Second Absa KH3-7 Hills Run for Girl Child Education attracts thousands

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David GOMBE

Over 5,000 runners took part in the Absa KH3-7 Hills Run marathon that took place on Sunday 17 March 2024. The annual marathon challenges runners to traverse the length of the proverbial 7 hills that make up Kampala City. Proceeds from the run dubbed “Run Her Race” and organized by Absa Bank Uganda and Kampala Hash House Harriers (KH3) will go towards initiatives that focus on returning girls who have dropped out of school prematurely, to school as well as providing urgent menstrual hygiene support to impoverished schoolgirls who often drop out of school due to prohibitive costs of sanitary products.

The overall winner, Philip Kiptoo (1:13:36), won a 50×100 land title donated by Bakayima Real Estate Agents. Additionally, the Top 2 Females (Chemusto and Chesang from Joshua Cheptegi Athletics Club) and the Top 2 males (Ategeka and Agaba from KH3 Running Club) and will be sponsored by Absa Bank Uganda to participate in the Johannesburg leg of the 2025 Absa Run Your City Series in South Africa.

Mumba Kalifungwa, the Managing Director of Absa Bank Uganda, speaking to why the bank chose this initiative said that the bank’s Citizenship ambition is to be an active force for good in the communities where it operates.

“Advancing education and youth employment as well as promoting a just society are some of our key citizenship pillars. Additionally, the 4th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) speaks to the need to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all while the 5th one speaks to achieving gender equality for all. We believe that this is our small contribution to achieving this goal in Uganda.”

Wilberforce Kyambadde the KH3 Hash Master said he was pleased with the momentum that the Absa KH3-7 Hills Run was gathering in only its second year, now even attracting professional runners.

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This year’s marathon in particular has attracted participation from elite runners coordinated by the Cheptegei Development Foundation whose activities among developing local talent include targeted programmes like providing safe haven for girls fleeing FGM in the Sebei region. Often, cultural practices like these also present a barrier for girls continuing with education.

The Marathon was flagged off by Rt.Hon. Thomas Tayebwa, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, who remarked that the ‘Run Her Race’ initiative was in line with the government agenda to promote girl child education and prioritised at the national level with the National Development Plan III making provisions to strengthen affirmative action for enrolment of girls in BTVET. Further, the government has allocated 30% of all funds under the new Parish Development Model to women. At the university level, the additional 1.5 points added to girls has seen a consecutive annual increase of girls enrolling and graduating from the university now surpassing boys.

“I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate all our partners and the runners who participated today. Last year we had over 2,500 take part and today we have surpassed that number. We thank you for your continued support to our initiatives. Last year’s funds were used to support over 2,750 girls with menstrual hygiene management, supporting teenage mothers to return to school with fully paid school fees, and skilling others to become self-sustainable with culinary skills, tailoring, knitting, and making liquid soap. We shall continue to support such initiatives that support girls to leverage their potential to become contributing members in their communities.” said Mr. Kalifungwa

The run had a 5km and 22km leg and attracted several sponsors and partners such as Kampala Pharmaceutical Industries, Vivo Energy Uganda, Aquafina, New Vision Group, Bakaima Real Estate Agents, Biyinzika Pearl Chicken, Next Media Services, Fenon Premium Events, Kakira Sugar Limited, DHL Express, UAP Old Mutual, Graphics Systems, Case Medical Services, Hostalite Ltd, Prudential, KCCA and Uganda Red Cross.

The overall winners were;

Ladies’ category

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Kareen Chemusto

Annet Chesang

Saibi Chebet

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Men’s Category

Philip Kiptoo

Brian Ategeka

Aggrey Agaba

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