Riding for a cause: Cyclists in equality race

Cyclists in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

On a cold, rainy Saturday morning in Nairobi’s Jeevanjee gardens men, women and children geared up to cycle for a good course.

To raise awareness on the right to quality of life irrespective of gender, status in life or creed.

The cyclists, who started the race from the gardens to Two Rivers Mall for the slow three-hour ride, were doing this ahead of the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which took place in Cairo in 1994.

To mark the occasion, the event will take place next Tuesday in Nairobi as world leaders articulate a bold vision regarding relationships between population, development and individual well-being.

While kicking off the race, Dr Ademola Olajide, a United Nations Population Fund’s representative, said the Critical Mass bike ride had to include women and children in an effort to do away with the artificial barriers in regards to gender.

“Cycling is also environmentally friendly, keeps people healthy which then means that we can reduce the non-communicable disease we are witnessing in epic proportions,” he said.

The ICPD Programme of Action, adopted by 179 governments, recognised that reproductive health, as well as women's empowerment and gender equality, are the pathway to sustainable development.

The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 will try to accelerate the promise to offer an inclusive platform, bringing together governments, UN agencies, civil society, private sector organisations, women’s groups and youth networks to discuss and agree on actions to accelerate the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, which is critical to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Dr Olajide said the Nairobi summit will reenergise the global community, breathe new life into the ICPD agenda and sustain and amplify gains made since 1994.

“It will be a catalyst for governments and other organisations to announce voluntary, global commitments — including financial ones — that will accelerate progress. Innovative financial models and far more resources — from governments, international financial institutions and even private sector partners — are required to finish the ICPD agenda by 2030,” he said.