On 15th July 2015, a group of top Kenyan Athletes, recognized as superstars in the field of track and marathon racing, began a walk aimed at engaging local communities in Kenya’s North-Rift region on peace and tolerance. The walk, dubbed “Champions Walk for Peace” aims to make a powerful statement against inter-community hatred and intolerance by using these highly respected sports personalities who also hail from the region, to spread the message of peace amongst locals.
This is no small feat as the athletes will be walking 836 km (522 miles) over 22 days through the Kenyan Rift Valley – walking 40 km (25 miles) each day and taking time to address communities living in the areas covered by the walk route.
Triblism and ethnic intolerance is still a challenge in Kenya, and has threatened the country’s peace in the past. In 2007, the country erupted in post-election violence which pitted differing tribes against each other and led to teh death of over 1,000 Kenyans. This influential group of athletes have taken it upon themselves to make a contribution towards safeguarding Kenya’s peace and prosperity by making their voices heard. The athletes will traverse seven counties from the Rift Valley region affected by violent conflict, namely Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, Baringo, Transzoia, Laikipia, Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gishu. A number of these were areas affected by the 2007 pre-elections violence. Tensions and violence still continue in these counties to date.
The overall aim of the “Champions Walk for Peace” initiative is the prevention of organized violence and the development of a strong foundation of peace education and awareness for the pursuit of peace and unity among Kenyans. The purpose or intermediate outcome is to create a strong movement of Peace Champions (educators) comprising communities, traditional, Youth, faith-based and government leaders working together to promote unity and peaceful co-existence.
You can follow the athletes progress via the following online platforms:
#AWalkLikeNeverBeforeFacebook page: https://www.facebook.com/championswalkforpeace?fref=tsTwitter: @walk4peaceke