Summer 2019 – Inside Outdoor Magazine

Inside Outdoor | SUMMER 2019 18 The Advocates W ith so much political attention right now on the humanitarian crisis at the United States’ southern bor- der, it’s easy to lose sight of the dif- ficult conditions that are forcing people to migrate north. One of the main con- tributing factors, of course, is extreme, prolonged poverty that is taking a sig- nificant toll on many local economies across Latin America. “Guatemala and Honduras have seen over 1 percent of their total population migrate to the U.S. in the first seven months of this fiscal year,” explained homeland security secre- tary Kevin McAleenan, back in May. “One department of Guatemala, Hue- huetenango, has seen almost 35,000 of its residents – close to 3 percent of the population – migrate to the U.S. in that time frame.” Guatemala is facing an especially difficult time right now. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, more than half of the Guatemalan popula- tion is now below the national poverty line, while 23 percent lives in extreme poverty. What’s more, the CIA con- tinues, poverty among indigenous groups – which make up more than 40 percent of the population – averages 79 percent. And roughly one- half of children under five years of age are chronically malnourished. A large portion of the country remains without ac- cess to resources like clean water and medical care. In many communities, basic health knowledge is scarce. Suffice to say, a little bit of help goes a long way in Guatemala – and the out- door industry is starting to act. GoLite, for instance, recently teamed up with nonprofit Medical Teams International to help provide rural communities with important public health resources. In Guatemala, GoLite’s team deliv- ered on-site support and materials to build critical water systems. Its crew helped build numerous structures, in- cluding sinks and latrines. The compa- ny also covered a portion of the build- ing material cost and donated uniforms for field staff. GoLite’s participation, it should be noted, comes on the heels of its 2018 donation of more than 14,000 uni- forms to Medical Teams International staff in Uganda. Retailers will remember GoLite as a former leading provider of lightweight tents, apparel and packs. The com- pany went bankrupt in 2014, closing about 20 domestic brick-and-mortar retail stores in the process. Now, GoLite is back – along with new owners, a new logo and a new area of focus. The company, which is now being funded by a Taiwanese hold- ing company, relaunched in 2018 with an earth-friendly activewear collection that the company calls “Outletics.” One thing that has stayed the same, as the above example proves, is GoLite’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility. When the company relaunched, it created a humanitarian program called GoAid, which has been working closely with Medical Teams International. “What’s left after we make our clothes is just the beginning for others,” the company said. “Our way of repur- posing fabric is empowering people to independently support their families. Utilizing the micro-enterprise model, we are working to help people create small, sustainable businesses by putting excess fabric into their hands. These materials enable communities to sew a future from what used to be waste. GoAid is not a handout, it’s a way up.” The company is also operating un- der its GeoResponsibility code of con- duct, which is a commitment to utilizing cutting-edge sustainable fibers, finish- es and manufacturing processes. More than 80 percent of GoLite’s Spring 2019 introductory GoLite product line, in fact, was developed from environ- mentally preferred, recycled and low- energy production materials. For the Spring 2020 line, these percentages have shot up to 92 percent. m By Gerald Baldino GoLite Lends a Hand in Guatemala GoLite helped build 27 toilets and many in-hut sinks in remote Guatemalan villages GoLite and Medical Teams International Guatemala staff