MEDA Blog - Stories from the Field
Kaleab Zelalem is a young lawyer with a business law background and over three years' experience in providing legal assistance to economically disadvantaged women and youth on the issues of child and disability rights in the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia. He was the 'Child Safe Certification' intern responsible for designing and implementing the certification and product labeling system for E-FACE. Kaleab is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is currently working as the Junior Textile Value Chain Officer for the EDGET project.

Child Safe Certification

Safe Threads Logo
Using social-impact certification to reduce child labor in the traditional textile industry of Ethiopia

The use of social-impact certification as a marketing tool to entice consumers into making purchasing choices that are sensitive to social and environmental issues is a growing trend. The E-FACE1 project's 'child safe' certification is geared towards this trend in an effort to reduce child labour and promote change in the traditional textile industry. Although laws are in place to protect Ethiopian children engaged in labor, enforcement of these regulations is inconsistent, meaning many children and youth are left to be exploited.

E-FACE has assisted a group of designers, retailers, and traders in creating a certification standard and establishing a business model that promotes sustainability in the textile production process. Establishing a child safe certification exposed MEDA clients to a formal and internationally recognized certification system, similar to other popular social marketing programs, such as The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), Good Weave, and Fair for Life. This exposure created the necessary peer network and support for the promotion of 'child safe' textiles as a competitive marketing edge for E-FACE clients.

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