Artisan Global, a non-profit partnering with youth, artisans and entrepreneurs across Uganda to develop the creative economy and address cycles of extreme poverty, has received a grant from the Fashion Impact Fund to support ten women to participate in a nine-month fashion and design course. The program aims to equip economically marginalized women with sewing, tailoring, design and business skills to pursue sustainable income opportunities and use fashion to ignite community change in Northern Uganda.
As a part of the Fashion Impact Fund’s on-going mission to support female founders advancing equitable workforce development in the fashion industry, the grant is awarded to the Artisan Global co-founders Lauren Shipley, Ketty Promise and Devon Feldmeth who recognize a gap between developing skill sets and turning those skills into sustainable businesses through entrepreneurship. Their workspace, The Artisan Center, exists to support the development of the creative economy and sustainable communities throughout Uganda.
“The Fashion Impact Fund is leading the way for women-led impact in the fashion industry across the globe. We strive to contribute to an equitable workspace, creating the opportunity for disadvantaged women to become leaders in the community. Together with the Fashion Impact Fund, we can accelerate new opportunities for women to be active participants in the economy," said Lauren Shipley, Co-Founder, Artisan Global.
The Artisan Center aims to be a viable participant in the fashion industry in Uganda and is positioned to be a driving force in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and setting a new standard for the creative industries in the country by promoting inclusion of creative entrepreneurs who typically face many social and economic barriers. Uganda has one of the world’s youngest populations. Over 75% of its population is below the age of 30. Youth unemployment remains a serious challenge though with 41% of youth (between 18-30 years), or 9.3 million, not engaged in work, education or training (Uganda Bureau of Statistics).
Kerry Bannigan, Executive Director, Fashion Impact Fund, commented: “Artisan Global utilizes the fashion industry to be a part of the solution to the unemployment crisis in Uganda by leading an accessible, comprehensive and vocational education program for women that equips them with high quality training and introduces them to local, regional, and international market opportunities. We are proud to support their efforts and look forward to seeing the impact of this grant on the lives of the women they serve."
Beyond the on-site training classes, the students will attend educational field trips and local networking events to broaden their skills and knowledge of the industry. The program includes guest lecturers from other regions of Uganda in order to expand cross-regional collaboration and introduce the students to an array of fashion styles and skill sets, providing insights on marketing, social media, branding and more.
Ketty Promise, Co-Founder, Artisan Global, shared: “The tailoring industry in Gulu already exists as one of the primary jobs in the informal sector, but skilled artisans lack access to industry training and marketing opportunities to generate consistent income. There is a huge opportunity for scaling and accelerating the fashion industry throughout Uganda and East Africa.”
Devon Feldmeth, Co-Founder, Artisan Global, added: “We believe that the solutions lie within the community, and it is our role to mobilize the resources, mentorship and storytelling to support them in unlocking their full potential. One of the most important components of our program is the focus on mentorship by working together with local designers who not only teach technical skills, but coach the young women as they gain confidence in their work and capabilities.”
The nine-month fashion and design course launched on May 8, 2023 and is led by two instructors, Veronica Lonyera and Jelinda Patricia
About the Fashion Impact FundThe Fashion Impact Fund provides grants to female founders advancing equitable workforce development in the fashion industry to accelerate women's economic empowerment and leadership. The charitable organization supports women-led fashion initiatives advocating for gender equality through education, media, and skills programs; contributing critical system change for women in the fashion industry to earn fair wages, operate in safe and ethical working conditions and achieve effective leadership. https://www.fashionimpactfund.org/; https://www.instagram.com/fashionimpactfund/; https://www.linkedin.com/company/26269950; https://twitter.com/FashImpactFund