Normally a decision for experts, we’re asking our customers instead. Here’s why.

Enda
Enda
Oct 4, 2018 · 4 min read

The most common question I get is “what’s it like there?” Whenever I’m back in the US, even complete strangers can’t constrain their curiosity when I tell them I live in Kenya.

And understandably so! Kenya is a place that lives large in the public imagination. The birthplace of Barack Obama Sr. A wild land of elephants and lions. And, of course, home of the world’s greatest runners. But I know people crave to know more.

Before moving to Kenya, I spent years working in international development advocacy and campaigns. I’d rally tens of thousands of people to sign petitions asking the government to enact better policies to help some of the world’s poorest people.

During that time, I realised many of the people signing the petitions did not know what life is really like in a country like Kenya. In messages I received from them, it seemed many imagined universal destitution straight out of a famine relief appeal. I heard it all the time.

And it make sense: when you hear news from another country it’s always the bad news. After time, an image forms in your mind of all the worst stories about a place being the daily norm. Like the time in a hostel in Japan, a few students quizzed me about how many times I’d been shot at. Because that’s the news they got from America.

It’s been years since then, and social media has brought the world much closer together, for good and bad. Spanish and Korean music videos are global sensations and odds are that latest dank meme is straight out of Russia.

But our new global closeness is only good if we make it good. We make it good by using it to forge purposeful and impactful bonds. To build communities that span great distances to improve lives and mutual understanding.

Students participating in Hoops for Kids, one of the organisations shortlisted for our first Enda Community Foundation grant.

So, as Enda, we’re doing that. We’re using the power of the internet to build a global community of people and sharing with them stories of positive change, exactly the kind you won’t hear on the news.

Having the chance to learn and engage should be one of the joys of buying a socially impactful product.

When someone buys Enda, they’re not just getting a pair of shoes. They also get to join a community for good. Part of the purchase price of each pair of shoes goes towards community development projects in Kenya. We then give those customers a chance to learn about those projects, and together choose which one we as a global community should support.

Our goal here is to increase understanding and connection, and the grant is a vehicle to do that.

Normally, determining which development projects receive funding is the exclusive domain of experts. We still engage experts to ensure all the projects are valuable investments, but we want the Enda Community to be deeply involved for two big reasons.

1) It’s about time customers got connected to impact.

So many products we buy are designed to do some good for the world. Part of the value of buying a product is knowing that we’ve made a choice to help others and/or our planet. However, more often than not, we’re far removed from that impact and companies don’t make an effort to report on their impact or engage customers more deeply in the process of making impact.

Having the chance to learn and engage should be one of the joys of buying a socially impactful product.

2) For development, the connection is perhaps more important than the funding.

There are many ways for organisations to find funding. But as I’ve seen through the years, genuine and meaningful connection across great distances and experiential differences are few and fleeting. But they’re hugely important. The only way we’ll come together to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges — like climate change — is if we feel a deep empathetic connection with others around the world.

Our goal here is to increase understanding and connection, and the grant is a vehicle to do that.


For years, we’ve heard the stories of how few Americans hold passports, but it’s changing. Across the country there’s increasing curiosity about the world. We hope the global Enda Community can be one of the ways that people explore that curiosity, all while enjoying a great pair of running shoes and supporting development in Kenya.

As we give our first grants, we made a video introducing the short list of candidates to our global community of customer, hopefully giving them a good answer of just what it is like here in Kenya.


The Author Weldon Kennedy is the Co-Founder of Enda. If you would like you buy your own pair of award winning Enda running shoes, you can order directly from our website.

Enda Stories

Sharing stories of Kenyan running to help elevate athletic excellence and accelerate social progress.

Enda

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Enda

Making the world’s greatest running shoes in Kenya, the home of running excellence.

Enda Stories

Sharing stories of Kenyan running to help elevate athletic excellence and accelerate social progress.