by Nebila Abdulmelik
Today, March 9th marked an end to the Mt. Kili Climb that was being organized by the Africa UNiTE Campaign to bring and end to all forms of violence against women and girls. Over 70 participants, representing 36 African countries, as well as representatives of various UN agencies, private firms and individuals descended from the highest peak on the African continent. The Parlotones, a band from SA, were among the first to descend.
At least 17 made it to the highest peak of Mt. Kili, Uhuru Peak. All came down with plenty of stories and lessons learnt. Some were limping, a couple had to be brought down in a stretcher but all took away a valuable lesson from the climb. Just as the climb up the highest lone-standing mountain on earth was difficult, treacherous, rugged, challenging, excruciating at times, so will be the struggle against VAW/G. However, with persistence, determination, a positive mindset and preparation, the summit can be reached, and the goal of eradicating such forms of violence can also be achieved.
The climb may be over, but the struggle against VAW/G continues. One of the climbers, Hem Matsi, representing Namibia is a fashion designer and hopes to raise awareness of VAW/G through her fashion line, Hemline. Another participant from Tanzania said he would be sure to raise such issues in his radio and TV shows.
Keep an eye out for subsequent blogs featuring interviews with the climbers.
See below for Khadija Salaheddine’s (representing Morrocco and UNDP) initial reactions:
For photos of the event, please see FEMNET’s facebook page.