Nairobi, 21 February 2011 - Edward Norton, UN Goodwill Ambassador and actor, today flagged off 11 cyclists from the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi. The riders are embarking on a transformative journey to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania that will highlight the role of youth in sustainable development.
The ride is the first leg of a three-week campaign by globalbike and the Kilimanjaro Initiative (KI) to bring to light the transformative power of bikes, and the important role that sports can play in promoting sustainable, healthy, and safe communities. Activities as part of this campaign include a giveaway of 114 bicycles to youth and youth mentors in Kenya and Tanzania, a 400-kilometer bike ride from Kenya to Tanzania which ends with an ascent to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Mr. Norton presented two locally-sourced bikes to members of local community groups at today's flag-off. Along the bike route 11 members from both organizations will camp in villages where they will distribute bikes to local youth. "We have seen through our projects and events in the United States, Africa and South America how bikes can give support and momentum to a person's life. It is as enriching for them as it is enriching for us," said Curt McPhail, the co-founder of globalbike, inc. "KI is an organization that feels the same way about youth and sport and we are very excited about the synergy we are developing together."
After the bike ride, the cyclists will be joined by 25 climbers - 10 of whom are youth from Kenya and Tanzania, who will also receive bikes - and together they will make their way by foot to the "rooftop of Africa" at 5,895 meters. "Many of the youth groups KI works with in the slums of Nairobi, have the environment as a main focus of their activities. Disenfranchised youth use garbage-collection and recycling as a form of income-generation," said Tim Challen, founder of KI.
"These young women and men epitomize the word 'hope' in an environment that appears unpromising. The theme of this year's climb, and the events that surround it, draw inspiration from their daily struggles, finding ways to support the aspirations of youth and to help raise awareness about the need for all of us to take care of our environment, communities and each other," he added.
KI and globalbike have organized substantive activities and workshops throughout the trip in partnership with private and public partners, at an international and local level. Recognizing the important contribution that is being made by civil society players, such as KI and globalbike, Hein Verbruggen, President of SportAccord, the umbrella organization for all international sports federations and the former president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), has added his support as well.
"By using sport to raise awareness and mobilize local Kenyan and Tanzanian communities around the importance of environmental protection and sustainability, we are also introducing the international sports community to enhanced opportunities to expand the practice of their sports. The 2011 initiative is beyond pure sports development, it is community development through sports that can, in turn, change lives," said Mr. Verbruggen
The Kilimanjaro Initiative 2011 campaign website is at www.rideclimbtransform.org. The site includes additional information about the trip, as well as an ongoing trip blog and follow-along map.
As the UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity, Mr. Norton later opened the 26th Session of the UNEP Governing Council/ Global Ministerial Environment Forum, where 140 environment ministers are gathering for four days in Nairobi, to guide UNEP in its work in addressing the world's pressing environmental challenges.
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Sheila Muhoro, KI Manager, +254 20 2712340/1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Curt McPhail, President and Director of Global Partnerships, globalbike, inc., +1 8646809464, email@example.com
Mr. Satinder Bindra, Director, UNEP, Division of Communications and Public Information, +254 207623292, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Kilimanjaro Initiative
KI, a Kenyan-based non-profit NGO, was founded in 2005 by Tim Challen, a British citizen who works for the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU), after he was shot during an armed robbery at his rented accommodation in Nairobi. Mr. Challen felt that he could either return home to Switzerland and attempt to forget about the traumatic experience or try to understand the social issues that may lead at-risk youth into criminal activities. He returned to the place where he was attacked, with the objective to encourage youth to have self-belief and to help provide opportunities that will enable young women and men to take on constructive roles in their communities. Since 2006, KI has brought more than 150 individuals, including youth from disenfranchised communities, world-class athletes, musicians, and representatives of the private and public sectors to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at 5,895m. As well as raising awareness about issues that affect young women and men, KI supports youth enterprise schemes in East Africa and has upgraded a sports field in Kibera, Nairobi. More information at: www.kilimanjaroinitiative.or.ke
About globalbike, inc.
globalbike, inc. is a US-based non-profit NGO that emphasizes the need for sustainable transport and development, by focusing on the transformative power of bikes to create positive social change. globalbike will distribute over 114 bikes and carts to youth groups in Kenya and Tanzania before, during and after the ride and climb. globalbike has over 12 project sites in 7 countries throughout Africa and South America. More information at: www.globalbike.org
About the Ride
As a curtain raiser for the bike ride to Mount Kilimanjaro, globalbike and KI will hand-out 68 bikes to youth groups and NGOs in Nairobi. An additional 46 bikes will be donated to youth groups and NGOs in Kenya and Tanzania during the campaign. Carts, made out of recycled material, will also be distributed to help youth groups with their income generating activities. As the group rides from village to village, KI and globalbike will lead activities and workshops emphasizing the importance of environmental protection and sustainability within local communities in both Kenya and Tanzania. The activities include tree planting (as a way of offsetting the events' carbon footprint), educational instruction regarding water and sanitation access, promotion of sustainable transportation, and demonstrating that sustainable innovation and practice makes good business sense. In Tanzania, KI and globalbike cyclists will be joined by members of the Arusha Cycling Team, who have organized in their home city a large roadside cleanup activity with local schools and businesses.
When: 21-26 February 2011
Who: Tim Challen, Sonia Cruickshank, Sadique Bilal and Philip Martindale of KI; Jean Crow Crowther, Kelly Lowry, Curt McPhail, Carroll Foster and Joe Crowther of globalbike, inc.; and Simon Bennett and Josh Whitmore, two professional cyclists on Team Globalbike.
About the Climb
In Marangu, Tanzania, as a continuation of the efforts made to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable development, the cyclists will meet up with 25 climbers, including 10 young women and men from disenfranchised communities in Kenya and Tanzania, and representatives of the private and public sector. One of the climbers will be Pavan Sukhdev, Head of the United Nations Environment Program's Green Economy Initiative and Study Leader of the G8+5 commissioned report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity. With 2011 declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Forests and with the Rio+20 Conference on the horizon, this year's KI ascent aims to raise awareness of the need to ensure the sustainable management, conservation and development of the local environment for the benefit of current and future generations.
When: 28 February-4 March 2011
Who: 36 climbers including 10 youth, 26 Representatives of the Public and Private Sector. The climbers will be accompanied by 17 Guides, 2 Cooks and up to 55 Porters.
The Supporting Partners
Arusha Cycling Club, Basecamp, Beyond Sport, Bonk Breakers, Catoma Adventure Shelters, Contec, Cycle Land Limited, Diamond Brand, Duorop Cycle Farm, Int. Golf Club in Geneva, Kenya China Travel & Tours Ltd., private contributions, Sierra Designs, Singing for Change Foundation, The Spartanburg Day School, Trilium Assett Management, Vittoria Industries, UNFCU. Additional expertise provide by SportAccord, UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace, UNEP, UN-HABITAT, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, and York University.