distribution: worldwide via Internet
who: Ecosandals is a non-profit importer and reseller of sandals produced by Akala Designs Limited, a cooperative business based in Nairobi, Kenya. This international e-business, based in one of Nairobi’s most destitute neighbourhoods, currently employs nearly 30 Kenyans in the designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling of really great sandals made with recycled tire treads.
Since its founding in 1995 by an American and a Kenyan, Ecosandals has provided quality employment opportunities for young adults in the Korogocho shantytown. In the last three years, Ecosandals has been recognised by CNN, the World Bank, the Youth Employment Summit, the Jefferson Awards, and the Stockholm Technology Challenge for providing quality work in one of earth's most materially destitute neighborhoods. The 2001 launch of Ecosandals.com brought unprecedented media attention and income to the African community-owned enterprise.
what: all akala sandals are handmade with used tire soles, glue, leather, and thread. Some have additional beading. Every sandal is produced only with materials available in the local marketplace. The sandal soles are extremely durable, likely to last a lifetime. They are ideal as beach sandals, shower sandals, dressy sandals or just to wear around the home.
why: Ecosandals exists solely to support Korogocho inhabitants, in their efforts to improve their standard of living and the opportunities in their community.
partnerhip: Ecosandals has recently announced an online partnership that will provide increased exposure to a cooperative of East African shantytown sandal-makers. The recently launched spring 2004 site of levi.com includes a section profiling the unique Ecosandals venture and its products. Levi & Strauss Co. has agreed to provide this exceptional marketing opportunity free of charge, providing Ecosandals global exposure that otherwise would not be available to the collective of Nairobi, Kenya sandal-makers.
sustainability features: as a sustainable and community-based project that engages the youth of Korogocho in productive income generating activities while fostering the recycling of environmental waste, Ecosandals.com is helping to reform and modernize the social and economic structures of this marginalized community. In other words: “Buy something on this site, and you will receive attractive, high-quality sandals at a fair price, while your money makes the world a better place, for some very nice Kenyans just trying to make a living. Your purchase also supports the reuse of trash in one of the most polluted cities on earth. ”