Today, 24 April we mark the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh in 2013, which killed 1,134 factory workers. The catastrophe was symbolic of widespread injustices, highlighting a real need for a more transparent, fair and ethical fashion industry.
At CAFIN, we believe education is also a vital factor in being able to empower both consumers, industry leaders and importantly supply chain workers, such as cotton farmers.
Our third animation highlights the importance of better education and government responsibility to help empower the lives of those working across the industry.
Helping farmers understand the benefits of organic farming, by giving them the knowledge and tools to convert their farms to grow cotton as efficiently and sustainably as possible.
Organisations such as Cotton Connect, which works to increase commercial opportunities which limit impact to people or the environment, and the Self Employed Women’s Association trade union, teach farmers methods such as efficient irrigation, planting in rows with trenches to maximise drainage, and introducing organic pesticides and fertilisers such as cow dung, when possible, to reduce the use of chemical options.
These kind of organisations interlink water related issues and leads to strategic action for water stewardship, resource efficiency, fair allocation and good governance.
Education and know-how is key to scaling up organic practices. Not only do farmers need support in understanding what constitutes good agricultural practice, they can also learn about organic cotton cultivation, financing of organic certification and the organisation of farmer collectives.
At CAFIN, we believe that the best way to achieve education and empowerment is through government regulation – in the same way that government should regulate and enforce laws to protect workers’ rights and the environment – the government should provide access to learning opportunities for farmers and their communities to become more independent and thus, more empowered.
As our favourite adage goes:
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.