On Sunday October 14th 2012, Ugandan children will be racing for child survival in the World Marathon Challenge. The event will see 20 000 children in 40 countries run to raise awareness on malnutrition, the cause of millions of child deaths every year worldwide. In Uganda alone, malnutrition affects more than half of children under five, directly or indirectly contributing to approximately 50% of child mortality.
Perhaps you have been spending a bit too much time in front of your computer lately. Perhaps you have spent too much time “liking” Facebook pages condemning homicidal bar owners and incompetent UN envoys. Maybe you come home from a deskbound workday to pass your evening hours writing angry tweets on “clicktivism” and the apathy of our generation when it comes to issues of social justice. Maybe all this time spent seated has not been good for your waistline. Perhaps all your righteous anger has had a negative impact on your blood pressure.
May I gently suggest then, that you get off your backside?
In Uganda, the World Marathon Challenge: Race for Survival is being organised by the Everyone Is Me campaign. They seek to mobilize action to reduce the number of preventable deaths among children under 5 and pregnant women. Everyone Is Me believes that everyone is affected by this state of affairs and everyone has a role to play in ending it. At the race children in groups of 31 will cover 42,195km in 200m relays to symbolise the countdown to the achievement of UN Millennium Development Goal to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015.
If you have an 11 – 13 year old, it is not too late to register them for this marathon. If you are one of those parents who often despairs at the dining table, telling your fussy-eater that “there are starving children in Karamoja, you know” this is a great opportunity to get your child to appreciate that there are many kids who are not as lucky as them. What better way to teach your child that they too can play a role in creating a better world? They can show solidarity with children going hungry in Uganda and globally by taking part in a fun activity, even if they did not finish their vegetables last night.
The event will take place at Makerere University Business School (MUBS) on Old Portbell road. Each child will run 6 or 7 times in 200 metre relays in order to beat the current world marathon record holder Patrick Makau’s time of 2h3m38s. Registration forms can be found on the everyoneisme.ug website. It is free for kids and only 10 000/= for adults. There will be all kinds of entertainment for kids and kids-at-heart, with performers including Toni Venture, Breakdance Project Uganda, Fun Factory, Sosolya, Udungu Dance Academy and Maisha Dancers. Face painting, Balloon Animals and a Bouncing Castle will also feature, as well as other fun arts and crafts activities for kids provided by Afri Art Gallery.
If you do not have kids, get out of your house anyway. Come and show support for the ones who will be running, and you can even join the 8 celebrities and parliamentarians who will be running along with them. It is time to manifest your cyber activism on the tarmac.