Launch of the FELPAA project: Training, Excellence, Work in the Leather sector in Addis Ababa

The organisation CVM, in collaboration with CIFA, launched today, at the Creative Hub, the FELPAA Project: Training, Excellence, Work in the Leather sector in Addis Ababa, funded by the Italian Agency for Development of Cooperation in Ethiopia.

The project is part of the program for socio-economic development and job-creation for youth and women in regions at risk of irregular migration. In particular, the project aims at improving the employment opportunities for youth, returnees, and potential women migrants, at strengthening the vocational training system in the leather processing sector, at and increasing the entrepreneurial skills and access to credit of Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises operating in the sector in Addis Ababa.

The Ethiopian government has identified the leather processing sector as one of the country’s essential product value chains. In Addis Ababa 350 medium and small enterprises work in the leather processing sector. Nevertheless, the manufacturing sector is still living up to its development potential, due to the economic crises that affect the country, but also to inadequate training offer to guarantee the development of the sector in the domestic market, as well as in the in exports.

In this context, this project will so contribute to addressing the described situation, aiming to create job opportunities for more than 6000 direct beneficiaries, including unemployed youth, returnees, and potential women migrants through improving their access and participation in the leather industry.

Particular attention deserves the condition of women in the production system, which appears very vulnerable. This is because women usually start from a disadvantage compared to men related to education and access to credit to build up their businesses. Women entrepreneurs have often lower skills in several areas, including organizational, networking skills, information gathering and analysis, and business planning. In fact, this initiative is part of an ongoing effort of the Italian Cooperation enhancing job creation and women’s access to better labor conditions, also enhancing the training offered within the TVET system to make them more in line with the needs of the enterprises.

This project keeps maintaining the traditional presence of Italy in the leather sector which sees a historical collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Ethiopian Government, and the Ethiopian Leather Industry Development Institute (LIDI). Since 2015 the Italian Government has been supporting the Women Empowerment Development Program (WEDP) to improve women’s entrepreneurial and technical skills and access to finance, with a recent focus on strengthening their business in the leather sector. Finally, the Creative Hub, that welcomed the launching event, is another innovative and successful example of  a physical and digital meeting point aimed at supporting young innovative entrepreneurs in the leather sector and the Italian contribution to it in Ethiopia.

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