The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Akola PBC announced that DFC has provided a $5 million loan to Dallas, Texas-based Akola.
While announcing this on Thursday September 17, 2020, DFC stated that it will help the impact-driven jewelry brand and manufacturing business – particularly the women that it employs in rural Uganda.
DFC CEO, Adam Boehler, said, “Women reinvest most of their earnings in their families and communities and are a powerful driver of prosperity and stability in Uganda and beyond.”
“With just a little bit of support, they can deliver outsized impact in their communities,” he added.
Boehler explained that DFC’s financing will help Akola continue its work to provide economic opportunities and uplift Ugandan women.
“Our collaboration comes at a critical time as COVID-19 continues to leave underserved individuals even more vulnerable around the world,” he said.
Akola’s CEO, Sheeba Philip, stated that Akola was founded on the belief that job creation is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty,”
“This is why it was crucial that we did everything possible to ensure the women we employ as part of our operations in Uganda kept their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.
She explained that Akola quickly shifted its focus to product experiences that meet consumer needs and reflect the changing retail environment, such as DIY Bracelet Kits.
“We are grateful for the partnership with DFC, which helps ensure we can continue to offer Akola women living wage employment so they can provide for their families,” Phillip adds.
As a result of COVID-19, many major retailers have backed out of orders and brands have trimmed production, putting global artisans and factory workers already living in extreme poverty out of work.
Yet in the wake of the pandemic, Akola has continued its mission and commitment to the women it serves, working creatively to ensure that the hundreds of Ugandan women who work for the company have all remained employed.