Run Africa and Green Scene Energy, two organizations founded by Rekik Bekele, hosted a free event on 31 August 2019 called Run for Trees. 150 volunteers — a mixture of Ethiopians and ‘Ferengi's’ ranging in age from 3 to 63 — planted nearly 600 trees at Ararat Jerba Forest, in Yeka Sub-City. Before planting the tree seedlings, they were given a brief but comprehensive orientation by Mahlet Desalegn, an independent environmental engineer. They then ran and walked 5 kilometers, stopping to plant seedlings along the route. There was music playing, people dancing, donuts and water, and massages given by trained professionals. The volunteers also did some litter picking in the forest.
The event was successful in engaging residents of the area, who pledged to take care of the trees. Run Africa club athletes, who train twice a week in Ararat Jerba Forest, will also look after the seedlings.
Run Africa and Green Scene hosted the event in a small bid to further the greening of the capital city as part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Green Legacy initiative. The nationwide campaign is aiming to plant four billion trees by October 2019. The campaign’s culmination, on 29 July 29, saw 350 million trees planted, which was 150 million more than expected for that day. Green Scene and Run Africa were also part of that record-breaking planting spree.
Run Africa and Green Scene are sister companies, engaged in two different industries, but who collaborate in a growing number of socially constructive participation events. For the 31st August seedling plant, for example, Run Africa identified the location, reached out to participants and acquired the tree seedlings. Green Scene, on the other hand, was in charge of electrifying the event — both literally and figuratively! — because the music at the event was powered by Green Scene’s off-grid solar system.
The organizations plan to continue hosting the event in the coming years with increased numbers of participants.