Movember and the Commodification of Social Causes

Movember has been around for a couple of years, but seems to be catching on more this year. I haven’t joined in. I just think I look pretty good with a moustache.

I apologize for the hair, but it is a hangover from Oc-fro-ber (raising awareness of electrical safety). Actually I don’t apologize. I think the hair compliments the moustache quite well. I also just made up Ocfrober (electical safety month), but if BC Hydro wants to use it I only charge a small consultancy fee.

I don’t have a problem with Movember. I think it can be a good thing if people are willing to put themselves out there to raise money and attention for a cause. What interests me is that there seems to be a commodification taking place in which advocates are focused on marketing and selling their causes through gimmicky or viral methods. I recently listened to an old LSE (London School of Economics) talk on celebrities and humanitarian work and it gave me the same impression. The speakers touched on many issues, but the one thing that stood out for me was the fact that many humanitarian organizations are using, and sometimes hiring, celebrities to advocate for their cause in the same way that a company would hire the celebrity to advertise their product.

It would seem that organisations are now targeting possible supporters as consumers. Give people a catchy superficial glimpse into your cause, or do something attention getting – like growing a moustache, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, or riding a long board from Nairobi to Mombasa – and people will reach for their wallets, forward an email, click the ‘like’ button, or paste something on their status on facebook.

For the most part we are a market-driven attention deficit society, so maybe humanitarian organizations need to compete for our attention and money the same way that profit-making organizations do. The problem I see is that by looking at people simply as consumers there is little chance for any meaningful engagement. When causes need to be sold as products then the people affected will need to be packaged in a certain way.

An example of this is a recent awareness raising campaign for autism – Communication Shutdown Day for Autism – that called on people to participate in a day of social media silence. I assume this was to give people an appreciation for communication difficulties. However, a number of people with autism felt that this awareness raising campaign did not represent them and started a counter-campaign, Autistics Speaking Day, which was planned for the same day as the Communication Shutdown and called on people with Autism to use social media to tell their stories.

November 12, 2010

FIFA and Sport for Development: Is the flock being led by wolves in sheep’s clothing?

A couple of weeks ago two Fifa executives were caught offering to sell their votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. It is not the first time this has happened, it will not be the last time, and it is not even that bad compared to other Fifa dealings. I would recommend checking out a book by Andrew Jennings called FOUL! the Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging, and Ticket Scandals, or his website, or the website for Play the Game.

Since João Havelange campaigned and won the presidency of Fifa in 1974, and then continuing through Sepp Blatter’s reign, there has been a significant amount of investment in football development in developing countries. I say investment in football development, but what I mean is that Fifa gives money to national football associations with the stated purpose being to develop the game, but then does little in the way of monitoring or holding the associations accountable. From a political stand point it would not make sense for Fifa to hold the national associations accountable. The presidency of Fifa is decided on a one-country-one- vote system. If Sepp Blatter gives large sums of money to the national associations of countries with few or no strings attached then it is likely that those countries will want to keep him in power.

Money has been distributed through the Financial Assistance Programme and the GOAL Programme. Lesotho is part of both of these programmes and has received over $500,000 for projects over the past 5 years according to the Fifa website. According to a newspaper article earlier this year in Lesotho, LEFA (Lesotho National Football Association) is receiving $250,000 per quarter – $1 million a year. From the Fifa documents, 6% of funding should go towards youth football and 12% towards technical development including female football. Well, there are limited youth football structures in Mafeteng – I can’t comment on other districts – and the leaders within women’s football have called on FIFA to cease funding female football because the funds don’t reach them.

This has been going on for some time, but now FIFA is also becoming involved in the sport for development scene. The distinction is that sports development aims to develop the sport itself. Sport for development aims to use sport to accomplish any number of social objectives. A few years ago FIFA initiated its Football for Hope and Win in Africa for Africa campaigns. Both involve using the power of football to address various social or development issues. Part of the Football for Hope programme involves another project called 20 centres for 2010. One of the centres will be built here in Lesotho through an organization called Kick 4 Life.

Similar to my posts on Poverty Porn and donating equipment, there are positives and negatives that could be identified with the involvement of Fifa. Being involved with Fifa would be a huge boost for funding, exposure, and publicity. In addition, having large well known organizations supporting your cause can lend legitimacy and credibility to what you are doing, particularly for a relatively new field of work. On the other hand when I see Fifa claiming to represent or champion for the field of sport for development I cringe. Many sport for development organizations seek to provide opportunities to those who lack opportunities. Kick 4 Life targets orphaned and vulnerable children – particularly street children. Fifa, through their actions, have proven that they do not care about marginalized individuals, or people who lack opportunities. The previous World Cup in South Africa brought with it complaints of displaced peoples, suppression of rights, and crack downs on already marginalized groups: street vendors, the homeless, street children, minority groups.

Fifa cares about making money. They are basically a corporation, albeit a corrupt, nepotistic corporation without systems of transparency or accountability. The centres and funding that they are providing for sport for development organizations should be seen as a form of corporate social responsibility and nothing more. If you are running a healthy living campaign maybe you decide to accept some funding from McDonalds. That’s fine. I wouldn’t judge that decision – maybe I would a little bit actually. You put a little Golden Arches logo on the bottom corner of your posters, no harm done –actually maybe there is a little harm done. However, if McDonalds uses the opportunity to portray their organization as a beacon for the healthy lifestyles movement then I think things would need to be reassessed. If healthy living organizations submit to McDonalds’ self-selected position as a contributor to their movement then there is a risk that the movement itself will lose credibility. The same is true for sport for development. If we can consider sport for development a sector, or a field of work, or a movement, then to have FIFA and the IOC set themselves up as pillars within this sector is dangerous for the credibility of sport for development.


October 30, 2010



Sport-for-Development and Social Capital – Where’s my t-shirt?

From my previous posts I think it is obvious that, in my own mind, I am still trying to articulate how, or if, sport can be used to address various issues. I think that the predominant dogma within sport for development and peace (SDP) is focused on life skills and behaviour change.

(Image from Right to Play Website)

I have a hard time with these concepts. Trying to identify why people do what they do is already difficult, if not impossible, so I am slightly skeptical of organizations that believe their programmes can change behaviour.

As an alternative I am interested in a concept called social capital. I have been reading a book called ‘Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community’ by Robert Putnam, which focuses on social capital. Putnam describes it as the following:

Whereas physical capital refers to physical objects and human capital refers to the properties of individuals, social capital refers to connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them.

I may be accused of being a hypocrite as I am dismissing one debatable social theory for another debatable social theory. However, I see sport as having the potential to bring people together and form connections. Sports programmes, if organized appropriately, can provide safe social spaces for people to bond. According to Putnam these social connections will ultimately benefit society. Others within development are also aligned with this. The World Bank has stated that ‘social cohesion is critical for societies to prosper economically and for development to be sustained.’ However, similar to behaviour change, it is difficult to prove if sport can contribute positively to building social capital.

Until recently I did feel that SDP could play a role in building or maintaining social cohesion. I still believe that sport can accomplish this, but I fear that many SDP projects may actually hinder this process. The distinction that I should make clear is that when I say ‘sport’, I am referring to the common conception of locally developed community-based sports structures. By SDP, I am referring to external organizations, such as Right to Play, that target specific groups, offer resources and support, and possibly implement programmes.

Social capital requires interpersonal trust and reciprocity. It is difficult for externally driven SDP programmes to accomplish this. If anything, programmes risk creating resentment and suspicions. A recent conversation with one of the coaches I am working with highlighted the challenge. The conversation took place at a youth tournament. The coach was watching the matches, but I had anticipated that his team would be participating. He informed me that his team had collapsed and he was in the process of finding more players. I asked him what happened to his team and he explained that the problem was the result of an earlier tournament we hosted.

In July we held a small event to celebrate the World Cup. As with most events here, we had planned on distributing t-shirts to participants. As an aside, I should just say that the t-shirt culture connected to events is interesting. As an example, the English Football Association hosted a workshop here in July. They did not give out any shirts. The participants did not react well and blamed the Lesotho Football Association for taking the shirts. It became a major issue at the workshop and escalated to the point where the Lesotho Times reported on it. Anyways, through a combination of my poor planning and the last-minute involvement of a number of teams we did not have enough t-shirts for everyone at the July event. As a result we decided that the shirts would be divided up equally and given to the teams; after which, the coaches and their players would decide what to do with the shirts. The coach I am referring to decided to use the shirts to reward those players who had been the most committed and were attending sessions on a regular basis. This rationale didn’t seem to placate the parents of the children who did not receive any shirts. The parents pulled their children off of the team. They accused the coach of using the team as a means to attend these events and benefit personally. Even some of the children who did receive shirts were pulled from the team as parents believed that at the next event maybe their child will be the one who does not receive anything. I think that the collapse of the team may have also involved some other issues, but our involvement contributed to the mistrust that resulted in the team dissolving.

The fact is, SDP programmes introduce resources and opportunities into communities that may lack both. When I meet people and explain what I am doing many people will ask if they can be involved; even if they have never been involved in football and are not interested in sport they still want to participate. It is seen as an opportunity. They might receive a certificate that they can mention on their resume, they might believe that the project will expand to include jobs for which they can apply, or there might be some other way they can leverage their involvement. The problem that results is that everyone wants to participate, so in the process of including and excluding people you are creating ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. This may actually foster resentment within the community.

This situation is exacerbated through the process in which SDP programmes target specific groups. Because of the size of NGOs, as well as the requirements of donors, many projects will have a narrow focus. This narrow focus is also encouraged by funding organizations and is supported by individual donor behaviour. A programme that targets orphaned and vulnerable children, children with disabilities, former child soldiers, children living on the street, or girls is more likely to get funding. This narrow focus, with particular attention to marginalized groups may be derived from our own (Western) drive for inclusion and providing marginalized groups with access to services. It is not my intention to argue against providing services to traditionally excluded groups. However, I wonder why it is necessary to target specific marginalized groups with services that are lacking for nearly everyone. Why would an organization introduce a sports programme targeting street children when almost all children lack access to similar programmes? There may be a social agenda tied to targeting the specific group, but again, this process will exclude people and create ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Will this have a positive impact on social cohesion?

In saying that I still believe sport can contribute to social capital I am referring to locally conceived, developed, and implemented programmes. If international SDP programmes want to have a positive impact I believe their mission should focus on supporting locally developed programmes and sporting structures.

Oa Hao Lipapaling (Yours in Sports)

September 25, 2010

Oa Hao Lipapaling – Yours in Sport

One of the coaches I am working with came into the office yesterday and asked if I could help him draft a letter of invitation for a tournament he is organizing. Formal letters of invitations are a fairly common occurrence here and I still haven’t developed the literary skills to pull off such a letter, so I suggested the coach write a draft of the letter in Sesotho and then I would print it out on my computer.

He took a couple of minutes to write the invitation and then passed it over to me. My Sesotho still isn’t that great so as I was typing it up I would only pick up the occasional word or phrase. At the end of the letter, where you have the complimentary close – such as ‘sincerely yours’ (I actually had to do a google search to find the appropriate term for this) the coach had written ‘Oa Hao Lipapaling’. I recognized this pretty quickly as meaning ‘Yours in Sport’. I am not sure if this is a common way to close a letter in other parts of the world, but it resonated with me immediately because of a book I recently read during the World Cup.

While I was travelling around South Africa for the World Cup I used the time to stock up on some books. Fittingly, I ended up purchasing a number of books relating to soccer in Africa. I read two during the World Cup – ‘Feet of the Chameleon’ and ‘Football United’.

Both were quite good. The chapters covered a variety of stories relating to soccer in different African countries. Another book that I bought, but didn’t read until I returned to Lesotho was called ‘More than Just a Game’. It told the story of how the prisoners on Robben Island – the prison that was used during apartheid to hold political prisoners – organized and ran their own soccer league for a number of years. It detailed the struggle that they had to go through to have the ability to play and then how the league itself became a political tool for the prisoners in their negotiations for better living conditions.

The league was very well organized and incredibly formal. The author theorized that the inmates were governing their soccer league the way they expected their country to be governed. All correspondence had to be done through written means, which wasn’t easy since paper was difficult to access. At the end of each letter the sender would finish with the complimentary close ‘Yours in Sport’. Before reading this book I had never come across this expression, but when I read the Sesotho version of it I couldn’t help but smile.

Oa Hao Lipapaling

September 9, 2010

Problem of Proximity – Outsiders and Social Change

The work that I am doing now means that I am cast as the outsider. Through the blogs that I read I recently came across an excellent analysis of being an outsider in international work (click here). In the post itself the author briefly mentions the possibility of local knowledge containing biases. Even before I read that post I was writing my own reflections on being an outsider and questioning the impact of outsiders on social change. In some of my meetings in Lesotho I am often confronted with local experience as rationale for supporting or criticizing an initiative – I don’t mean to imply that this is either all good or all bad. Sometimes this local knowledge is relevant and necessary, but at other times it has come across as biased or fatalistic. I have wondered if proximity to a problem develops this bias.

In 2007 I was able to travel to Tibet while I was living in China. I was there for about a month. What confuses me to this day is how issues around Tibetan-Chinese relations are such a popular cause – I suppose the Dalai Lama and Richard Gere had something to do with it. I guess I was expecting some serious repression by the Chinese, but the amount of cultural and religious practices that seemed to be preserved surprised me. I am not sure how the comparison came into my head and it may be completely inappropriate, but while I was in Tibet I started to think about the situation of First Nations people in Canada (Native Canadians/ Americans). To me, it seems that the Tibetans have been able to retain their cultural and religious practices to the same extent or even more so than First Nations in Canada – This judgement may be slightly biased because I was a tourist in Tibet and may have been exposed to more culturally relevant experiences.

I understand that it is asinine to discuss which of two oppressed groups is ‘better off’. I think this would be about as effective as a school yard argument about whose dad would win in a fight or which super hero is stronger. I am just interested in how people perceive social problems that occur within their society and within external societies.

I believe that many Canadians dismiss issues involving the First Nation population as problems that can be attributed to the First Nations themselves. These same Canadians may decry what the Chinese government has done to the Tibetans and take on Tibetan independence as a social cause.

People may be incredibly interested in issues relating to global poverty, but at the same time dismiss the homeless man situated on the street corner outside their apartment as a drug addict, or alcoholic, who is responsible for his own problems. I think I could be included as an example as well. I am currently working internationally, but I haven’t been as interested in working with similar issues in my own community.

Is it easier to join a cause that addresses an external social problem so that it is simpler to rationalize away your responsibility for, or involvement in, that social problem? If I identify local issues as societal problems then I am being critical of the society that I live in, participate in, and contribute to. Unless I am hypocritical or delusional I would need to examine my role in that society and how I may be contributing to those social problems. However, if I take up an external cause I don’t have to waste my time with any of that introspection and reflection.

If people are less likely to identify problems as societal problems then is an outside perspective necessary?I am not trying to justify or rationalize my involvement in international work, but am also referring to outside influences such as media, education, or travel

September 7, 2010

Being a Sports Missionary

Since my last post was about religion I thought I would continue the thread by talking about my role as a sports missionary.

I remember reading an article a while back that described the pre-departure training of a group of sport-for-development interns. The article may have been in an academic journal, or on a blog, or on a website, but I haven’t been able to find it again. It is possible that I have imagined it and am now using it to frame my blog post. Anyways, the article described in passing a brief exchange that occurred during the pre-departure training that I felt was interesting. During the training one of the interns described their future role as being equivalent to a missionary, but instead of spreading religion they were spreading sport. The others vehemently disagreed with this description and the intern embarrassingly recanted his statement. I can’t remember the details of the exchange, but I believe the reason that his suggestion was looked down upon was because of the negative reaction that some people may have towards missionaries and the belief that they are imposing a set of values/beliefs on people. However, if that intern was a little more stubborn I think he could have put forward a pretty good argument that we are in fact sport missionaries.

Bruce Kidd, a Canadian academic, has an often cited quote which is related to this line of thinking:

Whereas the best community development is ‘needs – and asset-based’, i.e. premised on the expressed needs and available resources of the local population, articulated during a careful, consultative joint planning process, much of SDP (sport for development and peace) is donor-defined, planned and conducted with missionary zeal. Sadly, the single-minded purpose and confidence that sport instills in champions, a commendable attribute when transferred to many other settings, militates against inter-cultural sensitivity and needs-based programming in development. There is a fear that SDP simply imposes the values of first-world middle class on the disadvantaged of LMICs(Low and Middle Income Coutnries)…

Professor Kidd is discussing the process of planning and delivering programmes, but I think that the entire concept of sport-for-development should be examined. I think the driving force behind many sport-for-development projects is the belief that sport can teach certain life skills and impart certain values on participants as well as improving things like self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-efficacy. We go out in the world preaching these benefits. We go into communities, holding a soccer ball like a sacred idol, clutching our coaching manuals like bibles, and attempt to spread this utopian version of sport that we have conceived.

I have only been in Lesotho for a short time, so my experience is limited, but I am not sure if this belief is replicated in local communities. Most everyone I talk with in Mafeteng about the benefits of sport will point to sport acting as a diversion; time spent playing sports means time not used for drinking, using drugs, or having sex. I haven’t had one person mention life-skills, values, self-esteem, self-confidence, or self-efficacy unless they are volunteers working in sport-for-development, but I suppose these people would be equivalent to the religiously converted. Sport is a universal endeavor. Everyone plays. But are these values that we associate with sport universal or are we exporting our vision of sport?

I suppose that it could be argued that any international, or inter-cultural, programme is imposing a set of values on people. Even if a project is claiming to be participatory it is still imposing certain ideals.

I am interested in this type of work because I believe sport had a positive impact on me and I believe it can have a positive impact on others. However, I have no idea what aspect of my youth sport involvement resulted in my personal development. Was it being exposed to strong role models? Was it peer recognition? Was it having access to volunteer and employment opportunities through refereeing and coaching? Was it through various community interactions such as fundraising, being included in the local newspaper, receiving recognition from friends’ parents, teachers, and other adults? Was it through the process of being committed to a team and setting and achieving goals as a group? Was it the result of being involved in regular competition and learning how to deal with winning and losing? I could go on. The point I am trying to make is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to identify what aspect of sport benefitted me. It becomes even more difficult because what was a positive experience for me may have been a negative experience for one of my friends. It becomes even more difficult when you try to identify what benefited me and then transplant that into a different culture.

So, what’s my point?

I suppose that my feeling is that if we believe that sport can be beneficial should our efforts not be put towards simply building youth sport structures. Why do we have to design and frame programmes based on a definition of sport that we have created? Maybe it comes back to what Professor Kidd mentioned about sport-for-development being donor-driven, but I would like to see more programmes that simply help local communities access funds for infrastructure, equipment, and develop youth sporting structures: associations, leagues, clubs, etc. If there are values to be learned through sport and life skills to be taught, why can we not leave that for the communities to decide?

August 30

Donating sports equipment to Africa

Similar to my poverty porn post, this blog post will be rehashing a fairly common theme that comes up in the development sector and the development blogosphere: donations-in-kind and the Buy One Give One concept. Donations-in-kind refer to donating goods such as clothing, shoes, food, etc, instead of giving cash. I believe this practice is fairly common in the sport for development field. Through various friends and newspaper articles I have come across a number of examples. The most common one I have encountered is volunteers for a programme called Hoops 4 Hope shipping containers of equipment to Africa (click here for one example).

Within the development sector this is heavily frowned upon. To read about the arguments I would recommend visiting the Good Intentions are Not Enough blog. The author has written extensively on the issue. She has even written a post specifically referencing the donating of sports equipment (click here). I would also recommend doing a google search on onemilliontshirts. Or check out the Good Intentions post here. The discussion/ debate/demolition of the onemilliontshirts idea serves as a good summation regarding the feelings towards donated goods and as development drama goes it was fairly entertaining.

I actually started writing this post a couple of weeks ago and I was going to use this logic to denounce donating sports equipment. However, after a couple of weeks of thinking on it, I am instead going to try and argue both sides.

There are many arguments against donating goods, but the main ones that are relevant to sports equipment relate to the economic impact and the relevance of the donated goods. Shipping a container of equipment that will be given away for free can suffocate local businesses selling similar products, or deter businesses from ever being started. Additionally, the cost of shipping containers to Africa can be enormous. For the cost of shipping equipment you could, in many cases, purchase new equipment locally. There is also a risk that the equipment might not be suitable for local conditions. Would it be helpful to donate a container full of football boots suitable for playing on grass in damp northern climates when local fields are a mixture of hard packed dirt – almost as hard as concrete – and occasional patches of grass?

All this makes perfect sense. The argument can be strengthened further with an example from my work in Lesotho. One of my volunteer coaches is currently not employed. He would like to set up a business in Lesotho to sell sports equipment. Currently, there is one small sports store in Maseru, but most people who need sports equipment will cross the border and purchase what they need in South Africa. It would appear that there is a need in Lesotho for a store that can supply sports equipment. Would this business be successful? If I had to wager on my friend’s success I would place a cynical bet against him. The reason can be illustrated with two social enterprises that I came across during the World Cup: One World Futbol (All things aside I would recommend checking this out. They market their product as the most durable football in the world. It is made out of foam, never requires inflating,and cannot be punctured. It is also produced in Canada. Good for the Canadian economy, but maybe not so much for the economies of the communities where the balls will be donated) and Kick4Change. Both organizations operate on a Buy One Give One (BOGO) model. Part of the profits from your purchases will be used to send equipment to disadvantaged groups. To coincide with the World Cup, Kick4Change has implemented a Pledge my Seat campaign that aims to send large numbers of football boots to Africa. So, getting back to my friend, how successful would his sporting goods shop be if One World Futbol and Kick4Change dumped thousands of free footballs and boots into Lesotho. He would obviously struggle. In fact it would not make a lot of sense for him to even start the business. Another article that talks about the Buy One Give One philanthropy hurting African business can be read here.

The arguments make sense. For the most part I agree with them. They are hard to argue against. However, the problem I have is that there is often a knee jerk reaction to even the mere suggestion of shipping in equipment from an external source. Usually, this reaction limits discussion. I believe that debate is always good, so I will try to bring up a couple of points of exception.

An article I read that got me thinking more about this topic was written by Elizabeth Pisani. She is an epidemiologist who has worked with UNAIDS and has been involved in the HIV/AIDS sector for a while. Recently I read her book called ‘Wisdom of Whores’ and as a result of that I started to follow her blog by the same title. Her most recent article talks about the conflict between scientific evidence and political evidence. She argues that you cannot look to scientific evidence in isolation to impact policy. In her field, HIV/AIDS, evidence points to the effectiveness of offering services to injection drug users in dealing with the epidemic. The problem is that the evidence of politics demonstrates that politicians will not support these programmes because helping junkies does not go over well with the general electorate. I think the same conflict occurs in a lot of situations; a conflict between what you should do in theory and what actually works in reality.

A similar conflict occurs in the donation of goods. I would label this economic logic versus donor logic. I am avoiding the term evidence because as far as I know there are no scientific studies relating to the economic impact of donating sporting goods on developing economies. Also, some argue that treating the field of economics as a science is a bit of a stretch. We can ask a similar question that Pisani alludes to in her post: is it constructive to look at the donation of goods from an isolated idealism? Is it constructive for people to condemn the donation of equipment as poor practice without considering donor behavior? Looking at donor behaviour, are people likely to donate cash for an organization to buy equipment locally, or would they prefer to donate goods, or participate in a BOGO offer? I believe that if a programme were to refuse donated goods and instead ask for cash to buy equipment locally that they may struggle. They may end up diverting resources and time away from their programmes and towards educating the donors. Ultimately, you may end up in a situation where you are taking the right stance, but the beneficiaries of your project suffer because you lack the resources to implement your programmes. Instead of dismissing all forms of donated goods as evil based on economic logic, would it not make more sense to engage with the donating organizations and hope to create change over time?

If an organization in Lesotho partners with social enterprises such as One World Futbol or Kick4Change then they may receive free publicity, increase their exposure, and possibly attract more funding. With more funding they can expand programmes, hire more local staff, offer stipends to volunteers, and contribute more money to the local economy. Would these economic inputs offset putting my friend out of business? Would the economic impact of a strengthened local programme be more significant then helping a single businessman sell sporting equipment? This argument could also be extended to donation campaigns. As volunteers canvas their community in search of donations they are publicizing and promoting organizations. This promotion could lead to increased funding and strengthening programmes.

Additionally engaging with social enterprise presents opportunities to expand to local markets in the future. I sent a couple of emails to Kick4Change to find out where their equipment is manufactured. I received a reply from one of their founders who was very open and approachable. He mentioned that their ultimate goal is to move towards local manufacturing, so that the sports equipment they provide to disadvantaged groups in Africa is manufactured locally. For an example, an organization already doing this is Alive and Kicking. They have stitching centres in Kenya and Zambia. They produce footballs locally and provide jobs for people in their programmes. If these social enterprises are engaged with and supported, regardless of where their equipment is initially coming from, then over time local economic opportunities can be created. If these organizations are immediately dismissed because they are perceived to be doing damage to the local economy then future opportunities may be missed.

July 24, 2010