Walk4Africa, a non-profit social impact initiative, has set out to become the world’s longest walkathon. In an effort to take the first of 52 million steps in September this year, Walk4Africa has launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise $5000 by the end of March.

This multi-stage walkathon will start from the southern-most tip of Africa, near Cape Agulhas, on 14 September 2020 and proceed in a clockwise direction to circumnavigate Africa’s 38 coastal countries and ocean islands to end back where it started by 2030. The Walkathon will cover a distance of roughly 40 000km.

Desmond Langkilde South African travel blogger and founder of Walk4Africa (W4A) says the initiative aims to give Africa a voice in the United Nations 75th anniversary (#UN75) deliberations, to educate African citizens on the UNs’ Sustainable Tourism Development Goals (SDGs), and to create global awareness on Sustainable Tourism in Africa.

“I’m passionate about changing Africa’s historical narrative from a continent that needs saving, to a continent that is thriving,” explains Langkilde.

Collaborating Across Borders

“To do that, we need to tell Africa’s story uniquely and positively, and the best way to do that is by mobilizing a collaboration that speaks for all segments of society – from classrooms to boardrooms, parliaments to village halls – with special emphasis on youth and those whose voices are too often marginalized or not heard in global affairs.”

“A sustained, decade-long walkathon around Africa’s coastlines provides a perfect opportunity for host countries to collaborate across borders by creating awareness of the SDGs through mass participation, action and education, and to showcase Africa’s natural and cultural heritage assets to global audiences.”

And Langkilde is not alone in his quest. Since starting his awareness and fundraising appeal campaign earlier this month, W4A country steering committees have already been established in Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, and Tunisia.

This is in keeping with its objective to retain revenues raised by the walkathons to benefit local communities and suppliers. “That’s the whole idea behind sustainable tourism – to spend money where it counts the most – with local communities,” says Langkilde.

Raising Awareness and Funds

According to the W4A project plan, each host countries walkathon will be comprised of three groups; a Walking Group, an Advance Group, and a Support Group. The Walking Group will be the volunteers and hosted guests who do the day-to-day walking.

The Advance Group will be the contracted suppliers, such as the mobile camping outfitter and catering supplier, a contracted private security team, and a medical first-aid response team. The Support Group will be made up  of research academics, advisors, teachers, media, film crews, sponsors, etc, who will be fulfilling the actual Mission of the W4A project.

“But all of this is a pipe dream if we don’t raise the money needed to take the first step,” says Langkilde. “And that first step is to register Walk4Africa as a non-profit organisation for legitimacy, accountability, and transparency.”

“Once this target has been attained, we’ll be looking for a second tranche of crowdfunding for the walk4africa.org website creation, route plans, and walkathon registration database for each of the 38 countries. Once that’s in place, walkathon registrations, sponsors, and funding grants will cover ongoing costs in each country.”

To join the Walk4Africa project as a founding member by donating visit https://chuffed.org/project/walk4africa