Mt. Elgon Road Race Sets the Pace for Environmental Awareness

Nature is life and it is our duty to safeguard it. Over the last two decades, Chepkitale Indigenous People Development Project (CIPDP) has taken the responsibility of supporting efforts aimed at preserving Mt Elgon Region’s biodiversity. The commitment has seen close working partnerships with various organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, to implement projects and activities that engage the entire community in biodiversity conservation efforts. Key successful outcomes have been achieved through community advocacy meetings. Efforts for the coming years are geared to reach out to the youthful population who have little experience on indigenous knowledge.

International Mountain Day, marked on 11th December each year, was an opportunity for CIPDP and other partners to bring together communities living around Mt. Elgon region.

CIPDP With support from IKI Transformative Pathways and Synchronicity Earth, organized an event titled “Mt. Elgon Road Race” themed “Mountain ecosystem restoration through sports talent development” to mark World Mountain Day 2023.

The race, in which 435 athletes participated, drew thousands of spectators from the local community. You can find the results here.

Tulwoob Kony Radio, which has audience of over 100,000 daily listenership, mobilized listeners in local language to register and participate in the event and raised awareness on the importance of restoring the ecosystem. Other participants from outside the region learnt about the event through social media platforms.

The race entailed various categories for both men and women, including 10km, 5km, 2 km Fun Run and short field run for Children. 

Officials from Athletics Kenya (AK), a governing body for the sport of athletics, were involved in both organizing and execution of the event. Mr. Shem Ominde, the Bungoma County AK Chairman, in one of the planning meetings advised that “Safety of the athletes” is always given priority when organizing such events. Anti-doping agency of Kenya (ADAK) pitched a tent at the finishing point to raise awareness and ensure doping free race.

The event was graced with presence of the Deputy Governor of Bungoma County H.E  Jennipher Mbatiany, who flagged off  the 10 km race, together with area Deputy County Commissioner and 2 Members of County Assembly.  

The Deputy Governor, who comes from the local community acknowledged the event organizers stating, “We recognize and appreciate what CIPDP is doing for our community.” The leaders commended the initiative and urged everyone to play their part in environmental conservation.

Beyond fostering unity, the race served as a platform to raise awareness about the challenges faced by mountain forest communities and the actions needed to mitigate the effects of climate change. Mount Elgon, being one of Kenya’s water towers, requires focused environmental conservation efforts against soil erosion, deforestation and degradation.

The race is slated to become an annual event in Mount Elgon and its surrounding regions. Mr. Davis Kiboi, AK official from Mt. Elgon Sub County, expressed, “Athletics is nonpartisan; it welcomes all people. In the future, we will have individuals from different parts of the world camping here to practice for short and long races”.

We plan to continue inviting partners and sponsors to make future races even bigger and competitive, thereby amplifying our message of conservation far and wide.

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