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In Pursuit of Hope: How activists plan to walk the length of the North East to restore hope in the people #walkofhope

By Suleiman Hassan

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Mention North Eastern Kenya and the first thing that suffices is years of neglect by successive governments. But how neglected is the north? Who is to blame?

These questions must have been lingering in the minds of many for years but nobody seemed bold enough to rise against the status quo until a group of youth from the region came up with an idea that may, at last, trigger a self-audit that will ultimately bring NEP out of the quagmire.

After 52 years of whining, complaining and playing the perfect victim, time has come for the Northerners to quit the complainants club and start doing things their own way.

Two university students, a football coach, a poet and an activist University lecturer will on Saturday, June 13, 2015, lead residents of the North eastern counties of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera in a 1000km walk that will start from the Tana Bridge in Garissa all the way to Border Point 1 in Mandera in what will be known as the ‪#‎WalkofHope2015 .

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The trek comes at a time that is probably unsafe to attempt such a stunt given the escalating insecurity in the region as a result of persistent terror attacks from Somali militants Al-shabaab but organizers are optimistic that the journey will inject a fresh impetus into efforts to bring sanity back to the region.

“We know it looks foolhardy to attempt such a walk at this point in time. We want to walk the land, see the people and how they live, meet the dwellers of the villages and the nomads and communicate our vision for the North” organizers say.

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“Our walk is about hope, about courage, about self-reliance, about empowerment and about everything good. We want to create a movement that will liberate the people of the North from poverty, illiteracy and insecurity. We want to unite the people. We want to inspire hope” added the organizers.

Organizers confirmed that they were not walking to raise money for a cause but the walk itself was the cause.

As a result, they are calling on those willing to support the cause to join the walkers or support a walker with the basic necessities to see him through.

Some of the items that will come handy include:

  1. Food and water.
  2. Some medical materials.
  3. Rescue car and crew.
  4. Media and publicity.
  5. Cheering supporters

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The journey is likely to have many detours as organizers seek to stop by villages, schools and other settlements in order to listen to the people first hand and share their stories.

Given the hospitality of the North, residents are expected to share the little they have with the walkers.

“We will document the trek and share it in a blog and a YouTube channel. We will visit the schools and hospitals in villages and outposts on the way. We will have a chat with community leaders in areas we will pass through” said the organizers of the journey that may take a month or so to complete.

On what they wanted to achieve on successful completion of the ‪#‎WalkofHope2015, organizers say that they did not expect to be heroes at the end of the walk neither do they want martyrdom on the way.

“So we will take every precaution for our safety on the way and be realistic and modest about what we can achieve” they said.

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Do you want to participate?
You can participate in the walk depending on your ability and availability. You join walkers for several kilometers or complete the whole trek.

Registration

For purposes of planning, the registration of participants is going on.

To register, send your details to thewalkofhope@gmail.com

How you can participate

You can participate by:

  1. Joining as a walker.
  2. Supporting a walker.
  3. Supporting the rescue team.
  4. Organizing publicity materials like T-Shirts, Billboards, Posters and brochures.
  5. Organizing the media coverage.
  6. Being the Team Doctor.
  7. Organizing the required security for the walkers.
  8. Organizing welcoming groups in designated towns.
  9. Cheering the team on.
  10. Encouraging others to join the walk.

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Conditions for participation

  1. In order to join the walk, you need to satisfy the following conditions:
    Be legally an adult.
  2. Be physically able to walk the grueling distance under the punishing heat in Northern Kenya for the distance you choose to walk.
  3. Obtain your own comfortable clothes and shoes for walking. You need light clothes, probably track suits and very light shoes.
  4. Obtain your own sleeping bag, light rucksack, water bottle, notebook and other accessories.
  5. Sign the terms and conditions of the walk which are easy, the group will be led by Coach Noordin Tube, you cooperate with his leadership and follow reasonable directions and advice.
  6. Present yourself on 13 June 2015 at Tana River Bridge, Garissa at 7:00am.

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Note

Please take note that as the organizers:

  1. We are not raising money for any cause, we are on educational and awareness walk, so we need very little in terms of resources.
  2. All resources donated will be used for food, petrol for rescue car, publicity and emergencies. We are asking for modest contributions in kind. We need a Rescue Car, canned Fruits, Fish (Las Qoray, Omaar), Dates and Water. We also need Cameras both still and video, Branded T-Shirts, Banners, Posters and a First Aid Kit.
  3. You can walk any distance of the walk. Even from the Bridge to Suuq Mugdi and you have participated in the walk. However, you only register if you will walk up to 50 Km.
  4. If you want sponsor a walker, it means you sponsor the upkeep of the walker for the period of the walk. We will only accept sponsorship from individuals not businesses.
  5. We are looking for inspiring individuals to make this walk successful. We request you to join us.

For any inquiries, please send an e-mail to thewalkofhope@gmail.com

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‪#‎WalkOfHope, Nepjournal is walking, are you? #WalkOfHope2015

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About The Author

NepJournal is a progressive media initiative that aims to serve as the leading space where North Eastern Kenya’s leading thinkers, analysts and writers provide you, our readers, with new perspectives on all issues affecting the region.

We aim to publish daring perspectives with original content, and beautifully written pieces, to give voice to writers and thinkers so as to inform, educate and empower our people.

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