At Atinga, we believe walking a mile in someone else's shoes is the most powerful way to fight prejudice.
The AP couples the most powerful way to fight prejudice with the most effective way to end poverty.
The dividend for development is our core approach to making an impact and a difference - creating economic opportunity abroad and sustainable business at home. It's very simple to understand:
In addition to paying artisan-shoemakers of East Africa a fair wage, we take it to the next
level. We provide the (currently) five artisan-shoemakers with whom we partner a "dividend" (a no-strings-attached cut) of our gross sales. This occurs each year after the summer, our primary season of operations.
Our ongoing research, supported broadly by many others, shows that this "D4D" is a game-changer for household and community development over the short and long term.
How Atinga artisan-shoemakers use the D4D, whether to meet their own needs or others, is up to them.
They know better than we do when it comes to poverty and local need. That's another integral part of a D4D model: supporting the dignity and decisions of the local people.
Should the West help "the Rest"?
Some businesses like to use perceptions of Africa to sell their products. We stand for integrity in our media, striving toward the complete truth, rather than settling for the partial, and seek to increase consumer awareness of African realities. After all, we have no brand of shoe to call our own! Rather, we facilitate the sale of the average African's typical footwear.
The Atinga Project is opposite and opposed to "using Africa to glorify its brand".
One of the toughest perceptions of Africa to address is that Africa needs our help. It's easy to say and believe unquestioningly, isn't it? If you have walked in the shoes of the Atinga, then you've arrived at a conclusion: there are no easy answers when it comes to addressing some of the most difficult problems in Africa. Or anywhere for that matter.
In order to help anyone, we recognize that we must first each ask ourselves "what do I really have to give?" and then ask, "what do I have to learn?" Everyone has something to teach; everyone has something to learn.
The Atinga Project challenges all "helpers and givers" to walk with us and interact with the deeper issues behind the poverties we all want to alleviate, to wrestle with our usual responses, and to discover answers that truly help.