Creating jobs, not dependency
Tate Watkins has a great article about Oliberté, a company that is creating jobs in Africa by making shoes:
“At Oliberté, we believe Africa can compete on a global scale,” he says, “but it needs a chance. It doesn’t need handouts or a hand up. It needs people to start shaking hands and companies to start making deals to work in these countries.”
Oliberté shoes are stitched and assembled in Ethiopia with leather sourced from local free-range cows, sheep, and goats—the default in a country with many herders whose livelihoods depend upon ranging wherever grass may be. The livestock haven’t been injected with hormones to speed their growth, a common practice in other parts of the world. The result is a light, limber, yet sturdy upper.
The shoes feature crepe rubber soles made from natural rubber processed in Liberia and lined with soft, breathable goat leather. This spring, the company will expand its line to offer leather bags and accessories, some of which will be sourced in Kenya and made in Zambia. It produces woven labels and other branding materials in the African island nation Mauritius.
I love what this company is doing. Sourcing materials and producing the shoes in a number of countries across Africa. Creating jobs and producing a quality product. What more could you ask for?
I have written about TOMS shoes and why I do not support the way they give shoes away. They create dependency, not jobs.