Shoes For Africa
Hello Nasio supporters!
My name is Camille, I am a new recruit this year. I am a student at the University of Oxford, doing a Masters’ Degree in Development Studies. Here at the Nasio Trust, I am in charge of the Shoes for Africa entrepreneurship project.
As you may already know, this project aims to tackle the growing issue of jiggers, a small parasite that burrows into people’s feet, laying eggs under the skin, and creating dangerous infections. Children and adults can have difficulties to move, and to go to school or to work. Additionally, in trying to treat the infections with safety pins or needles, they are also at high risk of contracting HIV. As jiggers hides in dust, and attack mainly the feet, wearing closed-toe shoes provides a simple preventative measure. Many families are unable to afford shoes though, especially for children whose feet are growing.
Our project will now tackle this issue by setting up a social enterprise: local, newly trained cobblers and sewers will take on the manufacture of shoes to be sold to the local community. To support the enterprise, an educational campaign will inform families on the benefits of the shoes, and on the need to wear them every day.
How will these shoes remain affordable, you ask? We have two solutions! First, they will be made mainly of recycled materials, such as denim and car tires (as seen in the prototype here), which are easily found at good prices on local markets. Secondly, the original business will then be expanded with a parallel enterprise: the manufacture of different, up-market shoes to be sold in Nairobi and other places. These shoes will be marketed to urban middle classes as well as to tourists, in order to subsidize the wages and materials for the original shoes.
I am now working with two other Oxford University students, Michael and Sarina, and together we will be going to Kenya this summer to engage with the community, and to identify together with them the best way to achieve break-even for the business. We will also set up training for future employees, and finalize the supply chain.
If you would like to help fund our research, as well as a two-week trial run of shoe production this summer, please donate on this page!