Cotton on foundation Field report 2018

What a year

Message from the general manager

It's been an incredible year for us at the Cotton On Foundation, with highs and lows, we made great progress towards refining our Child's Journey approach to development, ensuring that every child in a community that we partner with around the world, has access to quality education, and is supported every step of the way.

Your actions are changing lives. Thank you for another impactful and inspiring year.

Tim Diamond
General Manager, Cotton On Foundation

A child's journey

Education extends far beyond the walls of a school

The Cotton On Foundation exists to empower youth globally through quality education, and education is at the core of everything we do. We recognise that to make a sustainable and lasting impact that helps to reduce global poverty, we need to address all factors that contribute to systemic poverty.

Our child-centric model, focuses on delivering quality education, and removing the barriers to education that children currently face, ensuring they have a brighter future full of opportunities and possibility.

A quality education gives every child the potential to change the world

Stage one:

Children are provided with basic necessities

  • Babies safely delivered in Uganda
  • Large scale water tanks installed
  • New Nutrition Mission graduates

Providing children and the wider community with the basic necessities is a crucial step in our model, first and foremost, we want to ensure that kids are healthy, happy and getting the best possible start to life. We understand that a healthy community means a brighter future for all and is key to helping break the cycle of poverty.

We understand that a healthy community means a brighter future for all

Clean water and sanitation

Our Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programs are focused on providing clean water, toilet facilities and hygiene education for schools, health centres and households.

In Uganda to date we have installed 11 large scale tanks with the capacity to hold 2.68 million litres of water (and 81 other tanks totaling 687,000 litres).

In 2018 we also began rolling out education based WASH programs with communities across Southern Uganda.

Learn more


Our food and nutrition programs work to ensure that children are healthy, attending school and getting the most out of their education. Each day, we provide 24,104 nutritious school meals to students in all supported schools in Southern Uganda. In Thailand 440 healthy and nutritious meals are provided per day to primary and secondary students across two schools that we partner with.

With a focus on long term solutions to food security, the Nutrition Mission program offers community training and education around good food and nutritional practices, and has now seen over 1,562 graduates globally since it began 2015.

Stage two:

Children receive a quality education

  • Teachers in Thailand participated in development workshops
  • Students in Uganda supported via our sponsorship program
  • Mulka centre initiatives in Yirrkala, Australia

This year we continued to roll out the Quality Education Model (QEM) globally to ensure that quality education is being effectively delivered in all communities that we partner with across the world. A key highlight was introducing the QEM at the two schools that we partner with in Mae Sot, Thailand this year!

Sponsorship program

In Uganda, our local team work closely with schools and the wider community to ensure that the most vulnerable students from the Mannya, Busibo and Kyalulangira villages are able to access school. We currently support 2,579 students in Uganda via the Child Sponsorship Program.

We also support students at Bwe K'Lar School in Thailand via a class sponsorship program.

Learn more

Quality education in Australia

We are proud of our continued partnerships in Yirrkala in Australia's Northern Territory, which adopt an innovative approach to learning. Yirrkala is home to the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts Centre, where the Mulka Project was born. The project's mission is to sustain and protect Yolŋu culture and knowledge in Northeast Arnhem Land, under the leadership of community members young and old.

Learn more

Learning On Country

We also support Yirrkala School and Dhimurru Land Management Corporation's Learning On Country workshops, which focus on the ultimate purpose of connection, strengthening identity and cultural empowerment.

Stage three:

Children progress through school

  • Schools supported in Uganda
  • Educational places developed
  • Educational places underway in South Africa

Educational place progress

Creating safe and inspiring learning environments in the communities that we partner with globally is crucial to our success in delivering quality education. An educational place is one sustainable seat for a child in a classroom, and includes the basic necessities for a student to receive a quality education.

In 2018, we took significant steps towards our goal of developing 20,000 educational places by 2020. In August, we completed four new primary schools in Uganda, in Kyampalakata, Kasomolo, Kensekka and Kalyamenvu, communities that we had an existing partnership with. We also developed a further 1,200 educational places in Uganda in partnership with the School For Life Foundation, bringing our completed total for 2018 to 3,200 educational places.

World map
  • South Africa Kwazulu-natal

    Educational places 3,480 planned

    One school supported

    Learn more

  • Uganda Southern Uganda

    Educational places 9,000 complete
    7,000 planned

    20 schools supported

  • Thailand Northern Thailand

    Educational places 100 complete
    1,400 planned

    Two schools supported

  • Australia Arnhem Land, Northern Territory

    Partnering with Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation,
    Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre,
    Yirrkala School

Stage four:

Reach further education or work

  • Students participated in leadership workshops
  • University students supported
  • Vocational students supported

Student leadership experiences

This year we introduced youth leadership and career guidance events in our central villages, coordinated by our Head of Student Wellbeing and local team in Uganda. The first event was held in Mannya at the Multipurpose Centre.

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Tertiary students

In 2018 we continued to support graduates from Cotton On Foundation schools via a number of post-secondary pathways.

We are currently supporting 40 university students, with 18 new university scholarships being awarded this year. Students are studying at 12 public and private universities across Uganda in a variety of fields, including health, business administration, computer science, education and finance. There are also 23 students currently completing vocational studies via Cotton On Foundation scholarships.

Learn more

Stage five:

Become a contributing citizen

We want to ensure that our contribution has long term benefits for the communities that we partner with. Many students that graduate from Cotton On Foundation supported schools, go on to vocational studies or University, and choose to come back and work in their local community.

Meet some past students from Cotton On Foundation supported schools who have found success in their chosen careers and are now working back in their communities…


    Waliyi currently works at the HIV clinic in Mannya, assisting in administration, giving back to his local community, working towards eradicating HIV through prevention.

    Learn more


    These two passionate teachers from Kasomolo Primary School, Leo and Jacinta, were once supported via the Child Sponsorship Program.

    Learn more

    Leo and Jacinta

    Francis Jjemba has worked as a comprehensive nurse at the St Bernard's Health Centre for the past 4 years.

    Learn more

    Francis Jjemba

Stage six:

Break the cycle of poverty

At the Cotton On Foundation, we understand that to make a sustainable and lasting impact that helps to reduce global poverty, we need to address all factors that contribute to systemic poverty, with the belief that quality education is at the core.

Our child centric Child's Journey model, focuses on delivering quality education, and removing the barriers to education that children currently face. We aim to ensure that no child is left behind, because a quality education gives every child potential to change the world. We believe that by following the Child's Journey model in the communities that we partner with around the world, we can help break to break the cycle of poverty.

Our model

It all comes down to amazing product

Our work in the field is only possible because of the actions taken by our team members and customers across the globe. Our fundraising model is actually pretty simple, it all comes down to amazing product, taking action, making an impact and then ensuring that we prove that impact.

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Finance and product highlights

Delivering a world class product range

This year, product sustainability was a big focus area for us! In partnership with the Cotton On Group, we are committed to making a positive difference in people's lives, and reducing our environmental impact through the use of more sustainable materials in our products.

We critically analysed our offering and consolidated categories to ensure that we are delivering a world class product range, that is on trend and what our customer wants. As a result, we delivered some incredible environmentally friendly products that also improved our fundraising profitability and increased sales by 11.2%.

* All dollar figures throughout are represented in AUD.

Registered charity
  • Group of people dancing
  • In April, Cotton On Body raised over $65,000 allowing us to continue expanding our nutrition mission program

  • In September, Cotton On Kids contributed one dollar from every baby romper sold, raising $67,861 for our global projects

  • Purchasing clothes at Cotton On Kids
  • This year we teamed up with Toll Group who raised enough funds to provide 70,000 meals to students at Bwe K'Lar school in Thailand

  • Inside Factorie
  • In 2018 Planet Factorie Foundation raised $779,980 to support their education and student wellbeing programs

Our commitment and contribution

Collaboration is key to achieving shared goals

The Cotton On Foundation Impact Framework is made up of 29 indicators – a mix of long-term impact measures, medium term progress indicators and short term commitments or outputs. Our Impact Framework is crucial to the immediate and future success of Cotton On Foundation projects, it allows us to constantly monitor and measure our impact, keeping us accountable for our results.

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Children reading books
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