Your donation will allow us to continue with research, advocacy, waste recovery + (re)cycling and direct support for the kayayei*. We appreciate any amount you can contribute!
*Please note that in light of the COVID-19 crisis we have directed all public support from March to December of 2020 to food distribution and hygiene for the Kayeyei community living in Accra. Access our report on this effort here.
Since 2016 the Dead White Man’s Clothes (DWMC) project has collected accurate and comprehensive data on the secondhand clothing economy in Accra, Ghana while also engaging the Kantamanto community in conversation about the future of fashion. Through this research we have mapped Kantamanto’s ecosystem, including material flow, methods of valorization and chain of labor. Through DWMC we strive to illustrate how the global oversupply of clothing unjustly compounds environmental, social and infrastructural issues in Ghana, while we also work to identify opportunities for intervention and improvement.
2020 represents a year of transition for The OR Foundation as we place more emphasis on applied research and as we build capacity towards sustainable, community-scale responses to the fashion waste crisis in Ghana.
By donating you are supporting the following:
Kayayei are girls and women who work as head porters throughout Accra, including in Kantamanto. Most migrate from the rural North in search of a better life without any understanding of the reality that awaits them. Kantamanto’s kayayei risk their lives doing backbreaking work for poverty wages that often leave them sleeping on the streets, vulnerable to sexual violence. We will:
- Partner with the Kayayei Youth Association to coordinate four health interventions during 2020 that will reach hundreds of Kantamanto’s kayayei. This will include healthcare registrations, vaccines and chiropractic analysis.
- Model climate change resilient agricultural growing systems and businesses through female empowerment.
- Support kayayei in returning to school or apprenticeship.
Every week 4-6 million garments go to waste in Kantamanto. While we will continue to support various upcycling projects, we will also begin capturing and processing this waste into new material. Most immediately we will begin by:
- Building a shredder using local materials, technology and know-how. The shredding system to be easily replicable and will operate at a scale that makes sense for the context of Kantamanto.
- Develop a business model for ‘shoddy’ that addresses both domestic and international demand across multiple sectors including mattresses and home goods as well as fashion.
- Explore shoddy as feed for the development of new textiles in collaboration with Akosombo Textiles Limited
- Offer funding to design students and recent graduates in Accra to build new businesses using Kantamanto’s waste as a resource.
The fashion industry lacks reliable data. We will continue to be committed to rigorous research with an eye on data that Ghanaian residents express interest in and that we feel can inform policy both in Ghana and internationally. Funding will allow us to:
- Publish more of our findings and methodology on our website as well as in journals.
- Collect data on how clothing waste impacts the natural environments and socio-political landscapes (marine, landfills/dumps, informal settlements) where this clothing “ends up.”
- Develop and present both the data and the qualitative storytelling that champion a vision of markets and cultural patterns grounded in the service of heterogeneous globalization.
- Continue to support our data with multimedia documentation, including a feature-length documentary film.
- Foster a community space both digitally and physically to encourage open dialogue and collective learning and action.