A young Briton wounded in shooting in an armed robbery in Nairobi two years ago, took the first steps up Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, at the weekend to publicise the need to engage young people in crime prevention.
Mr. Tim Challen, 33, said he hoped to raise at least 50,000 US dollars from the climb: “I have been waiting for this day to come. I strongly believe in turning my misfortune into raising awareness to the problems of crime.”
In May 2003, Mr.Challen, a staff member of United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU, was shot in the leg and badly injured by armed robbers in Nairobi. After extensive surgery and a long period of rehabilitation, he decided to help address some of the harsh realities of crime in East Africa and try to make a positive change.
The initiative grew substantially with support from UN-HABITAT's Safer Cities Programme that is working with cities to create a culture of prevention and safe environments. The initiative is also geared in support of “Sports for Vulnerable Youth” as part of the UN Decade Campaign on Sports for Peace and Development.
Mr. Challen, said he wanted to conquer the 5,896-metre snow-capped summit to raise funds for new community crime prevention projects in East Africa: “If this climb can inspire one person not to give up on their dreams and to believe that their life can improve, I feel our climb will have succeeded.”
“This is the first effort of its kind on behalf of Safer Cities and we are proud to work with Tim and UNFCU to continue to strengthen civic responsibility within communities, engage youth and prevent crime,” said UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, who saw the expedition off with Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner, Mr. Mohammed Babu.
The UNFCU sponsored 10 youths on the expedition, and another was sponsored by the
Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Mr. Challen said funds raised by the climb would go towards grassroots projects. These include the renovation of a soccer field in the Nairobi’s Kibera slum, start-up money for small businesses run by youths to help fund neighbourhood night security patrols, and a water project in Kiluvya ward in the district of Kinondoni in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He said the sales from the water project would fund a security-watch group. UN- HABITAT will oversee disbursement of the money.
The 30-strong expedition is led by General Mirisho Sarakikya, the former Permanent Representative of the Republic of Tanzania to UN-HABITAT and UNEP. The former Tanzanian defence chief, he was the first person to raise the Tanzanian flag on the “roof of Africa” when his country gained independence. The team also includes the chief executive officer of UNFCU, Mr. Michael Connery.
“Tim conceived of the idea to discourage young people from getting sucked into anti-social welfare activities. The climb represents a mission of hope and true lesson in overcoming adversity,” Mrs. Tibaijuka said.
The aims of the Kilimanjaro Initiative are to raise awareness of the problems linked with crime, to offer hope to those affected by crime, and to show that something can be done to improve security for everyone. It also seeks to use sports as an approach towards addressing crime-related problems in East Africa as part of the UN Decade for Sport for Peace and Development.
For further information on the Safer Cities Nairobi and Dar es Salaam projects, see http://www.unhabitat.org/safer cities. For additional information on the Kilimanjaro initiative, see http://www.kilimanjaroinitiative.org/