For the last several years, several of my colleagues and I have always trooped to Lewa Conservancy to witness and record the annual Marathon at around this time. One of the biggest events in Northern Kenya, the marathon brings together the surrounding communities, athletes from different parts of the country, celebrities and other visitors from outside Kenya and ambassadors among other wildlife enthusiasts. Children are not left behind either as there is a 10km race just for them. That is apart from the 42km and 21km adult races.
Huawei Kenya is a long-term supporter of the Marathon and this Saturday 27th, the company will once again step in to show commitment for the event which will be run virtually due to the movement restrictions. These are some of the things that really bring to light the stack reality of the effects that the current pandemic is having on the world.
On Saturday 27thJune, Huawei Kenya, a long-term supporter of the Lewa marathon will once again show the significance of true sportsmanship by supporting one of the world’s greatest marathons – The Lewa Safari Marathon, a rebrand of the famous Safaricom Lewa Marathon, which this year will be run virtually. Coronavirus has put a halt on international travel but Huawei Kenya has rallied behind Lewa and provided the much-needed support required to host a virtual event and launch the #preparingfortomorrow campaign.
This campaign is in recognition of the extraordinary impacts the marathon has had on wildlife, communities around the conservancy, and the tourism economy in the area and the country as a whole. Over the years, the marathon has had a positive effect on peace building in the region which has unfortunately often been plagued by marginalization and inter-ethnic conflict, wildlife conservation, and overall improvement of livelihoods in the area.
Huawei Kenya first got involved back in 2008 and has so far injected over Kshs 100M into the Kshs 800M the marathon has fundraised for more than 80 education, health, agriculture and conservation projects across the country. Every effort that can be made now is crucial for the preparation of the future when tourism revamps and job creation is back on track. Huawei rightfully believes that the costs to protect the wildlife today are small compared to the benefits they will bring for generations to come.
In launching the campaign, Huawei sees parallels with their technology business. The economy today is even more reliant than ever on the telecommunications networks such as fiber, 2G, 3G, and 4G as well as IT systems such as mobile money and e-government that Huawei has helped build in Kenya over the last 20 years. Meanwhile it is clear that all effort must be made now to both maintain and enhance these networks to support small businesses, online learning, e-health, smart logistics, digital finance, and other applications that will drive Kenya’s economy into the future.
“Lewa’s legacy is one that we cannot afford to lose. Lewa is home to 11% of the global population of the endangered Grevy’s zebra, and currently hosts over 200 rhino across the Lewa-Borana landscape, as well as a host of other wildlife species.
The uninterrupted and continued existence of conservancy is crucial. As the organization continues to forge tirelessly ahead with their conservation efforts despite the pandemic, so must the marathon, and we are proud to be part of this legacy. Over the years we have donated significant amounts of funding and in doing so we know that every shilling is making a difference inside and outside Lewa’s boundaries” said Stanley Shenlei, Huawei Key Accounts Director.
“#preparingfortomorrow campaign embodies the hard work Lewa has been doing in conservation and is true to our core values as an organisation. Both Lewa and Huawei continue to forge tirelessly ahead with enhancing conservation and telecommunication efforts respectively despite the pandemic, so that Kenya can be prepared for tomorrow. Kenya has some of the best and fastest internet coverage and speeds, as well as technology innovations, on the continent and we are proud to have played a role in that—as we are also proud to have played a role in Kenya’s successful and innovative conservation and tourism efforts. This has been down to the hard work of incredible Kenyans working for many organisations, and this #prearingfortomorrow campaign is recognizing the unsung heroes who have enabled this,” He concluded
The 2020 Virtual Safari marathon which already has over 1000 registered participants from over 70 cities, representing 20 countries, is truly a global challenge. With no stopwatch, no time sheet and no spectators, participants are invited to run or walk either 5km, 10km, 21km in their garden, street, local park, beach or treadmill and join forces with others to raise awareness to the tireless work done by the frontline guardians on the ground. To register https://www.lewasafarimarathon.com/virtual-lewa-safari-marathon-registration/
Acknowledging the unique position and importance of this year’s marathon, Kenyan artist, Nyashinski, has contributed his hit single tune, Marathon Runner, as the theme song for the event on Saturday 27thJune.