Human rights activists’ umbrella body Defenders Coalition are gearing up to climb the tallest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for setting up a hub for activists in Kenya.
The lobby, which works to promote the safety and security of activists and whistleblowers in the country, aims to inject a fresh twist of sustainability in the civil society.
The group targets to cross the border and climb the snow caped mountain from 13th to 20th of February, where they will be calling out human rights violations that have been prevalent in the region during Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2019 and in the first phase of the campaign dubbed Climb For Justice, the group scaled Mount Kenya where 30 climbers summited Point Lenana and raised Sh5.6 million.
“We are in the second phase of the campaign now and really happy that more Kenyans are realizing the importance of having a safe space for activists at risk as well as for enhancing their creativity, wellness and research,” says Kamau Ngugi, Executive Director of the Defenders Coalition.
In an environment that is increasingly risky for activists, the Defenders Coalition has risen to the occasion from time-to-time offering legal support, relocation and enhancing the skill sets of human rights defenders to counter the risks.
This has a huge financial implication, which sometimes the institution is unable to meet.
“Over the years, the Defenders Coalition has acted boldly to make sure that activists who stand for what is just and right suffer no harm. We get them lawyers, bail them out of custody and mobilize public support whose interventions come with immense financial implications hence the need for a long term sustainable plan,” said Kamau Ngugi, Executive Director, National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya.
At least 30 climbers will participate in hiking Mount Kilimanjaro. Volunteers and climbers are gearing up to hike Kijabe hill and Table Mountain in Aberdares as they prepare for the climax in Tanzania early next month.
The Climb for Justice Campaign offers an opportunity for all Kenyans to be part of cementing human rights into the country’s national culture.
It equally gives Kenyans a chance to promote local tourism while addressing issues on wellness as the campaign incorporates physical activities such as hiking in Kenya’s parks.