UN Shine at First Lady’s Half Marathon

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United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i., Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee (Race No. 8913) on his way to finishing the First Lady's Beyond Zero Half Marathon.

The 2016 First Lady’s Half Marathon saw the UN system in Kenya join the First Lady, dozen other organizations and over thirty thousand participants in running for a worthy course.
The fourth edition of the marathon had the UN represented by in excess of five hundred members of staff including several Country Directors, Agency Resident Representatives and the Resident Coordinator a.i., Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee who recorded an impressive 1 hour 45 minutes in the 21 Km category.
Alongside the visibility on the track, the UN also had a Delivering as One-branded exhibition tent furnished with merchandize and information material on UN work in Kenya.
The UN’s participation in the March 6th event was a culmination of coordination and mobilization efforts by the UN system in Kenya through the H4+ partners and the Resident Coordinator’s Office that did not just mobilize staff but also funds and publicity for the marathon.
The UN contributed to the FLHM and the Beyond Zero campaign a total of $45,000 which included some $20,000 in match-funding by private sector partners.
To augment the publicity campaigns run by the Beyond Zero secretariat, the UN utilized its huge social media presence to raise awareness about the marathon and the salient issues around maternal health in Kenya. The RCO together with various UN agencies and departments leveraged their Facebook and Twitter accounts to run a well-coordinated social media campaign.

Kenya's first-lady with other runnersKenya's First Lady H.E Margaret Kenyatta with other runners at the starting line of the 10 Km race.

While the UN’s participation in the marathon bore marks of fun and charity, it had a lot to do with strategic partnership. Over the years, FLHM and Beyond Zero campaign has attracted many players including Government, private sector and Philanthropies with whom the UN is keen on strengthen corporation.

Even more important, women empowerment, maternal health and the fight against HIV/AIDS remain at the core of UN work in Kenya.

Beyond Zero campaign focuses on health issues related to the survival of mothers and children, reduction of HIV/AIDS and advocacy on related matters including Female Genital Mutilation. So far, the initiative has supplied 34 counties with a fully kitted maternal clinic each.

The multi-purpose clinics are aimed at assisting providing basic health services such as safe deliveries, immunization and HIV/AIDS testing which are usually limited in the rural areas.

Access to health is critical to the UN’s development work in Kenya. Under Strategic Area 2 of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, the UN has supported innovative programing, influenced national policies and strategies and mobilized donor funding to ensure that morbidity and mortality rate in Kenya is substantially reduced by 2018.