This Sunday, March 13th marks the 8th WOMEN FIRST 5km race taking place in Addis Ababa. The annual women’s only race is the second largest running event organized by the Great Ethiopian Run. This year’s theme is focused on three issues:
- Family Planning with Choice
- Equal Access to education: A gate way to economic independence for women
- Narrow the Gap to Meet the Goals – Leave No Woman Behind
I will walk, jog and run on Sunday in support of the above-mentioned campaigns which are being spearheaded by DKT, Concern and the UN, respectively. In addition, I will also be participating to raise funds for the Network of Ethiopian Women’s Association (NEWA).
NEWA is composed of 16 non-governmental local organizations and associations that are striving to create conditions for economic, social, political and legal empowerment of women in Ethiopia. Initially a 42 member organization, NEWA had to restructure in 2009 by registering as an Ethiopian Society network and splitting into two after the passing of the controversial Charities and Societies Law. In order for NEWA to continue taking part in policy formulation and advocacy processes, it is required to raise 90% of its financial resources locally. Therefore, to tackle the challenge of financial constraints and to create a space that will serve as a center of dialogue and capacity building for women, NEWA is in the works to build a comprehensive women’s center on a stretch of land already secured from the Addis Ababa City Administration for free.
I have sought the support of friends and family to sponsor my participation in the run with the goal of raising Birr 3,000 for NEWA. The response of the few people I have approached has touched me because in their monetary support for what I have taken on as a cause they have become my allies and inadvertently expressed through their gesture that they believe in me even if they don’t fully believe in this particular cause or understand it. In just two days I met my goal and now a week later I have already surpassed it.
So this Sunday, I will run for a cause. I will run for women. I will run for NEWA. And I will run for those who believe in me.
Love & Light