Reflecting on the Serengeti Girls Run
It’s been exactly three months since we completed the Serengeti Girls Run. The run itself was an incredible accomplishment – nine women from around the world ran 90kms over three days. The wildlife that the women experienced was second to none – thousands of wildebeest, herds of elephants and even some lions. However, more impactful than this was the reason behind why these women from around the world were doing this run – girls empowerment.
Girls empowerment and equality for women is relevant world over. In Tanzania women are particularly marginalized. Practices such as female genital mutilation still occur illegally, and young girls are married off for dowry, unable to finish their education. Menstruation and reproductive health are taboo subjects and access to materials can be challenging. Many girls do not go to school during their period, missing out on a significant portion of their studies. The Grumeti Fund is dedicated to supporting women and girlsin the 21 communities with which we work. Each of the focus areas of the Community Outreach Program ensures that women and girls are included equally. These programs range from enterprise development to environmental awareness and education. In the last two years we have taken this dedication and reach to encompass empowerment events whereby high-school girls come together to learn about career development, confidence building, menstruation, female genital mutilation, early marriage and reproductive health. This year the number of girls impacted through this program doubled from last year and in 2019 we aim to double it again.
The Serengeti Girls Run is an event aimed at raising awareness and support for the entire empowerment program. This was the inaugural year of the run and it raised enough for the Grumeti Fund to engage with over 1,000 girls through three different empowerment events. Before the run began the guests were part of a fun run and career fair in the local village that hosted over 400 high school girls. The day was filled with inspirational speeches by two of the guests, information exchange and lots of dancing.
“We are here to speak to girls and tell them you have the right to a good education and to stand firm. We want to inspire them, to give them power and energy.” Frida Mollel (Grumeti Fund Community Outreach Program Manager)
While the run itself was inside the protected area, the reason that the women were running was never far from mind. Discussions on the run and around the campfire were centered around breaking down barriers and finding healthy and positive ways to impact young women in this area and around the world. The bond between the runners grew stronger every day, even as knees and ankles grew tired. The success of the run has inspired the Grumeti Fund to make this an annual event. Together with Singita, we are excited about hosting the next Serengeti Girls Run in October 2019.
“What the Grumeti Fund does is not only protect and conserve the land itself and the animals that are there, but the humanity that is there.”
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A huge thanks to our partners Singita and BRAVE for collaborating with the Grumeti Fund on this once-in-a-lifetime event, and to all the women and girls who were a part of inspiring equality and empowerment.