In 2009 ASOS launched a range of Africa inspired fashion – ASOS Africa, designed by ASOS and manufactured in Kenya by SOKO, a social enterprise. As SOKO grew, the company moved to a new eco-factory in Wildlife Works conservation area in the Kasigau Corridor, Kenya, approximately 120 miles north of Mombasa. Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+(Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project development and management company. (link to website) The aim of the SOKO Community Trust is to provide people with the practical skills needed to see sustainable improvements in their lives and lift themselves out of poverty.
As the success of ASOS Africa has grown, SOKO has been able to employ more tailors and now provides livelihoods for over 45 people in the Kasigau region. SOKO is still growing and can offer work to local people in an area of high unemployment. ASOS Foundation has worked alongside SOKO, Wildlife Works Community Trust and the SOKO Community Trust to support initiatives which increase the capacity for local people to be able to take up these employment opportunities, by supporting education, skills training and infrastructure.
We have initially focussed the largest proportion of our resources on providing access to drinking water. Kasigau is an area of low rainfall, high poverty and subsistence agriculture. For the majority of the population in this region, carrying water for many miles is a daily time consuming and exhausting task which prevents individuals from taking part in economic activities or education.
ASOS Foundation funding therefore supports water projects to remove a barrier which prevents women and young people from achieving their potential.