About Girls Run 2
What is Girls Run 2? Girls Run 2 is the only running club in Djibouti specifically focused on training young female athletes for track and field competition.
Who is Girls Run 2? Girls Run 2 is a non-governmental organization (NGO) project sponsored by Local Initiatives for Education (LIFE), W4Africa, and Resource Exchange International (REI). The team currently includes girls from Djibouti City and Ali Sabieh.
Why Girls Run 2?
Though not known for producing world-class athletes en masse like Ethiopia and Kenya, Djibouti does boast an Olympic bronze medalist in the 1988 Seoul Marathon, Ahmed Salah. Girls and women have not traditionally been encouraged to run but this is slowly changing as groups like Girls Run 2 form and compete and demonstrate the benefits of athletics, even beyond the track.
While some continue to believe it isn’t healthy for girls to run fast or long distances, some believe that if a girl runs too much she will become infertile, and some believe that once a woman has given birth it will be physically impossible for her to run, today’s Djiboutian female athletes (both competitors and those who run for personal reasons) are defying stereotypes and contributing to a changed perception both of sport and gender. Camaraderie, identity, confidence, community participation, health benefits, and character building are just some of the ways running improves the lives of Djiboutians.
What is the vision of Girls Run 2? The coaches and sponsors of Girls Run 2 aim to see girls run with excellence in athletic competitions. They also believe in the value of sport for teaching team work, providing a sense of belonging and identity, and as a venue for character formation. Many of the team members come from low-income families and have little knowledge of proper nutrition, hygiene, or training techniques. Many also struggle to afford school fees and medical bills. Girls Run 2 comes alongside these families to ensure girls stay in school, stay healthy, and become contributing, active members of their communities.
Djibouti is a country in the Horn of Africa bordered by the self-declared independent nation Somaliland, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and pirates in the Red Sea, with Yemen just seventeen kilometers north. The country is made up of Somalis, Afars, and Arabs. The official languages are Arabic and French though the word on the street is often Somali or Afar. The official religion is Islam, with over 90% of the people declaring themselves to be Muslims. Djibouti has been independent from France since 1977 and the government is a parliamentary system, headed by President Ismail Omar Guelleh.
It is the hottest inhabited country in the world with temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit and blistering sunshine and little rainfall. It is also a country of fascinating, undisturbed sites like the Ardoukoba Volcano, the Salt Lake which is the lowest point of elevation on the continent, the Day Forest, Musha Island, and many others. Though much of the country is brown, dry, and dusty, the underwater life is vibrant.
Here are some helpful links to learn more about this unique country:
Dave Goes to Africa (beautiful photos!)
Travel The World blog
The Lonely Planet Djibouti
BBC Djibouti Profile
CIA World Fact Book on Djibouti