My #NGOs4Africa Campaign – Week One Reflections

This blog covers the period from 9-15 July 2018.

Week one of my #NGOs4Africa Campaign has come and gone. It took me a while to get into the daily rhythm of publishing new content, responding to e-mail and social media inquiries, and squeezing in my training for the Fire and Ice Ultra. But I’m delighted with the response to date, and would like to express my appreciation for organisations contributing content, all the social media shares and likes, and the many e-mail messages of encouragement.

I profiled five South African NGOs during the past week, each unique in their own right, and involved in very different areas of development, from civil society sustainability (Inyathelo), disaster relief (Gift of the Givers), health advocacy (Treatment Action Campaign), youth development (Youthzones), to cancer awareness (Cancer Association of South Africa). Although based and registered in South Africa, their operations either stretch beyond our borders and/or they enjoy much international recognition for their accomplishments.

I also published the first analysis, written by Nazli Abrahams, Programme Director at Inyathelo, of the challenges and opportunities facing the NGO sector in South Africa.

With six weeks to go before the start of the Fire and Ice Ultra in Iceland, my training and preparations for the race are on schedule. For the fourth consecutive week, I have covered more than 100km, including yesterday’s Rundela 27km race through the streets of Johannesburg. The race was held in celebration of the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. It was a bitterly cold morning, but perfect training conditions for the cold weather expected during the race in Iceland.

Looking ahead, two events during the coming week, namely the 5th Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit from 17-19 July in Tbilisi, Georgia, and Mandela Day on 18 July, will inform which organisations and issues I will cover during the second week of my #NGOs4Africa Campaign. To coincide with the OGP Summit, I will profile seven NGOs playing a critical role in promoting and advocating for increased open and accountable government in Africa, and focus on the work of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) on Mandela Day. I will also publish two more guest articles by prominent NGO experts on the challenges and opportunities facing the NGO sector in Africa, and introduce the first Sport4Good profile focussing on an amazing mountaineer who has helped raise R800 000 for Mandela Libraries.

Finally, a blast from the past. The two images below were taken on 23 October 2010 before the start, and at the end, of the final stage of my first desert race, the 250km Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon. I rate this as one of the hardest desert races in the world. I was a total desert running rookie at the time, and suffered from start to finish. However, this is a very well-organised race, held in a beautiful (and harsh) desert close to the Orange River, and definitely one that I will recommend to all desert runners.

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