I’ve written before about TOMS Shoes, and how their business model of donating shoes if you buy shoes really doesn’t solve anything. TOMS Shoes even sponsors their “Day Without Shoes” to promote it all.
Well, here’s an article that goes even further calling out TOMS Shoes.
The article is “Is Giving Always Good?”, and it really excoriates the whole “Buy One Give One” concept. Highlighted is Saundra Schimmelpfennig, who started the organization Good Intentions Are Not Enough.
Here’s what she says about giving shoes:
There is a huge problem with aid creating dependency. Depending on how aid is done, it can either help people meet their own needs or it can hinder them from meeting their own needs.
It’s important to always think critically about whether the program you’re looking at funding would solve the fundamental problem. For instance, the root cause of ‘shoelessness’ is not a lack of shoes, but a lack of money to buy shoes, or a culture that does not consider shoe-wearing to be important. Creating jobs helps address one of the root problems. Handing out shoes does not address either problem.
One of the things her organization does is sponsor “A Day Without Dignity”, which occurs around the same day as TOMS Day Without Shoes, but “A Day Without Dignity” highlights just how nefarious the TOMS model is.
There is even a video:
What I really liked was the list, on this page, of a whole slew of articles of criticisms.
Here are just a few:
- TOMS: A Discussion on Bad Aid – A Personal Diaspora – Lays out a detailed argument against handing out shoes and provides alternative ways to help.
- a day without dignity: shoes in karamoja, uganda – kiss the joy as it flies – Discusses interviews with 13 schools as to their needs. None of them said shoes.
- A Day Without Dignity – Wanderings – “So that is why today is a Day Without Dignity – a speaking out against the consumer driven objectification of TOMS ad campaign which deprives people of their dignity. It is the counter-campaign to TOMS.”
- One Day Without Shoes – One Day without Sense . . . – Diary of an African Entrepreneur – Takes Arianna Huffington and TOMS to task for the amount they spent on the advertising campaign.
The whole list is worth looking at.
[H/T Matt Koteles]