, the 8.500 people in the Mam Rashan camp in the northern Iraqi province of Dohuk finally have electricity during the day.

This was made possible through funds from the state of Baden-Württemberg. The State Ministry provided around 400.000 euros in funding for the construction of the photovoltaic system, while around 200.000 euros came from the private sector - as donations in the form of discounted material resources and free labor.

“The project enjoys great attention in northern Iraq,” reports SEZ managing director Philipp Keil. “It is a very innovative project that contributes to significantly better care for the camp residents. And at the same time it is a good example that radiates far into the region and raises awareness among people in northern Iraq about clean energy.”

Work on the photovoltaic system at Camp Mam Rashan in Dohuk started at the end of 2017 together with the non-profit atmosfair gGmbH, which carried out the project. “atmosfair did a great job,” says Laurids Novak, who is responsible for project funding at the SEZ. “The whole thing was only possible to this extent and to this quality because we had great support on site, including from the team at Refugee Aid Essen.”

The Mam Rashan plant is designed to be easily expanded to meet a higher proportion of electricity demand. There are already considerations about this. The training of local maintenance staff and energy scouts, for example, were part of the project measures.

“For the SEZ, the photovoltaic system in Mam Rashan is an absolute pilot project. We have not yet had any other project of this size, because we normally support much smaller projects,” emphasizes Keil and adds: “In Mam Rashan, an attempt was made to provide humanitarian aid with a long-term perspective to combine perspective. And I think that was a success.” The experience with the project was very positive, everyone was willing to get involved – and “Mam Rashan is a blueprint for other camps.” The Mam Rashan camp is predominantly inhabited by Yazidi internally displaced people. In addition to the solar system for Mam Rashan, the state of Baden-Württemberg has supported other projects in Dohuk in northern Iraq. For example, a carpet factory was built on the edge of the Khanke refugee camp. Also in Khanke, a playground was built in a children's center on the edge of the camp with support from Baden-Württemberg. Other measures included the implementation of computer and English courses in collaboration with the Iraqi organization Women for Better Healthy Life (WFBH) and a pilot project to raise and fatten calves in a remote region outside Dohuk.

Categories
GLOBAL COMMUNITY SEZ

Documentation: 6th Stuttgart Forum for Development

The documentation for the 6th Stuttgart Forum for Development summarizes the most important results in a clear form.

The 6th Stuttgart Forum for Development was entitled “For good prospects worldwide: climate justice for all!” and took place on October 19, 2018.

The results paper now available summarizes the event and presents the most important points of discussion. “Climate justice means including those affected” is one of the central statements of the Stuttgart Forum for Development. “Only together can we make a difference” – another central message of the day. Governments and civil society, business and science, citizens must work together and see stopping climate change as their shared task. Everyone needs to stay alert and active. Time is running out!

The results paper, various presentations from the specialist forums, photos of the day and further information about the 6th Stuttgart Forum for Development can be found here.

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