The first charity walk was incubated out of a dinner meeting with the 6 club presidents and secretaries on July 9th 2009 when the then District Governor TadesseAlemu from Ethiopia was visiting Dar es Salaam.
We, Rotarians, do many community service projects within our clubs and this endeavor was to do an activity jointly as 6 clubs and raise funds for a cause. It was unanimously decided to select the environment as our cause as throughout the world there was an awareness of our environment and the impact of the global climate change. Africa has the largest net loss of forests and it is estimated that nearly half of the forest loss is due to the removal of wood fuel. Looking back, we also realize that global economic growth over the past 50 years has been achieved at a huge cost to the environment and ecosystems and hence our cause to plant trees for the environment to curb deforestation and aid afforestation.
We joined the UNEP “Plant for the Planet billion tree” campaign which was an idea by the Nobel Peace prize laureatelate Prof Wangari Mathai which links people, trees and the environment and is also a way of giving public expression to the challenges of climate change, forest and ecosystem degradation.
We pledged and planted 25,600 trees during the year by the 6 clubs in various schools and public places. We worked with British council to educate and conduct workshops in schools to work through art and drama the importance of looking after our trees. The first marathon gave Rotary a presence in Dar es Salaam like never before and this made us declare that this event a yearly event.
As we planted trees, we experienced that schools sanitation and water situation was almost non existent. There was no water to drink let alone water the plants and hence our theme for the year 2010 was born due a need again – “Maji Kwa Maisha” – Water for life. We pledged to provide 25 schools with drinking water provisioning.
The 2010 Marathon was scaled up in terms of the participants – we had 1500 participants and our goal was to raise 100M tshs and we raised 140M tshs. The year the clubs adopted schools and supervised and implemented complete water provisioning systems.