Run supports African projects

The Great Big Run for Africa hopes to raise $25,000 for Partners in the Horn of Africa

Runners from the Okanagan-Shuswap will be taking to the streets Oct. 27 to raise support for a local charity’s poverty fighting work in Ethiopia.

Now in its ninth year, the Great Big Run for Africa hopes to raise $25,000 for Partners in the Horn of Africa, as well as better awareness of the organization’s work among Okanagan-Shuswap residents.

A Great Big Run for Africa is a 100-kilometre relay from West Kelowna to the Partners’ office in Enderby. Last year, 30 runners raised $25,000 for microfinance programs helping Ethiopian women create viable small businesses.

“The idea was conceived in 2004 when a Kelowna woman travelled to Ethiopia to see first-hand the projects that Partners in the Horn of Africa was doing to fight poverty in Ethiopia,” said Christine Parsons, executive director of Partners in the Horn of Africa.

“One day, awoken in the early morning by the sound of hundreds of people running along the streets of Addis Ababa, she learned that many people in the country participate in races barefoot or in whatever shoes they own just for the love of running.”

Upon her return to Canada, she wanted to create a fundraiser that would incorporate running to support Partners’ projects.

In 2005, A Great Big Run for Africa was born when Stephanie Moore and Crystal Flaman, both runners and friends of Alison Moscrop, the Kelowna woman, suggested they would run 100 kilometres to raise awareness and funds for Ethiopia.

Now, nine years later, the run has raised more than $140,000 and has changed thousands of lives in Ethiopia through projects providing small business start-up financing and training, clean water supply, safe schools and quality education, and critical support to orphans and vulnerable children.

Partners in the Horn of Africa, now in its 12th year of operation, works with communities in remote areas of Ethiopia, focusing its work in areas of unmet need.

“Our projects respond to community requests, addressing needs for education, basic infrastructure, gender equality, food security, and sustainable livelihoods,” said Parsons.

“We draw our strength from the vision, support, and expertise of residents of the Okanagan-Shuswap and we welcome the opportunity to connect with individuals, community and service groups, and schools and businesses in our communities.

“With your support, we’ve now completed over 250 community-based projects.”

If you would like to run, or support a runner, contact run organizer Stephanie Moore at stephmoorepersonaltraining@telus.net.

If you would like to welcome the runners, visit Partners’ office at 900 Belvedere St. in Enderby at 5 p.m. Oct. 27.