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WORKING FOR CHANGE

Jared Sternberg, owner of travel company, Gondwana Ecotours, reached out to us a few months ago regarding a partnership on an eye-opening project to support a Clean Water Initiative in the Maasai village of Engikaret, Tanzania. With that being said, each purchase of Lems Shoes using the promo code “Gondwana15“, 15% of the proceeds will go towards this incredible initiative for clean water.

If one has the goal to improve the world, or the welfare of its inhabitants, there is a literal endless array of avenues to try and walk. From helping senior citizens cross the street, to contributing to disaster relief funds, there’s always a way to help others. One region of the world that is widely known for its imbalanced share of daily struggle, yet is infrequently seen as “news”, is sub-saharan Africa. While there is much more to life in Africa than the singularly grim and wearisome aspects we in the west so commonly see on television, film and news, there certainly are aspects of life there that could use some improvement.

In Tanzania and Kenya, many members of the Maasai Tribe still live in more-or-less identical fashion to their nomadic ancestors. However, as the world modernizes and climate change forces various kids of unwanted change, the fabric of their lives, in this case, the land, is literally changing beneath their feet. Climate change and desertification of the Maasai’s homeland is creating a water-scarcity epidemic.

Water-scarcity means more than just the danger inherent in dehydration. It also results in increased levels of disease, reduced soil fertility, a degradation of the land, and so many other risks. This puts a strain on personal health and safety, limits educational possibilities and limits overall quality of life.

So it is fitting that Lems is putting their foot down through a collaboration with Gondwana Ecotours, a small sustainable travel company, to try and bring their plight to light, and develop an initiative to help Maasai. After Gondwana’s creation of a new tour to Tanzania that visits a beautiful Maasai community, they decided to pursue solutions to help the village of Engikaret build a water bore, at the request of Maasai.

A water bore is a pump system that allows the user to pump and store groundwater that remains underground after a rain. By building this system in the Maasai village of Engikaret, Gondwana and Lems hope to empower the local Maasai to remain on their ancestral land, and take ownership of the project once it is complete. Water bore construction and maintenance is a complex and important act. It is an unfortunate fact that many completed water bores fall into disrepair without proper guidelines and funding to keep them operational. For this reason, Gondwana and Lems are carefully managing not only the creation of the bore, but a plan to maintain it once it’s operational.

So how can you help? In addition to Gondwana making a donation to the fund for each guest in Tanzania on Gondwana’s Ecotour, for every pair of Lems sold using the promo code GONDWANA15, Lems will donate 15% of the proceeds towards this initiative.

In addition to helping this community tap into their groundwater, it is the two companies’ hope that this campaign will raise awareness about the desertification in the region. Their goals, apart from the bore itself, are to spur similar action in other companies and to help push research to continue to make bores increasingly available and effective. In the short-term, however, this project is a great model for how for-profit business can still incentivize and endorse global welfare concerns in a meaningful way. While the international community has taken steps on curbing climate change and its deleterious effects on the planet, immediate action is still absolutely necessary on a global-scale to create a safety net for African regions (and elsewhere) to help secure them against disease, drought and famine.

For more information about desertification and the project in general, you can read up on Gondwana’s Website.

So if you’re in the market for some fine footwear, you may as well make the choice that is building toward a better future. The shoes are fantastically comfortable, lightweight and durable. For more details on desertification, Maasai culture, and water bores, you can read Gondwana’s essay. So if you’re in the market for shoes, consider the ones that takes steps towards social change – they’re a good fit!

Live Easy and Minimal,

Jared Sternberg

Owner of Gondwana Ecotours

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