EKA launches cooperation with Moi University to tackle textile waste problem
President Kersti Kaljulaid, EKA ja Moi ülikooli esindajad Keenias. Foto: Raigo Pajula
President Kersti Kaljulaid, EKA ja Moi ülikooli esindajad Keenias. Foto: Raigo Pajula
The delegation of the EKA took part in President Kersti Kaljulaid's final state visit, during which a long-standing cooperation project with Moi University in Kenya was launched. In addition, a project was launched to teach local women design and technical skills to help solve the problem of textile waste imported into Africa.

Last weekend, the EKA and Moi University announced a long-term partnership to find solutions for recycling post-consumer textile waste sent from Europe to Africa. To this end, the two universities plan to use value-added reuse and recycling. "Textile waste is a problem that is increasingly in the spotlight at local level," said Reet Aus, Senior Research Fellow, Head of the Circular Design Research Unit of the DiMa Sustainable Design and Materials Laboratory at the EKA.

In the future, it is planned to establish a branch of DiMa at Moi University to support research-based studies and collaborative projects in higher education. "The partnership with Moi University will create a strong bridge for joint research development activities focused on finding solutions in this field," said Aus. He added that the two universities have complementary strengths. "Moi University has a large technology park, close ties with local industry and expertise, while EKA contributes with in-depth knowledge of the circular economy and design education."

The visit also saw the launch of a year-long development cooperation project with DiMa, targeting women in Nairobi's slums. Maria Kristiin Peterson, DiMa's project manager, said the programme will teach local Kenyan women practical design skills and technical knowledge so that they can recycle and create new design products from the textile waste that accumulates in their hometowns through a value-added recycling approach."

The project activities will be accompanied by a documentary film crew that will record the journey of textile waste brought into Africa. They will later bring viewers inspiring stories of Kenyan women who are returning textile waste from the West to the fashion arena," said Peterson. This is a pilot project before the launch of the collaboration with Moi University.

The five-day visit also included a visit to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi and meetings with local fashion and textile companies.

The Estonian Academy of Arts was represented during the visit by Reet Aus, Senior Research Fellow at the EKA, and Maria Kristiin Peterson, DiMa Project Manager.