Geita Gold Mine (GGM) in partnership with Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) officiated yet another year of the Flag-Off of the Kilimanjaro Challenge at Machame Gate in Moshi.
The Kili Challenge Flag-Off ceremony was officiated by Hon. Lazaro Samuel Nyalandu the Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources in the presence of Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner Hon. Leonidas Gama and Moshi District Commissioner Hon. Dr. Ibrahim Msengi.
This year marks the 13th historic climb for this noble course with more than 500 individuals from all across the world participating in Kilimanjaro Challenge and its impact is tangibly seen amongst our communities. The Kilimanjaro Challenge is an annual activity that aims to raise funds from different partners through sponsorship of climbers to Mount Kilimanjaro and to distribute the funds to relevant charities fighting HIV/AIDS in Tanzania.
During his flag-off speech at Machame in Moshi, the Hon. Lazaro Samuel Nyalandu said, “This year’s climb began in Dar es Salaam in early May this year where our President H.E. Hon. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, officially launched the beginning of this great journey of which today we are witnessing. The biggest message we take from this climb today is determination, zeal and hope. These three can take us to a higher elevation in this fight. With the zeal, hope and determination you have shown us that Tanzania without HIV/AIDS is possible. The government would like to applaud this initiative by Geita Gold Mine (GGM) and Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) as the Kili HIV/AIDS Challenge has contributed towards raising awareness on the HIV/AIDS pandemic and is supporting the Tanzanian government’s national initiatives towards zero new infections, zero stigma incidences and zero mother to child infections so that as a country we meet the Millennium Development Goals.”
According to the Executive Director of TACAIDS Dr. Fatma Mrisho, “What our climbers will achieve in the next 7 days will be a monumental task in our national struggle to tame the deadly scourge. It is this kind of involvement to our society, youth in particular, and realization that HIV/AIDS can be mitigated that will take our country to an ultimate success of seeing Tanzania free of the HIV/AIDS Challenge. It can be done if each and every one of us plays our part. Approximately 1.6 million people in Tanzania are living with HIV/AIDS and about 86,000 new infections every year. This pandemic is mostly affecting the youth of Tanzania and the disease has orphaned 1.3 million children. We need to change this therefore TACAIDs in collaboration with Geita Gold Mine and other various stakeholders through Kilimanjaro Challenge, we will continue to provide financial support in order to fight against this pandemic.” She continued to say, “We hope to build a national team spirit in the fight against this menace and I urge other stakeholders from local and international investors to come forward, join us and contribute to the Kilimanjaro Challenge fund so that we can meet our dream of having a zero free generation from HIV/AIDS.”
Speaking in regard to the flag-off ceremony, the Managing director for Geita Gold Mine Mr. Michael Van Anen said “GGM is proud to be part of this initiative where various companies which are working locally, could join forces and participate in this noble course. GGM leads this initiative by establishing relationships and mobilizing key likeminded partners to raise funds, sponsor individual climbers, or donate through an auction for this cause. Currently in its 13th year, the difference in life changing in the communities is enormous and we are looking forward for an HIV/AIDS zero Tanzania in the near future.” He continued to say, “I would like to urge anyone who would like to join us to visit www.geitakilichallenge.com and see how they can be part of this great initiative.”
AngloGold Ashanti Sustainability Vice President Mr. Simon Shayo said “More than 600 people from different parts of the world have participated to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro for the Kilimanjaro Challenge initiative which has raised in excess of US$500,000 per annum. For the 2014 our heroic determined climbers we say bravo to you all! We highly commend you for deciding to undertake this challenge for a good course and for fulfilling your dreams. You are set out to conquer the highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, not for fun but as a way demonstrate your solidarity with the rest of Tanzania and the World in responding to the challenge of HIV/AIDS, and in particular your devotion sends a message of care and love for those affected in one way of another by HIV/AIDS as well as reaffirming our duty and commitment to fight HIV/AIDS in Tanzania. In reality HIV/AIDS affect us all, it affects humanity in its entirety.”
Geita Gold Mine and TACAIDS using the umbrella of Kilimanjaro Challenge is playing a pioneering role in the awareness on the HIV/AIDS pandemic and look forward for the day when Tanzania will be declared Zero HIV and AIDS infection as it is reported that Tanzania’s prevalence rate has gone down from over 13% in 2000 to 7.8% by 2007 and as low as 5.1% today. Let us all rise up to join the fight against HIV/AIDS to get to Zero on HIV and AIDS: Zero New Infections, Zero Stigma and Zero AIDS related deaths.
Courtesy of in2eastafrica.net