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Italian Embassy, International Trade Centre unveil green, inclusive fashion project in Nairobi

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L - R: United Nations Resident Coordinator for Kenya Dr. Stephen Jackson, Secretary to the Cabinet Mercy Wanjau, Italy's Ambassador to Kenya Roberto Natali, MSME Principal Secretary Susan Wang'eni and AICS Head in Nairobi Giovanni Grandi during the launch of the Ethical Fashion Initiative at Don Bosco Boys in Nairobi on Wednesday 17th April, 2024.

The International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI) together with the Embassy of Italy and the Nairobi Regional Office of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), launched a new 3-year project in Nairobi on Wednesday 17th April
2024.

The project, which is funded by the Italian Government, is geared towards fostering sustainable fashion production and job creation in Kenya.

The event took place at the project’s main incubation hub at the Don Bosco Training Centre in Nairobi.

“I am delighted the Ethical Fashion Initiative, which has a solid track record in supporting MSME’s from the fashion value chain, is launching this project in Kenya, creating new employment opportunities and shining a light on our homegrown creative and productive
capacities.” Said Susan Wang’eni, Principal Secretary, State Department of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises.

Also present during the launch were Mercy Wanjau, Secretary to the Cabinet;  Roberto Natali, Ambassador of Italy, Dr. Stephen Jackson, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Kenya and Giovanni Grandi, Head of AICS Regional Office in Nairobi among other dignitaries.

“Kenyan artisans are already world-class creatives; what they sometimes still lack is access to the markets and systems at the international level that will allow them to take their production to the next level.

This ITC initiative will provide that, marrying local and
international expertise for a win-win situation in the fast-moving world of global fashion,” said Dr Stephen Jackson.

The initiative leverages the EFI development focused business model to empower self-help groups of artisans, micro-producers and design entrepreneurs, with special attention to women and youth creating fashion products using circular design and production.

Ethical Fashion Initiative Founder Simone Cipriani shows dignitaries around a workshop at the Don Bosco Boys technical and vocational training centre in Nairobi during the launch of EFI’s new fashion project.

2,500 individuals from marginalized communities across the country are expected to benefit from the initiative through specialized training, improved working conditions and increased access to the market via linkages to prominent international fashion firms such as Giorgio Armani and Vivienne Westwood.

Among the enterprises selected under the programme are the Nairobi based Africa Collect Textiles company, Ushindi Women’s Group in Gilgil and the Alisam silk worm farming venture in Kisumu.

Roberto Natali, the Ambassador of Italy, underlined that this initiative marks a key milestone in Italy’s renewed attention to the African continent under the framework of the Mattei Plan for Africa

“By empowering artisans, micro-producers and entrepreneurs, our aim is to pave the way for inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Employment and business creation stand as cornerstones of the Italian Cooperation’s commitment in Kenya, and through this initiative we aim at harnessing the potential offered by the incredible entrepreneurial drive of the Kenya population and of its young population”, noted Giovanni Grandi, Head of AICS Nairobi.

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