Last month, 19 Irish volunteers participated in the Great Ethiopian Run (GER ) in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on behalf of Vita, an Irish NGO working in East Africa including three Mayo men which raised over €50,000.
The three men were Pat Boyle from Ballybourke, Balla, who is the former director of advisory services with Teagasc Paul Riordan from Balla and John Mulhern from Coolneal, Ballina who is the principal of the Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin.
The GER is an annual 10km race, directed by double Olympic Gold medallist, Haile Gebreselassie, held to raise awareness of development challenges in Ethiopia and to raise funds to support projects in Ethiopia. This year, over 40,000 participants from all over the world competed in the international 10km run.
As well as participating in the GER, the group visited Vita development projects in the south of the country to see and assess the projects. Vita’s main success is the improved production of potatoes through better seed and technology with supply and marketing support through farmer co-operatives. In this way the cycle of hunger and poverty is being broken. In addition, Vita promotes a number of household and community projects which lead to improved health and wellbeing of the people - improved cooking stoves, latrines for families and communities, deep wells and water pumps, vegetable production, tress and solar lighting as well as community projects in weaving and pottery.