About Atinga

 The Atinga Project sells shoes made by Africans.  Specifically, recycled taxi-tire sandals made by Rwandans.  These sandals are not your typical flip-flops.  They are hand-crafted by skilled artisan-shoemakers.


At Atinga, we believe walking a mile in someone else's shoes is the most powerful way to fight prejudice.



The "One for One" movement became so out of control in 2011 that three college students began extensive research on supply chains in Africa in order to better communicate the economic injustice of hand-outs and explore alternatives. What they found were the victims behind those hand-outs: the entrepreneurial, informal network of artisan-shoemakers. Informed chiefly by them, Atinga was formed to defend and support their livelihoods and openly compete against this movement with their very own footwear - 
Africa's most humble shoes.
The Atinga Collective represents those who think that walking in someone else's shoes (patiently listening to and understanding them) must come before helping them. True impact and change for the better almost never occurs when an outsider tries to help a person without first walking a mile in their shoes. 

The AP couples the most powerful way to destroy prejudice with the most effective way to combat 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 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 artisan-shoemakers with whom we partner a dividend (a no-strings-attached cut) of our earnings each year. This occurs each year after the summer, our primary season of operations.

The Atinga Project's mission integrates this generous social business model, originally inspired by this non-profit's pioneering research on East Africa's extreme poor.  


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, strivingtoward 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 toaddressing 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 walkwith 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 thattruly help.