In response to increasing enquiries as to whether equitysport are able to facilitate or assist in kit donations to disadvantaged and under-served sporting communities in the Global South, we have made a statement outlining our position and current policy.
At equitysport we are committed to advancing equality, diversity and equal opportunity in and through global sport. This commitment sees us study and collaborate with partners all over the world on the most impactful, sustainable and relevant mechanisms to reduce inequality and promote equality of opportunity. Those we partner with and support on a local level are at the heart of the design, implementation and evaluation of our programmes and campaigns.
We appreciate that access to sporting apparel and footwear can be a barrier to entry for many of the communities that we work with across the Global South, and that kit donations are perceived by some to provide a "win-win" short-term solution.
Unlike in disaster or emergency relief, it is our position that kit donations in a sporting context are not a sustainable nor effective mechanism to tackle inequality, nor do they alleviate the barrier to access; they simply mask it, temporarily.
We believe that when conducted ad hoc, in isolation, and/or for a 'developing world' of a donors imagination, they actively entrench paternalistic power structures over under-served groups and communities, hold low-income regions in a perpetual state of dependence and distract from the root causes of inequality in sport and society.
Each shipment of donated second-hand apparel, footwear and basic sports equipment risks undermining fragile and fledgling local markets. In the past decade, the largest textile manufacturers in Malawi, Uganda and Mozambique have closed or are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. In Mali, one of the largest cotton producers in sub-Saharan Africa, the clothing industry is yet to make ground on international imports and in Zambia, garment industry workers have repeatedly performed strikes in protest over the importation of used and low-cost clothing from overseas.
Our policy is therefore to play no part in the organisation or facilitation of kit donations across the Global North - South divide. Instead we will continue to critically assess our own role in a wider unjust social order and our part in fuelling the disastrous environmental impact of the throwaway sporting apparel and footwear industry in the Global North. Furthermore, our focus will remain on programmes that provide long term solutions to inequality and barriers to access in sport over mechanisms of short term relief.
We believe that all stakeholders in and out of sport must look beyond public demonstrations of generosity that temporarily relieve the guilt of privilege and focus our collective energy on the difficult and complex process of tacking the structural inequities that exist within both the global sporting ecosystem and in wider society.
We encourage our supporters to support local apparel, footwear and equipment companies such as Enda (Kenya) and SportRise (Uganda), Lornah Sports (Kenya), or Impano Sports (Rwanda).
equitysport is a UK-registered charity (1189559) that exists to advance and promote equality, diversity and equal opportunity in and through global sport. Through free-form development, targeted advocacy, vocational training and education programmes the charity seeks an inclusive and equitable sporting ecosystem that lives up to the true values of sport.
Notes to Editors
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