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The Otto Group and the Aid by Trade Foundation have launched a project to promote Zambia's school infrastructure. With the cooperation of the Dunavant Zambia cotton company and the Deutschen Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG, German Investment and Development Association), the project will ensure that around 7,000 girls and boys in the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative project region will soon have better access to education.
The goals of this cooperative project are to enable as many children as possible to attend school and to improve school infrastructure as a whole. "Education is the key to a better future. Thus, if we want to strive for sustainable development in Africa, we have to start with the education of children. This is why we support this Aid by Trade Foundation project", says Andreas Streubig, Head of Corporate Responsibility for the Otto Group. A variety of Otto Group companies are partners to the Cotton made in Africa initiative, which is dedicated to improving the living conditions of African smallholder farmers.
The project that the Otto Group supports with 150,000€ includes plans for building six new school buildings. This will give many children from isolated rural regions access to a school closer to their villages, so they no longer have to endure the often very long, tiring and dangerous walk to school. Smaller classes and well-equipped classrooms will ensure every pupil has a desk and offer a quieter learning environment. The curriculum will also include a very special subject: classes held in school gardens will teach children important aspects of growing cotton and vegetables sustainably. This integrates key knowledge about environmentally-friendly and efficient agricultural technologies directly into the children's regular class work.
In Zambia, children are officially required to attend school from forms 1 to 7. The country's extreme poverty, however, complicates a well-working school infrastructure as well as the maintenance and equipment of the buildings. Classes of up to 60 pupils are not unusual in Zambia. Also, access to clean water and electricity is the exception rather than the rule for many schools.
To improve living conditions for African smallholder farmers, the Cotton made in Africa initiative is focusing on social projects in Africa in addition to promoting sustainable cotton cultivation. These are funded and carried out in cooperation with local African partners, companies, partners and the public sector.