The Dust of Africa will never leave the soles of your feet – African Proverb
During Executive Director and founder Nate Kaunley’s first trip to Kenya he heard an African proverb that he found true in his own short time in East Africa.
Nate couldn’t shake the friendships, encounters, passions -the dust- of East Africa, so he chose to embrace it and named the organization Dusty Feet.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
The preamble of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) declares that every individual and institution within society is responsible to work towards the securing of universal rights for all. The UNDHR provides a framework with which Dusty Feet productively interacts with two distinct sectors: policy makers who control the allocation of resources and draft government standards and economic forces on the national, international and transnational levels who contribute positively and negatively to developing societies. Utilizing the common language of the UNDHR was enormously beneficial for Dusty Feet as we prepared our foundational documents. It continues to help us as we publicly communicate our mission, implement our programs and evaluate our effectiveness.
“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
“Everyone has the right to work, of free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. Everyone, without any discrimination has the right to equal pay for equal work. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.”
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
“In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order, and the general welfare in a democratic society.”
A Brief History
The Dusty Feet story began in 2006 when a friendship formed between a group of three young Americans and two young Kenyan leaders. Surrounded by the beauty and heartbreak in East Africa, these friends devoted their lives to combating human trafficking and stimulating economic development in the slums of Nairobi.
Deriving methodology from both scholarly and practical sources, the youthful Dusty Feet team was determined to develop an appropriately complex solution to stubborn problems in slums. Influenced by the writings of Amartya Sen, the Dusty Feet founders conducted eight months of on-the-ground research in the slums of Nairobi. Those months were spent conducting first-person interviews with hundreds of community members as well as visiting dozens of organizations working in the slums — some doing great work; and others, in our opinion, doing more harm than good.
The Dusty Feet Team was initially focused on improving the situation of children living on the streets of Nairobi, but during the course of our research the issue of human trafficking kept surfacing. It became apparent that human trafficking in Nairobi was a problem not being addressed by other organizations working in the slums. Hearing stories of children being sold or abducted and having their organs harvested to be sold on the black market deeply disturbed us. From that point forward, the fight against human trafficking became our greatest passion.
Along with our research on human trafficking, it became increasingly clear that instead of relying on outside donors, government officials and international organizations, struggling communities had the power to fund the programs on which they rely — hence the creation of Echo Alliance. Echo Alliance is the umbrella organization for local businesses that financially support the social initiatives of Dusty Feet. By diversifying our support base, Dusty Feet fosters sustainable growth so our efforts against human trafficking can eventually run independently of outside support.
When faced with difficult decisions, Dusty Feet regularly returns to our mission statement and core values. These values directly inform our actions when we might otherwise be swayed to take an easier or different path altogether.
Traditional aid is insufficient in its ability to end poverty and the ills that result from it. We believe that aid in its traditional form fosters dependency without providing sufficient opportunity to advance one’s own situation. In fact, local economies are often stifled by well-intentioned donations. While handing out food, clothes and money to individuals seen as “less fortunate” does meet immediate needs, it neglects to foster relationships. We at Dusty Feet believe that restored relationships between individuals in a community and between individuals and their government is the most effective solution in combating poverty.
Our partners provide us with accountability and vigor for our work. By being willing to volunteer our time and occasional resources we have postured ourselves as neutral and effective proponents of positive change. We truly believe that by joining together we can accomplish what none of us can do alone.
Combating corruption has its sinkholes and wrong turns which we avoid at all costs. By maintaining healthy accountability structures and partnerships, we keep ourselves constantly in check. If you have questions about Dusty Feet, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Educate + Protect + Advocate
Rationale of our programs
|Dusty Feet economic and social initiatives seek to empower through education, protection and advocacy. We strive to be research driven, results based and intentional with our actions.
CURRICULUM DISTRIBUTION AND POLICE EDUCATION
Along our journey we often find ourselves asking, “Why? Why are people being trafficked?!” One answer is that people do not know they are entering into a dangerous situation. Motivated to educate our community, we began researching ways to educate people about human trafficking. In 2012, we developed the Dusty Feet Human Trafficking Prevention Curriculum that is taught at schools, concerts and free conferences for the unemployed in Kenya. Knowing the signs of human trafficking and methods to discern if an employer is legitimate is the focus of our curriculum against human trafficking. Each year we place resources into tens of thousands of hands to help people protect themselves, educate their communities and report illegal activity.SAFE HOUSE
The evolution of our community center, located in Mathare Valley, began with the need to directly intervene and provide a place for vulnerable people to to find refuge from dangerous situations. At night, the Dusty Feet Safe House provides homeless women and children, both of whom are at risk, a place to get off the streets so they can avoid exploitation or abuse. As the day bustles, so does the center. Women come for vocational and life-skills training. The center will also host community meetings which will bring local leaders and community members together to discuss problems and formulate plans of action. At the safe house, people can find refuge, value and hope.EAST AFRICA PARTNERSHIP AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING
As a single organization, Dusty Feet is limited in our resources and reach of our staff, interns and champions. To address these limitations, we have created the East African Partnership Against Human Trafficking (E.A.P.A.H.T.), which gathers community leaders and organizations from around the country in an informal partnership that serves to formulate a comprehensive plan of action against human trafficking. Members of the E.A.P.A.H.T. believe that they can accomplish more than they can alone -even if it’s just being aware of what each other are doing. If you are interested in joining the E.A.P.A.H.T., contact us at email@example.com.
LOBBYING AND RIGHTS EDUCATION
Crowdmap is an interactive reporting system that allows anyone with a mobile phone in Kenya to report human trafficking. Kenyans are reliant on their mobile phones for financial transfers, general Internet usage and frequent communication. By utilizing this simple mobile technology, Dusty Feet is operating a mobile human trafficking reporting network that eliminates barriers between victims and the authorities. To see our Crowdmap, click HERE.
Crowdmap also helps local authorities visualize hotspots of human trafficking in neighborhoods where police presence is sparse if it exists at all.
Dusty Feet is proud to partner with so many of you to ignite change. Your financial support funnels through the organization in various ways. By having profits from our businesses, donations and grants pouring into our organization, we are tackling the ever-present issue of funding from all fronts. To help you visualize how funds move through our organization, see the flowchart below.