The Kilimanjaro Initiative

Kilimanjaro Last February, the Kilimanjaro Initiative organized its 2nd Annual Climb to promote safer cities and encourage young people to be agents of change in their communities. Youths from Kenya, Tanzania, United States and Switzerland, as well as various community stakeholders and United Nations agency staff, demonstrated how people can join forces in over-coming adversity by reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.
Tim Challen, a Geneva-based employee of the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU), founded the Kilimanjaro Initiative after he was shot during an armed robbery in Nairobi, Kenya. The climbs have not only raised awareness about issues of crime, but also have been used as way to solicit funds for youth-based community projects in East Africa.
On 10 June 2007, a groundbreaking event took place in Kibera for the bdevelopment of Silanga sports field, including a cycling race, a football match between the community and UN staff and a concert by local Hip Hop artists and Messenger of Truth Gidi Gidi. UNFCU is working closely with the Kilimanjaro Initiative in its efforts to establish a financial cooperative with the goal of providing a micro- finance facility for youth groups in East Africa. The Kilimanjaro Initiative is also preparing for the next Mount Kilimanjaro climb.
Due to start on 23 February 2008, the ascent will again involve various members of the international community and highlight the importance of youths and the environment, calling for green and safe urban spaces and looking at how climate change may affect security in our cities. Challen said, « We have a long way to go in terms of tackling crime in urban areas, the climb won’t be over for some time. » According to Challen, young people must play a leading role in community development.
Contacts : Elisabeth Philippe, Tel. : +1 347-686-6776, Tim Challen, Tel. 22 917 7708,