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Kilimanjaro Climb to raise Climate Change Awareness
25/ 02/ 2009

Kilimanjaro Climb to raise Climate Change Awareness Nairobi, 25 February 2009 - Youth from impoverished urban areas in Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana will join a climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness on climate change.

The climb, which kicks off on 28 February, is the fourth annual ascent to "rooftop of Africa" organized by the Kilimanjaro Initiative, a Nairobi-based Non-Governmental Organization, in partnership with the United Nations. This year, ten underprivileged youth will join 25 other people from the private and public sectors in a group led by Timothy Challen, the founder of the Kilimanjaro Initiative.

Timothy Challen founded the Kilimanjaro Initiative in 2005 after he was shot during an armed robbery in Nairobi, Kenya. Following extensive surgery and a long period of recovery back home in Switzerland, Tim returned to East Africa with a desire to help create a safer urban environment.

This year, the aim of the climb - under the banner of the UN's global UNite to Combat Climate Change campaign - is to raise awareness on the dangers linked to climate change by highlighting the need to protect our environment and the importance of providing greener, safer and better communities for all.

Rising temperatures, increased precipitation and extreme weather conditions will have a direct impact on where and how people live. Not only will the economic and public infrastructures of communities be affected, but urban centers may also be dangerously stretched in order to accommodate displaced populations. Consequently, social ills such as unemployment, lack of educational facilities, inadequate health care systems and criminal activities may increase in urban centers.

On 25 February 2009, the Kilimanjaro Initiative officially began its operations as a Kenyan-based International NGO with the support of an international network of committed partners including UN entities such as the UN Federal Credit Union (UNFCU), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) ? as well as civil society organizations including the NGO 'Play Soccer'.

Since 2006 the Kilimanjaro Initiative has brought close to 100 people to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, including young people, athletes, musicians and members of the private and public sectors. The Initiative's main objective is to encourage young people to have self-belief and to assist in providing opportunities that will enable them to take on a constructive role in their communities. The climb of Mount Kilimanjaro exemplifies how sport can be used as a tool towards the development of a community. The mountain reminds participants that in order to overcome adversity they must understand their environment, unite as a team and persevere.

For more information please contact:
Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, on Tel: +254 20 762 3084; Mobile: 254 733 632 755 or when traveling +41 795 965 737; E-mail:

Timothy Challen, Kilimanjaro Initiative Founder and President, on Mobile in Kenya: +254 (0)722 842 302, or E-mail:

Anne-France White, UNEP Associate Information Officer, on Tel: +254 (0)20 762 3088; Mobile in Kenya: +254 (0)728 600 494, or E-mail:

Further Resources
Kilimanjaro Initiative
UNEP Children and Youth
UNite to Combat Climate Change
Kilimanjaro Initiative: UNite to Combat Climate Change