Running Matters: Women’s History Month

DebarkHAPPY WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH! The Girls Gotta Run Foundation has contributed to improving the position of girls and women in Ethiopia through running since 2007. This month, I had the opportunity to visit the Simien Girl Runners Team – a team of 10 girl runners that GGRF supported from 2007 to 2011 in Debark in the Simien Mountains.

WHILE IN DEBARK, I met with the Assistant Officer of the Debark Youth and Sports Office, Sitotaw Tagebe, and learned that, since 2011, one girl had became a professional runner in Addis Ababa, two girls went to work oversees with their families, three girls completed college or vocational school and secured jobs elsewhere in Ethiopia and the rest are working in Debark.

Team TesfaSitotaw shared with me that, “About ten years ago, cultural and religious views limited girls from running [in Debark]. They were discriminated against because they ran. Today, runners have become a positive example for girls and girls are encouraged to run for health and to uplift themselves.”

Thanks to your support, Debark has become a prime example of the communal transformation that can occur when girls are provided a chance to work together to achieve their goals in athletics and life.

TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, I ran with Team Tesfa in the 2013 CHOICE Women First 5K Race in Addis Ababa. The race was established in 2004 to recognize the achievements of Ethiopia’s female athletes and to support broader changes regarding the role of women in Ethiopia’s economic and social life. Congrats to Team Tesfa for running a great race!

GGRFTHANKS TO THE GENEROUS CONTRIBUTIONS OF SUPPORTERS LIKE YOU, GGRF continues to be able to transform the lives of girl runners in Ethiopia. This month, we’d like to send a special thank you to those supporters who ran races as fundraisers for GGRF: Katie Pauly (pictured right), Seble Chekol and Erin Chenowith. We’d also like to thank the University of Ottawa Common Law Section Running Group for hosting a screening of Town of Runners and bake sale as a fundraiser for GGRF

If you’d like to dedicate your next race to GGRF, host a fundraiser, become a monthly donor or get more involved with GGRF in a different capacity, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Many thanks for your continued support in transforming the lives of girl runners and their communities in Ethiopia.

Warmest Regards,

Kayla Nolan
Executive Director
Girls Gotta Run Foundation

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