International charity So They Can, the not-for-profit partner of Momentum Media’s Women in Finance Awards, has launched a fundraising initiative aimed at combating female genital cutting (FGC) and child marriage in Kenya.
The charity, which delivers education and empowerment programs in some of the most vulnerable communities in East Africa, has launched a new initiative designed to raise awareness of the bleak future faced by vulnerable girls in some parts of Africa, and raise essential funds to deliver the education needed to help protect them from forced marriage and FGC.
1HumanRace calls on participants to run, walk, swim, cycle, or ‘simply move’ 85 kilometres in March to help So They Can reach its sponsorship target of $85,000.
Momentum Media directors Alex Whitlock and Jim Hall have signed up to the challenge and are encouraging mortgage and finance professionals to challenge themselves to get fit, keep moving and improve their wellbeing while helping raise much-needed funds.
“It’s been a tough year for a lot of people in the mortgage and finance industry,” Mr Whitlock said.
“There’s been an impact for so many people on their physical and mental wellbeing due to the COVID restrictions. What better way to kickstart a healthier 2021 and raise essential funds and awareness to help prevent terrible suffering for young women in East Africa?”
Working in Kenya and Tanzania, So They Can partners with local governments and communities to deliver education and empowerment projects that create lasting change.
According to sector research by ActionAid, 85 per cent of girls aged 9-13 years old in Pokot, Kenya, are subjected to FGC and child marriage. In East Pokot, where So They Can works, an uneducated girl is seen as the property of her father and brothers, while an educated girl is seen as a person with human rights.
Through So They Can’s Keeping Girls in School project, the organisation works with the whole community to build understanding of the risks of FGC and the importance of girls’ education.
So They Can’s co-founder and CEO, Cassandra Treadwell, commented: “Last year, I spoke to a group of young girls in East Pokot. Each one had been forcibly circumcised, each one had run away from a child marriage and some had made the heartbreaking decision to leave behind their own children to escape physical abuse and save their own lives,” Ms Treadwell said.
“The girls asked me to share their story, and 1HumanRace is our platform to do just that. We’re hoping as many people as possible will join us.”
Ms Treadwell will also be participating in the challenge as will several high-profile supporters, including Jojo Rabbit actress Thomasin McKenzie, who is participating with her mother, fellow actress and So They Can ambassador Miranda Harcourt.
Ms Harcourt said: “I am so proud to be an ambassador for So They Can, to be part of their 1HumanRace challenge and to be the voice for the 85 per cent of courageous girls living in the rural region of Pokot, Kenya.
“I’m encouraging all of my friends and family to accept the challenge to raise awareness and funds to support these girls. Together we can be a voice for these girls and support education and freedom for all girls and women.”
To find out more and join the movement, visit sotheycan.org/1humanrace