Creating impact

YEVU aims to economically empower those that are systematically excluded through creating inclusive, dignified and sustainable employment opportunities.

1. We create inclusive, sustainable and dignified jobs.

YEVU employ's women from Ghana’s informal sector, who are earning below a living wage in unsafe and precarious conditions. In 2023, our team stands at 27 full time staff, made up of over 80% women (many of which are single mums).

These jobs pay a living wage, are full time and are located at our small factory in Ghana’s capital, Accra. Jobs at YEVU include social security, health insurance, paid parental leave, technical skill training, financial literacy training, and a home cooked lunch every day.

These jobs are "sustainable" - they are stable and dependable jobs that generate full time income sufficient enough to not only live on, but to also enable a change in circumstance for the individual and their family.

We’re proud that YEVU is a safe, fair, inclusive and dignified place to work.

2. We pay fair wages.

YEVU is a living wage provider. The living wage indicator we use as a benchmark is that of a double income family living in urban Ghana that is supporting two children. On these wages, our employees are earning 4-6 times what they were earning before they joined YEVU.

Providing single mums with a sustainable income means that as the breadwinners, they can send their children to school on their sole salary, provide for the whole household, and also have enough for emergencies and to save. Education, especially for girls, goes a long way in breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Ghana has gone through periods of economic crisis, where inflation is as high as 40% per annum. We adjust our wages every year to account for inflation and increased cost of living.

All staff have been supported to access formal banking (account opening and digital use). We pay all employees monthly through direct bank transfers now that all our staff are formally banked. 

3. We share skills and build capacity. 

YEVU provides training in pattern making, cutting, garment construction, sewing technique and quality control to our team. This training is carried out by our senior team of female makers, many of whom started with us as apprentices. We aim to carry out around 200 hours of on the job training per year to our entire team.

We continue to run an apprenticeship program for young women from rural Ghana who experience disadvantage, which covers the cost of training, provides an allowance and accommodation.

Training our team in technical skills has been a key factor in creating a beautiful product that is viable in an international market. It has also been essential in forming a powerhouse team that looks out for each other, teaches each other and learns from each other.

4. We partner with like minded social enterprises.

YEVU partners with like minded for-purpose organisations to create more opportunities for more people and to create a positive impact in the communities where we operate.

Avenue is our Australian based order fulfillment partner. They do everything to get your order to you beautifully and on time. Avenue is an NDIS service provider and day program alternative where people of all abilities are supported to complete work tasks, socialise and develop their individual skills. The YEVU fullfilment team at Avenue has the capacity to fulfill up to 50 orders a day, packing and sending up to 7600 units of YEVU Clothing per year all over the world. This partnership provides meaningful work opportunties for around 33 people living with disabilities in Australia.

We also partner with COVA Project, an NGO that delivers menstrual health solutions to girls and women who experience period poverty around the world. In rural Ghana, about 95% of girls report missing school during their periods. Collectively, we have delivered over 700 cups and training to women all over Ghana. 

5. Supply chain accountability.

Uniquely, YEVU owns and operates a small scale factory in Accra in partnership with sister group, The YEVU Foundation. The team cuts and sews around 10,000 units of YEVU Clothing in this factory every year using wax resistant textiles sourced and commissioned locally in Ghana.

Managing and operating our own factory ensures our workers are always protected and that our ethical standards are guaranteed.

It also means that with an abundance of capacity, we are able to produce for other brands and businesses that want to manufacture ethically in Ghana, generating sustainable local revenue streams for YEVU Foundation independent from YEVU Clothing.

6. We believe in the transformative impact of economically empowered women.

YEVU is a women led and majority women run business. Fair incomes, safe and sustainable jobs and access to and control over resources, including knowledge and skills, means that the women that work for YEVU are resilient, independent and more empowered to make decisions that affect themselves, their families and communities. 

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The ripple effect

Investing in women creates a ripple effect that yields multiple benefits, not only for individual women, but also for families, communities and countries.

By increasing women's control over household income they can improve their access to education and healthcare; have greater control over their reproductive health; their ability to make environmentally friendly choices; boost female-run businesses; and ultimately improves their status within families, community and entire countries.

Measuring empowerment

Using the Oxfam framework for measuring women's economic empowerment as our guide, we gathered data that will help us better understand and measure "empowerment" experienced by the women that we employ. Questions address feelings of self confidence, individual capability, attitudes towards women's economic role, control over household assets and decision making. In our last impact survey, conducted in June 2018, an external evaluator interviewed 16 current and past employees in Ghana, 75% of which were women.

  • Feelings about self

    • 88% of female respondents strongly feel that they are a person of worth, equal to others. Feelings of worth are derived from access to income, total independence and self-sufficiency as a single mum.
    • 94% of  female respondents strongly feel like they have the skills and capabilities to achieve their dreams, citing the technical skills they’ve gained through YEVU as well as customer relations and financial management skills as reasons why.
    • All the women feel that their sewing skills are better than other makers, as they've learnt how to use industrial machinery, how to pattern make, and they cite that YEVU’s stringent quality control mechanisms mean that their work will be scrutinised and must be of a very high standard. Others in the profession in Ghana don’t have these expectations placed on them.
    • 100% of female respondents state that they are, to a large extent, able to produce consistently across large quantities of style and size, a skill that was many did not posses when we they commenced work with YEVU, citing production sizes of up to 350 units per size/style. 92% are confident in cutting cloth in large quantities.
    • Everyone we interviewed felt like they had learnt new skills in the last 12 months, stating that a greater volume of work has increased their skills through on the job practice. Pattern making was specifically mentioned by 26% of respondents.
    • 94% of female respondents strongly feel like they have the skills and capabilities to achieve their dreams, citing the technical skills they’ve gained through YEVU as well as customer relations and financial management skills as reasons why.
    • Around 88% of female respondents believe that women and men can both be leaders. One of YEVU’s lead female makers stated that before working for YEVU, she believed that men and woman had separate roles, but since being employed at YEVU, she feels empowered to stand up. Another female employee believes that women talk too much and men talk less and do more.
    • 100% of respondents agree that a women are equally as capable of managing finances as their male counterparts. One of the single mothers believes that women are very capable, without being able to rely on anyone else, but an education helps.
    • Every single respondents agree that men and women deserve equal pay for equal work. One female participant thinks that women should in fact be paid more than men! Why not, we say. 
  • Feelings about relationships

    • Around 73% of the female respondents stated that they have enough freedom within their household to travel to visit relatives and friends outside their community without the input of their husbands. 
    • All female participants have the ability to choose how many children they’d like to have, be it independently or with the joint input of their husband.
    • Over 80% of female respondents make joint decisions about how to spend the money they make, with only 2 out of 12 respondents stating that they have full independence over spending their own income.
    • 87% of female participants are members of religious groups, with the majority feeling like they have influence to make decisions within this group to a medium and large extent.
    • 88% of our team believed that they are on the right path to achieve their life dreams:
    • 38% of respondents dream of owning their own workshop, becoming a master of their craft and employing and training others in order to expand the business.
    • 19% of respondents dream of building their own house with the money they earn at YEVU.
    • 19% of respondents dream of being able to support their entire family and provide all their needs through the income from YEVU.
    • 7% dream of furthering their education.