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Fashion 4 Development: the 4 “E's” to redeem Africa
   
 
 
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Fashion 4 Development: the 4 “E's” to redeem Africa

 
Tuesday, 10 July 2012 19:51
 
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by Nicolamaria Coppola (EPOS)
EPOS Insights

 

There are a lot of misconceptions about Africa: the negative perception of the world's second-largest and second-most-populous Continent is given by the range of problems it faces - wars, poverty, high mortality rates, HIV/AIDs and malaria - and it prevents a proactive analysis of the resources and the potential of the “black soul” of the Earth. The frenzied European Colonialism with all it degeneration has so drained the resources of Africa that all its 54 States are today struggling to build their own identity, delaying putting democracy in practise and having difficulty in the creation of societies subject to the rule of law that could ensure the proper functioning of public affairs. Africa has lots of problems, but also an enormous potential which it can and must unlock. It is necessary to ensure a stable political situation and support the technological and economic sectors, and there are many areas that have to be reevaluated in terms of their promise for the future of the whole Continent.

Evie Evangelou is the co-founder and the global chair of the project “Fashion 4 Development”, whose motto is “Heal the world through the spirit of the arts”; her development initiative for F4D is to create an international awareness platform that is both multifaceted and multinational. Currently focusing on fashion, but also known to work with performing and visual arts, beauty and media industries, Evie's vocation is to generate sustainable and development worldwide and empower women. Of the many initiatives she is currently working on, some of her achievements include the “Fashion 4 Development WFDP Scholarship Program”, whereby underprivileged yet talented students from around the world are invited to Seoul, Korea, for a formal education and hosted by WFDP, a non profit organization she chairs, which looks to achieve the 4 “E's”: Educate, Empower, Enhance, Enrich. Furthermore, the “First Ladies & Fashion 4 Development Luncheon” Evie hosts annually in New York during the UN General Assembly «encourages leading women from around the world to shift the paradigm to social economics».

Another important aspect of her work includes the initiative “Every Woman, Every Child”, an unprecedented global movement, lead by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which looks to mobilize and intensify global actions to improve the health of women and children around the world. This project belongs to the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health, a plan of action that outlines solutions to accellerate progress on improving women's and children's health by 2015: support for country-led health plans; integrated health services and care; health systems strengthening, including the health workforce. It brings together governments, the private sector and civil society, to deliver improved services, policies and financing.

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appreciated really a lot “Fashion 4 Development” contribution by mobilizing in particular the fashion industry to implement creative strategies for sustainable economic growth and empowerment of communities worlwide. For him, Africa does not need charity, but it needs investments and partnerships thanks to them the Dark Continent can turn around its destiny and go into worldwide business. F4D vision includes the creation of job opportunities, particularly for women, and it is very important to lay the foundation of a new society subject to the rule of law, with all its rights, and not to the absolute power of a despot.

Africa's future depends on investments in civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights: challenges such as building a more prosperous economy, empowering people and fighting climate change are deeply interconnected and increasingly complex, and it cannot make progress in one without making progress in the others. Actions by Governments are indispensable to confronting the global challenges of our time, but Governments will not be able to overcome these alone: joining forces with civil society and private sector, including non traditional players, like the fashion industry, has become necessary. Moreover, there must be more room for free trade: many African countries are “open for business” and their products must not be priced out of the markets by heavy import taxes. Africa's farmers should not have to compete with unfair agricultural subsidies: Africa's Governments, with the help of development partners, must be enabled to scale up investments in agriculture, water, education, health and infrastructure.

Africa is a complex reality and it is impossibile to generalize; one simply cannot lump Africa into one. Not a single country is the same on this vast Continent, and each country has a tradition, a value and a standard of its own. However, everywhere is increasingly palpable the awareness of  own rights and resources and a lot of countries are reaching levels of rapid development and civilization unimaginable up to ten years ago. So in hindsight we must look at Africa differently; we must understand there is much more to this Continent than disease and poverty, corruption and prostitution alone. The list of potential is endless, and we must be aware of this.

Last modified on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 22:07
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