Walk4Africa, a non-profit social impact initiative, is aiming to stage the world’s longest walkathon in Africa and hopes to raise $5 000 to fund the initiative by the end of March.
The multi-stage walkathon will launch from the southernmost tip of Africa, near Cape Agulhas, on September 14 and will log 40 000km (25 000 miles), circumnavigating Africa’s 38 coastal countries and islands to end back where it began by 2030.
Walk4Africa aims to give Africa a voice in the United Nations’ 75th anniversary deliberations, educate African citizens on the UN’s sustainable tourism development goals and to create global awareness on sustainable tourism in Africa, among other objectives.
“I'm passionate about changing Africa's historical narrative from a continent that needs saving, to a continent that is thriving,” said South African travel blogger and founder of Walk4Africa, Desmond Langkilde.
Langkilde said the decade-long walkathon would provide an opportunity for hosting countries to collaborate and create awareness of sustainable tourism development through showcasing Africa’s natural and cultural heritage assets to global audiences.
Walk4Africa committees have already been established in Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Tunisia.
Each country’s walkathon will comprise three groups – a walking group, advance group and a support group. The walking group will be the volunteers and hosted guests who do the day-to-day walking. The advance group will be the contracted suppliers, such as the mobile camping outfitter and catering supplier, a contracted private security team, and a medical first-aid response team. The support group will be made up of research academics, advisers, teachers, media, film crews and sponsors.
“But all of this is a pipe dream if we don’t raise the money needed to take the first step,” said Langkilde. “And that first step is to register Walk4Africa as a non-profit organisation for legitimacy, accountability, and transparency.
"Once this target has been attained, we'll be looking for a second tranche of crowdfunding for the walk4africa.org website creation, route plans, and walkathon registration database for each of the 38 countries. Once that's in place, walkathon registrations, sponsors, and funding grants will cover ongoing costs in each country.”