Innovation That Matters

Africa-friendly DIY shoe can be made by the people that wear them

Nonprofit & Social Cause

The KLEM project helps those in Malawi use available local resources to create their own shoes following a simple design.

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Many people in the poor, rural areas of developing countries spend the majority of their time carrying out tasks that citizens of the West simply don’t need to. This means they don’t have the time to pursue their own work and instead rely heavily on aid and donated products. The KLEM project now aims to help those in Malawi use available local resources to create their own shoes following a simple design.

The idea is the brainchild of Lee Jinyoung, of the i-CLUE DESIGN group, who was inspired after visiting the country while working as a technology expert for SBS Hope TV in South Korea, according to designboom. He realized that communities did not have basic daily necessities because of the lack of an economy in some areas. Using a simple design that turns a piece of cloth and part of a recycled tire into a durable shoe that can withstand the terrain of the country, KLEM footwear can be built by anyone. The cloth is cut into shape and then wrapped around the foot. Once communities are taught how to make the shoes, they could use the products as a platform for their own businesses.

Similarly to PureMadi — the water filter made of clay, sawdust and water — KLEM enables those in economically-deprived area to put materials found in the local environment to good use. Are there other ways that good design can help poverty-stricken communities make the most of the available resources?



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