Thirty-five years ago, Rotary launched its PolioPlus program. The program was the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication through mass vaccination of children. Rotary contributed an excess of $1.7Billion and countless volunteer hours. More than 2.5 billion children in 122 counties will be immunised against polio.
Rotary’s focus is advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and awareness-building. Various Rotary Districts have organized events and activities to achieve this objective. Rotary District 9212 is one of such districts, comprising of Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan & Eritrea. The End Polio campaign is a significant focus for Rotarians. Last October saw the launch of Polio End Game, which is a campaign to create a million heroes.
Polio End Game
The polio end game answers Rotary’s focus for polio. Efforts made so far in this campaign are advocating, fundraising, recruiting volunteers, and building awareness on polio. Since launch, several celebrities have taken the stand against polio and helped in creating awareness.
End Polio Bikeathon 2020
Planning for the End Polio Bikeathon began late last year, but the momentum picked up in January 2020. This project, by the Rotary Club of Nairobi Lavington, was slated for February 29th and was aimed at raising funds toward fighting polio.
After days of rigorous planning, February 29 was here with us. I braved the early morning cold to KEFRI, Muguga, the venue hosting the 2020 Bikeathon edition. Bikers, parents with their young kids and students from Rusinga School were already on the ground. Ready to participate in 60KM, 30KM, 15KM, 5KM bike race or the 15KM walk through the forest. Their faces beamed with excitement. Excited to explore the scenic Muguga forest.
District Governor, Joe Otin flagged off the 60KM bike race followed by the 30KM bikers. Last to start the bike race was the young kids racing a distance of 5KM with their parents in tow.
Also in attendance were several companies who had sponsored the event. Notably, they were Coca Cola East Africa, Bio Yoghurt, Enashipai Resort & Spa, AMG Realtors, among others. With all the walking around I was doing capturing those great moments, my body was bound to ache at some point. Luckily, Enashipai was available to accord me a relaxing head and back massage. As part of their sponsorship, participants got a free 15-minute massage.
By late afternoon, 90% of the bikers and walkers had returned to the venue. A few of the 60KM bikers were yet to find their way back. The MC for the day, gospel artist Holy Dave, commenced the prize giving. The categories were pretty interesting – youngest participant, oldest racer to complete the bikeathon, etc.
As the sun went down behind the carpet of trees, I was dead tired. So was everyone who had spent the last 30 days planning the 2020 End Polio Bikeathon. But happy that the event was a great success.