The Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative has approved funding for a health outpost in rural Tanzania as the first project in its new Community Cooperation Program (CCP).

The health outpost will be located in the Tanzanian town of Kasoli, which has about 16,000 inhabitants but whose current facility has just three beds for delivering babies, although there are more than 3,000 women of childbearing age in the town. With 52 births per month on average, neither the number of beds nor the quality of care is adequate – with four newborn babies dying every month on average.

Two years ago the Kasoli community took the initiative to extend the maternity unit but now need help to finish the project. Thanks to the CmiA, funds will be allocated in an attempt to reduce the infant mortality rate, ensure safe drinking water is on hand and improve the supply of medicines.

"The empowerment of the women in the rural regions where the CmiA cotton is grown is a main priority of our initiative," said Tina Stridde, managing director of the the Aid by Trade Foundation, which oversees CmiA.

CCCP funds will be allocated to projects in education, health, empowerment of women, and nature conservation in the CmiA cotton growing regions in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The Kasoli project is also being backed by the Tanzanian cotton company Alliance, certified partner for CmiA cotton from Tanzania. CmiA set up CCP one year ago with Dr Michael Otto, Dr Michael Otto, chairman of the supervisory board of the Otto Group, providing starting capital of EUR1m.

The news comes just a few weeks after a strategic partnership was agreed between the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) and the African Cotton and Textiles Industries Federation (ACTIF).

The two organisations, which have worked together since 2013 promoting the sustainable cotton and textile industry in Sub-Saharan Africa, earlier this month said they aim to strengthen their cooperation through a more strategic partnership. The goal is to create more value addition in Africa's cotton and textile industry.

Strategic partnership to boost Africa cotton sector