Huawei, Safaricom pump millions into Lewa Safari Marathon

From left: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Chief Executive Officer Mike Watson, Safaricom PLC chairman Michael Joseph and Stanly Shenlei, Huawei Kenya Key Accounts Director, hold hands during the launch of the 2020 Lewa Safari Marathon at Norfolk Hotel, Nairobi on March 4,2020. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

What you need to know:

  • The 21st edition of the Lewa Safari Marathon, which will be held on June 27 this year, seeks to raise Sh50 million just like the previous year for community projects and wildlife conservation at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
  • Watson said the event has raised US$8 million (Sh800 million) since its launch two decades ago

Huawei Kenya have now joined Safaricom PLC as the major sponsors for this year's Safaricom Lewa Marathon that will now be known as Lewa Safari Marathon.

The 21st edition of the Lewa Safari Marathon, which will be held on June 27 this year, seeks to raise Sh50 million just like the previous year for community projects and wildlife conservation at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy chief executive officer, Mike Watson disclosed on Wednesday that Huawei Kenya and Safaricom have each coughed Sh15 million sponsorship for the event that has been limited to an entry of 1400 participants.

Watson, who was speaking during this year's launch at a Nairobi hotel, said that registration will open Thursday online at 8am at http://www.lewasafarimarathon.co.ke/register/

"Entry will close as soon as all the available slots are taken up and as usual they will be issued on first come, first serve basis," said Watson, adding that the Executive 10km race has been introduced to this year's menu where entry fee is Sh50,000 per participant.

"These executives will compete against each other with the winner getting a weekend for two at Lewa Conservancy," said Watson, who hailed Huawei Kenya for joining Safaricom as co-title sponsors.

Full marathon (42km) and half marathon (21km) participants will pay an entry fee of Sh20,000 each while participants 5km Junior Race (10-17 years old) will part with Sh3,000 per participant.

Watson said the event has raised US$8 million (Sh800 million) since its launch two decades ago with the proceeds going to six major causes for instance improving access to healthcare in communities around Lewa and beyond and investing in education through school infrastructure development, curriculum support and education bursaries.

The funds have also helped support community conservation in Northern Kenya, protection of endangered species and other wildlife and their habitat and investing in ranger welfare.

Safaricom chairman Michael Joseph welcomed Huawei Kenya into the project.

However, Joseph noted with concern that the main wildlife conservation efforts in Kenya have been championed and financed privately by people mostly from abroad.

“There is is little support from the corporates locally and locals,” said Joseph. “I want to challenge the whole country and the corporates to join in conservation since this is our national heritage. We need to safe guard this for the generations to come.”

Huawei Kenya key account director, Stanley Shenlei noted that they have supported Lewa Safari Marathon for the last 20 years to a tune of Sh100 million. "We have seen the positive impact the Lewa Conservancy has had on wildlife and surrounding communities. It is truly incredible," said Shenlei.

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