Equestria Girls dolls have made their way to Ethiopia and are the first girls dolls to be sold on the continent, as Ethiopia looks to increase its domestic textile sector.
The country has been in a tough economic situation as the population has shrunk due to a pandemic, but the girls dolls have helped fuel a surge in domestic production, and have helped to diversify the country’s economy.
“They are very popular because they are not only cute but they are also very affordable,” said Shira Kavika, the head of equestria in Ethiopia.
“We’ve had a lot of demand for them, because people who have already been working for us, they want to work here again,” she said.
Kavika said the dolls were part of a broader effort to encourage girls to pursue education and work in the textile sector, adding that the dolls also represent a way to help the country diversify its economy.
She said the equestrias main aim was to improve the lives of girls by supporting them to pursue their education.
“When they’re growing up, we want them to have a good start in life.
We want them [girls] to have good jobs,” she told Al Jazeera.”
I think the girls will come back [in] the future [in the textile industry] as well, as we can have more opportunities,” she added.”
It is not about the clothes.
We are also making sure the girls have access to education.”
The dolls, which are made in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, come in different sizes and price points, ranging from 50 to 700 shillings ($1.90 to $4.70) per set.
In a bid to encourage more women into the textile and farming sectors, Ethiopia is also introducing a scheme for girls to earn a wage of 1,000 shillers ($5.10 to $11.40) per month.
This is a one-time payment, but will be reflected in their monthly earnings over time, according to Kavikas team.
“This is something that will enable more girls to start their careers,” she noted.
The girls dolls are not the only new fashion trend for Ethiopia, with other domestic products such as carpets and china available.
Ethiopia’s President, David Shehu, has recently made domestic goods one of his key initiatives, and this includes new laws aimed at encouraging domestic production of new goods.
This includes introducing a new law that allows the government to grant loans to farmers for the production of agricultural products, as well as encouraging the use of locally made goods.
“If we’re able to diversified agriculture and increase domestic production [and] expand our domestic industry, we will be able to provide more jobs for Ethiopians,” Kavike said.