School Children in Ethiopia - (This photo is used by permission of Timothy Fitzgerald Young and is (c) copyright 2010 On The Ground, Inc. All rights reserved).

Starting on January 8, 2011 and spanning 12 days, a small group of US runners will run 400 kilometers across Southern Ethiopia as part of a campaign to generate awareness and funding for education.

Run Across Ethiopia , a project of On the Ground (OTG), a US-based non-profit organization, aims to raise $100,000 for Ethiopian education projects, including the construction of schools in other coffee-growing communities. Funds will be used to support the work of the Tesfa Foundation and the Oromia Cooperative Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU), a union of 129 fair trade coffee cooperatives that, together, represent some 800,000 families.

The evening before the marathon begins, runners will participate in a press conference and dinner hosted by the OCFCU. In attendance will be some of the most elite Ethiopian marathon runners in the world.

Starting out from the capital city of Addis Ababa, the runners will drop into the lush and ecologically diverse Great Rift Valley. The run will then climb back into the Ethiopian Highlands and finish near the town of Yirgacheffe. There, residents of Afursa Waro and representatives from OCFCU will meet the runners and run the last 10 km with them through the countryside to the community of Afursa Waro, home to the Negele Gorbitu coffee cooperative and OCFCU member.

The run will end with a large community-wide celebration for the great work that fair trade premiums already have done to bring education here, and also for the ultramarathon fundraising to make completed education systems in these rural villages a reality.

About On The Ground (OTG)

On The Ground, based in Traverse City, Michigan, is a nonprofit organization that provides access to fresh water, healthcare, and education in the fair trade farm communities where its partners source coffee beans and other products.

From building water systems in Chiapas, Mexico, to schools in Yirga Ch’efe, Ethiopia, providing scholarships to farmers, or paying for medical supplies, OTG makes sure its partners do more than simply pay a fair price to their farmers. http://www.onthegroundglobal.org

Source: On the Ground

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