Financing is always a delicate business around which much vigour must be concentrated. Delicate also because an activity of this sort constantly is without means whatsoever - until new means come forward. By nature most nonprofit organizations are like that. Constantly out of funds.
THE SECOND-HAND CLOTHING
A commodity world-wide -today more than ever. After the conclusions of innumerable investigations on the matter -also in connection with our activity- have helped to lift the fog of former times and to assure the textile industry that there does not exist a situation of competition in connection with second-hand clothing and to assure governments that the second-hand clothing industry creates lots of jobs, more and more countries look upon second-hand clothing as a commodity.
For us the road to the capital necessary to serve our projects in The Third World looks like this:
We install containers for collecting the clothing in many countries in Europe and North America. As a token of solidarity people bring their surplus clothing to the containers. We separate the clothing into categories. Some to be sold in shops in Europe and North America, some to be sold to tradesmen on the international market and some -a great deal- to be shipped to our centres in the Third World. There it is sold from the shops in many countries.
It is the total income from shops in Europe, in North America and in the Third World that in the form of capital constitutes a significant part of the financing of establishing and running of projects in The Third World.
Thus, we transform the value of the clothing in the moment of delivery into the containers from zero value to considerable value. And that not only in form of capital, but first and foremost in the transformation of this capital into projects in all sectors of our activities to benefit for and advantage for and prize for and life and health and education for the many people who need a hand to ignite a development towards a greater belief in own capacity as contributing citizens in their countries. From zero value to considerable value.
How the Clothes Sales Project Creates Development
WHY DEVELOP THE CLOTHES AND SHOES SALES IN BEIRA?
The project is situated in Beira, which is the second largest city in Mozambique. Beira has 500.000 inhabitants, and is the capital of the Sofala province. Beira is the major port in central Mozambique, serving also Zimbabwe, Zambia, Zaire and Botswana, giving access to more than20 million people. Together with the Beira Corridor and its reconstructed railway and highway to Harare, the port is of major im-portance for the trade and economic development in the region.
Sofala province has 67.000 km2 arable land and a long coast line with beaches towards the Mozambique Channel. Less than 15% of the arable land is used for agriculture. At present the per capita GDP in Sofala is 240 USD, the main part of the income deriving from port and transport services and from the export of prawns. 66% of the population in Sofala and the neighbouring province Manica lives mainly from subsistence farming in rural areas. The average annual income for the rural population is less than 100 USD. There is an immense need for production and for jobs, so that many more people can become economically self-reliant.
Under these circumstances, raising funds, stimulating the local economy and training staff in the clothes sales projects have great impact on the economy and lives of the 2.6 million people living in the Sofala and Manica provinces. ADPP Mozambique strives to meet the need for clothes for people in the Beira Corridor. According to UN standards, the minimum need for clothes is two kg per person per year. The 2.6 million people of Sofala and Manica thus need an annual minimum amount of 5.200 tonnes of clothes. Less than 10% of this need is covered by the national textile production, and not more than 10% is covered by the import of new clothes. Subsequently the need for second-hand clothes is estimated to be at least 4.100 tonnes per year in Sofala and Manica.
These figures alone provide a good reason for starting a clothes sale project. In 1991 ADPP decided to move to the central part of Mozambique and start clothes sale in Beira.
DEVELOPING AS WE MOVE ALONG
The project started with twelve employees, selling big bales from the warehouse. The first week of its existence the project sold 800 kg of clothes and the second week 3.857 kg. Local small-scale traders took up the trade of second-hand clothes. Most of the customers were local people actively seeking a way to make a living.
Many of the small-scale traders who were buying and selling clothes had a capacity to buy and sell less than 100 kg per month. To meet their needs for smaller bales the project started the production of 40 kg bales in 1992.
During 1992-1994 the project grew and sales posts were opened in Vilanculo, Quelimane and Tete, and a new warehouse with sales of big bales was established in Beira. The customers now came from most of the districts in the provinces of Sofala and Manica. In 1994 the clothes sales in Tete and Quelimane formed their own clothes sales projects. The clothes sales reached such a size that it was necessary to find new, larger premises for its activities. In 1994 the project moved onto the premises in Munhava where we are currently staying. With more space it became possible to increase the small bale production and to reach out to a larger number of small-scale traders.
ON THE JOB TRAINING
In 1995 the project implemented a short business course for its customers to assist and support their success in the trade with clothes. At the same time the customers were organised as members in the clothes sale program. In 1996 the project had 170 people employed. Many new initiatives were taken, aiming at the education and development of the staff as well as of the customers. Leisure clubs were started and on the job training courses were carried out in the different sectors. The individual workers made their career plans in co-operation with the project management. Evening studies were organised, and a health care plan for the workers was implemented.
HIGHER DEMANDS ON OUR BUSINESS SKILLS
As the economy of Mozambique improved, new commercial businesses were established, especially in the cities. This put new and higher demands on our business skills, and over the years we have continuously developed our business to meet the new demands of the market. We have cut costs, and worked more cost efficiently, we have delivered a better product at the best price, thus being able to continue to deliver funds for the running of the projects of ADPP. This development has also meant a stronger and more streamlined organisation of our resources -our employees and our products. Today the clothes and shoes sales project in Beira looks like this:
· The Small Bale Production:
The production department receives 500 kg bales of imported second-hand clothing. In the production, 75 workers are sorting 60 tonnes of clothes per week. The clothes are divided into 55 different categories and packed in 45 kg bales or 5/10 kg bags. In the production process the clothes are sorted with great care to ensure that the final product has an even and adequate quality. The aim of the production is to meet the needs and wishes of the customers of the clothes sale, as well as those of the final consumers.
· The Sales of Clothes:
The main activity at the project is to sell the clothes. The customers are small-scale traders from all districts in the provinces of Sofala and Manica. All regular customers are members of the clothes sales programme and enjoy membership benefits, such as business courses and sales counselling, special offers and customers’ newsletters. The average customer buys 25 kg of clothes per week and sells them at a local market place. The clothes trade gives the tradesmen enough income to support their families. The project is running five sales posts in the Sofala and Manica provinces where they sell big and small bales.
· The Sales of Shoes:
The project purchases shoes in 25 kg sacks. The sacks are opened and the shoes are sorted into 8 categories and packed into 20 kg sacks that are sold to small-scale shoe traders selling the shoes at the local markets. The shoes trade helps to meet the very large need for shoes in the country. The role of the second-hand clothing as a commodity is worth repeating -with a quotation from the HUMANA People to People Charter:
“The second-hand clothing. A commodity world-wide -today more than ever. After the conclusions of innumerable investigations on the matter - also in connection with our activity- have helped to lift the fog of former times and to assure the textile industry that there does not exist a situation of competition in connection with second-hand clothing and to assure governments that the second-hand clothing industry creates lots of jobs, more and more countries look upon second-hand clothing as a commodity.”