Using Running & Photography to tell a powerful story of social and economic progression in Rwanda.
This August, British endurance athlete John Gunn will attempt to run across the entire country of Rwanda. In official partnership with the African Entrepreneur Collective, and with myself @CapturedOnce Photography the team will spend one month running from the northern Ugandan border, across the ‘land of 1000 hills’ to the southern entry point into Burundi. During the run, we’ll be meeting and documenting the success stories of a collection of Rwanda’s most inspiring entrepreneurs.
About the African Entrepreneur Collective:
The African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC) was founded in Rwanda in 2012, with the aim of partnering with young entrepreneurs to build their skills, expand their networks, and grow their businesses so that they may employ others. Since launch, the model has already helped to create over 1200 jobs.
With 200 million people aged 15 to 24, Africa has the youngest population in the world. And yet, 60% of all unemployed in Africa are youth. Rwanda exemplifies both the challenge and the opportunity facing youth. Roughly 70% of the population is under 35 years old, and the majority of the population works in subsistence farming. While private sector growth can create jobs for thousands of young people moving off farms each year, Rwanda’s private sector is currently dominated by small enterprises that employ just 1-2 people.
While young people are motivated to create their own jobs through entrepreneurship, they often lack the skills, networks, and capital needed to grow their businesses to the size where they can create jobs for others. AEC seeks to change that paradigm. Through capacity building, mentorship, advising, and access to affordable capital, AEC removes the barriers so that young people can lead the economic transformation of their countries.
The Objective of Run Rwanda is to use the power of running to intimately document Rwanda’s impressive and unexpected journey of economic and social progression since the tragedies of the early 1990’s. The run itself will take John 211 miles across a country that’s famous for its rolling hills and rainforest-coated mountains. He’ll run on average half a marathon a day in temperatures up to 30 Degrees Celsius, and the team will sleep and eat out in the wild.
The story of Run Rwanda will be told through the lens of the entrepreneurs who are leading and inspiring the country’s rapid development and transformation. This is where participatory photography methods will come in to play as the camera is passed to each individual to tell their story, document their business and share their passions.
Along the way, we will be meeting and spending time with local entrepreneurs across all 5 provinces of Rwanda. Visiting start-ups in tech, solar, manufacturing, eco-tourism, conservation and hospitality, John and the team will be exploring how these Rwandan pioneers are helping to create what’s frequently being described as the world’s first Entrepreneurial State.
We are hoping Run Rwanda will raise £10,000 for the African Entrepreneur Collective, helping them to offer continued support and guidance to local entrepreneurs.
Donations can be made at: www.globalgiving.co.uk/fundraisers/runrwanda/
To find out more: http://www.runrwanda.com @runrwanda