KAYA&KATO founder, Stefan Rennicke, has launched the Cotton Work project. Cotton Work is a film project that portrays the farmers of the Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC) and their cooperative in three short documentaries. It highlights their contribution to global cotton production and places it in the context of the region's checkered history. The farmers produce not only sesame seeds, chilies, and sunflowers, but above all cotton for our products and for the world market. Until now, however, their work has gone largely unnoticed. Consumers don’t know who grows the cotton, nor do cotton farmers have a clear idea of what happens to their cotton. The starting and ending points of the production chain are unknown to each other.
Moreover, the Cotton Work project tells a story of courage and new beginnings. In recent years, GADC has been instrumental in helping the Gulu region regain stability after years of civil war. The project thus stands in contrast to the common negative stereotypes of cotton farming and represents a positive perspective. After all, for a period of almost 20 years, a brutal war between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan army raged in this region. The LRA displaced over two million people, abducted thousands of children, and committed numerous atrocities. Gulu was a central site of the conflict. In 2006, hostilities ended, but the region lay largely destroyed and deserted. Gradually, farmers have returned, and with their return, an agricultural cooperative has been established in Gulu. At the center of this cooperative is an old cotton processing plant that was once destroyed. It has been painstakingly restored and is now the heart of the cooperative, which works with some 120,000 small and micro farmers.
Who is behind Cotton Work?
Esther Ruth Mbabazi, a photojournalist and filmmaker based in Kampala, Uganda. Her work describes the changing conditions on the African continent, focusing on the social, physical, and emotional aspects of daily life. Her work has been published in the New York Times, TIME Magazine, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and El Pais. Esther is the founder of The Candid Local initiative, which works with independent creatives on the African continent to tell stories from Africa with a distinct African eye.
Stefan Rennicke, founder of KAYA&KATO. Previously, Stefan worked for many years in international political cooperation and worked intensively with developing and emerging countries. The focus of his work was on cooperation with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. As part of this work, he has implemented numerous projects with NGOs and governments - in countries such as Liberia, Mali, Uganda, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar and Rwanda.
He is active as an author and initiator of the initiative Black Heart - White Teeth in which creatives come together to jointly develop and implement projects.
Axel Post, operator of a digital communications agency and cinematic storyteller. Axel likes to talk to people of all kinds. He is driven by a deep aversion to the genre "image film". In his free time, he experiments with new digital art formats, designs apps, attends concerts ranging from punk to indie pop and is a fan of Borussia Mönchengladbach. Axel lives with his family in the west of Cologne and knows the African continent only from television.
Read more at www.cotton-work.com