Sandals Instead of Sponsorships: The Sseko Story

Behind the fair-trade company that’s helping educate women in Uganda.
Sandals Instead of Sponsorships: The Sseko Story
Image: Sseko Designs

Earlier this month, a Facebook friend posted about shopping for strappy spring sandals. Despite similar styles catching her eye at Old Navy and Madewell, she opted to pay more for a pair from Sseko Designs, a company that ensures workers a fair wage and supports college-bound women in East Africa. “I guess I'll have to spend more so that my dollar does something more,” she said.

As Sseko founder and CEO Liz Forkin Bohannon sees it, one purchase or even one company isn’t going to do much to change the world, but social enterprises give shoppers like this one the option to spend in a way aligns with their values about women, work, and dignity.

“Just buying a pair of sandals, a meaningless thing you would have done anyway, has now become a tangible way to manifest a belief that you have about the world,” she said in an interview with Her.meneutics.

When Bohannon moved to Uganda in 2008, she quickly befriended women around her age—many of them in the “gap” ...

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