The company supporting Kenya's culture of running excellence
(from Enda's website.)I love it when I find something new in what I consider my nexus of interest: that place where outdoor adventure and doing good in the world come together.Patagonia, of course, has been supporting good causes for decades. More recently, Jeremy Jones and Protect Our Winters have shown how to use their position and clout among those who play hard outside to work for change -- in their case, lobbying for climate-change legislation.Then the other day I learned, thanks to Mario Fraioli, about a company called Enda Sportswear.Here's how the company's website describes its mission:
Enda was founded with a mission to bring Kenyan athletic excellence to runners everywhere and fuel economic development in Kenya. Our vision is to have millions of runners around the world wear shoes 100% Made in Kenya.
Of course, it doesn't hurt Enda's brand that Kenya has produced many of the best runners in history. From Kip Keino to Eliud Kipchoge, Margaret Wambui to Catherine Ndereba, Kenyans have been dominating long-distance, and often middle-distance, running at the elite level for a while now.Enda sells men's and women's shoes on its website, with the aim of incubating the shoe industry in Kenya. The company also donates a portion of profits from each shoe sold to local charities. (They also sell a really cool bracelet to make you feel a little bit of that Kenyan runners' magic.)Beyond selling shoes, the company is keen to share its outlook on Kenya, its running culture, and the guiding principles behind the country's racing success. From the Swahili word "Harambee," meaning "all pull together" on the soles, to the training plan for a marathon, Enda is focused on sharing its county's culture as well as producing a product.The great thing about this sort of initiative is that it refocuses energy and impact inside Kenya, the home of these great runners. Having their own shoes, made in their own land, helps to remove the faint whiff of colonialism/imperialism inherent in a situation where athletes from outside the West endorse and use the products of the Nikes of the world.In any case, it's a great example of promoting social good out of outstanding athletic endeavor.Maybe we should all run like Kenyans.