Running for Climate Action with Vita – highlights from this year’s trip to Ethiopia!


“A kaleidoscope of colour, a cacophony of sound”

“The Great Ethiopian Run is a fantastic experience and I would instantly recommend it to anyone. Although the run in Addis Ababa is a cultural spectacle you will struggle to forget for years to come, for me the subsequent days travelling to the South of Ethiopia and meeting the Hammer tribe were the highlight of the trip. Meeting the Vita’s partners (local co-ops) and seeing the life changing work they are doing in areas such as sanitation, smart agriculture and health care was tremendously gratifying. “

In November 2019, Avolon and Dublin City Fire Brigade teamed up with Vita to raise money for our life-transforming development programmes in Ethiopia and Eritrea and have the experience of a lifetime!

Over the course of a week, we took these incredible partners from desert to mountains, village to city so they could see first-hand the life-changing work their support has facilitated.

Get Involved in GER 2020!

Would you like to experience this trip of a lifetime while raising money for Vita’s life-transforming development programmes? We are now organising our 2020 Great Ethiopian Run Fundraiser and we want YOU! If you and your company are looking to step out for a worthy cause and make a real difference – all while having the craic in some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes – please get in touch by emailing!

Some High Points from 2019…

Traditional tribal dancing, rich cuisine, copious coffee breaks, stunning landscapes, and the opportunity to meet the communities their fundraising supported were just some of the attractions for this year’s Vita GER team. Over the course of a week, we took Avolon and Dublin Fire Brigade to see a myriad of life-changing programmes that are helping communities adapt to climate change and empowering women to better provide for their families. Some of the projects we visited included potato farming for small rural farmers; fuel-efficient cooking and skills training for women; livestock management; water pump repair programmes and clean water initiatives; female pottery co-operatives; and banana, watermelon and mango plantations.

Equally important was meeting our invaluable country staff who are the cornerstone of our programmes, working tirelessly to deliver profound change with our partner villages and communities

First off, we met the rural Hamer and Dassanech tribes in South Omo who greeted us uproariously with a traditional welcoming dance. It wasn’t long before our team found themselves in the thick of this celebration, unable to resist the magnificent spectacle and warm encouragements of each tribe!

Vita works with these minority groups to improve their livestock herds and protect them from drought and competition for dwindling feed for their cattle.

It is also in this increasingly arid area that Vita has begun introducing camel programmes to replace struggling cattle numbers. Camels are far more resilient and adapted to a rain-poor climate than the traditional cow, making them a valuable asset to poorer families.

In Dorze, a village sitting at 3,000m in the glorious Chencha moutains, we met the farmer’s benefitting from our potato seed programme. Dorze is a heavily populated area so the question is – how do you feed everyone and still have crops to sell for a living? Hunger season is still a real issue for this community.

Between dance offs and football games with the local children, we learned about how this programme has helped over 12,000 farmers. Before Vita, the yield was seven tonnes of potatoes per hectare. That figure has quadrupled to 28-30 tonnes per hectare now. Find out more about our life-changing potato programme here or click here to donate.

Avolon and Dublin City Fire Brigade’s fundraising has helped support single mothers through new banana and watermelon farming programmes.  Cholo was one female farmer we met whose life has changed since becoming involved in this project. She has six children and is a single parent. Before this programme, she had nothing – having lost her livestock in a drought. With no way of earning income, Cholo struggled. Now, her first banana crop is ready to beharvested and sold. The bananas she doesn’t sell she can feed to her children who will feel the benefits of having fresh fruit introduced into their diet.

Mamo, the leader of Cholo’s tribe said: “Ireland is our mother – we’ve never seen this kind of crop before. Every day the kebele (which means village) thank Vita – we now have a lot of hope for the future.”

Finally, our last day in Ethiopia ended with the reason we were there: the 10km Great Ethiopian Run that sees 50,000 people take part in Africa’s largest road race (and biggest street party!)

This run is so important to Vita because it raises the vital funds we need to continue delivering the projects so desperately needed on the ground.


However, this is so much more than a run (or walk!) for climate action. It is a PARTY. With live music, face paint, dancing, and singing, this is unlike anything our team had experienced before. A spectacular parade and joyful carnival, this race suited our Irish contingent down to the ground!

We are already looking forward to making 2020’s trip bigger and better and we want YOU to be a part of it. Come and see what climate action means, come and see what change is possible when we work together – come and experience the Great Ethiopian Run!

Email for more.

Treading Lightly…

We are an organisation that believes strongly in climate justice and in the individual and collective responsibility we all have to look after our planet. Therefore, the carbon emissions from this trip are offset by Vita, to ensure we have the lightest footprint possible and that further support is given to our safe cooking and clean water projects.