One of the project that Eino had at heart when we met was about hiking.
Windhoek (the capital of Namibia) is a city perched at 1700m, in the mountainous centre of Namibia. There is a lot of (small) mountains around the city and a great potential for hiking and outdoors activities, but those are not much used.
Eino ideas include promoting healthy living (especially to youth) and providing safe and organised hiking places.
In 2009, he founded the Ondundu Development & Youth Adventure Initiative, registered in 2010 as a bone-fide youth organisation with the Namibian Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture. Under this initiative, he has been tracing hiking trails in the surrounding of Windhoek and was looking at organising a Mountain Speed Hiking Competition. Our meeting at the end of 2014 gave him the impulse to set things in motion for the competition. I came to join him in Windhoek and for a couple of months, we worked on the organising.
The first Namibia Mountain Speed Hiking Competition was successfully held on 06th June 2015. Its objectives were:
To encourage local communities to take part in sports initiatives, and to live a healthy lifestyle by encouraging the young and the elderly to exercise.
To promote the use of surrounding hiking trails provided by the City of Windhoek.
To diversify sporting activities with other unique sports codes such as hiking.
To raise funds for charity organizations and wilderness therapy related non-profit organizations of school going or school dropouts
To promote the importance of public, private international partnerships.
Since then, the hiking has really taken off and the group of hikers participating is ever growing. So far, they have founded the Namibia Mountain Speed Hiking Association, registered the trails with the council and have been very busy with organizing hikes and getting sponsorships. There is now a weekly hike and big sponsorship toward a draw to win a car at the end of the year (2016) – check out details here!
To date, over 45 Hiking sessions have been achieved with more than 300 certificates awarded to every hiker, signed by the Mayor of City of Windhoek in recognition of his valued recreational initiative.
If anyone is in the area of Windhoek, whether living there or visiting, you can check the dates of hikes on the website: http://35bmec.wixsite.com/speedhikingcomp and/or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ondundu-Development-Youth-Adventure-Initiative-361845740547307/
Message from Ondundu:
“We wish to recognise the inhabitants of the City of Windhoek, tourists and international associates, as we continue to strive for youth development, sustainable development, sports & recreational development for the basic sense of contributing toward our National Prosperity Plan (Harambe). Our mission is to constantly encourage youth energies positively, to allow a platform for young and elderly to engage in activities, in order to divert them away from intoxicating ethics and norms of alcohol and drug abuse. To develop a city historical and recreational hiking arena BY ALL FOR ALL and to promote speed hiking as a recognised sport code with the interest on our general public at heart; locally and internationally.”