06/03/2013 03:30 EDT | Updated 08/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Calgary's World Partnership Walk - Taking Steps to End Global Poverty


One of my earliest memories as a child was going to Prince's Island Park in Calgary every June to walk The World Partnership Walk. Back then, I looked forward to it because we made it a family affair. I would head down to the park with my family and it seemed that in exchange for walking a mere 8 kilometers or so, I would receive a delicious chili lunch, have a chance to take part in some fun activities, get my face painted and even come away with a few prizes (it was all well worth the stickers).

These early June excursions have persisted throughout my life and it was only in recent years that I really questioned why I walk - besides a chance to really experience one of Calgary's most beautiful parks, that is.

The walk is a Canadian affair and is initiated by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) which is a non-profit international development agency, working in countries in Asia and Africa to find active solutions in combating global poverty. The walk was actually started by a small group of Vancouver women way back in 1985 who had come from Asia and Africa and wanted to give back to their home country. They convinced 1,000 fellow citizens to join and raised $55,000! Imagine how much the walk has grown since then. Forty thousand people participate every year across our country and so far, over $75 million dollars have been made to make a difference. Seven million dollars were raised across 10 Canadian cities in 2012 alone.


The World Partnership Walk isn't just taking steps to end global poverty, it's taking strides. What's unique to this fundraiser is that absolutely 100% percent of the funds raised are used to fund international development; not a single penny is spent on administration or running the organization. The projects the funds are used for are designed to provide sustainable solutions which can make a long-term difference in communities in need. Whether those dollars are implemented in programs in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Egypt, Mozambique or countless other countries, the projects make a phenomenal difference in the lives of people globally. Because of AKFC and Canadians' support, children are being given further chances at education, access to maternal and child health services is being improved, midwives and nurses have a chance at Canadian training so they can transfer this knowledge back to their homeland, aspiring and previously impoverished entrepreneurs are being given loans and training and farmers around the world are improving their skills - just to name a few ways the dollars are used.


If you come out and join Calgary's 2013 walk on June 9th, I promise you that it will not be a wasted step. You will be joining citizens in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Regina, London, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton and Kitchener in helping the Aga Khan Foundation's organization make great leaps! Did you know that The World Partnership Walk is Canada's largest fundraising event against global poverty and is run by thousands of volunteers? Don't miss this fantastic opportunity and come out to Calgary's Prince's Island Park to enjoy some exercise, purchase some refreshments and even experience some entertainment. Bikers, rollerbladers and those with pets are also welcome! If you can't make it, you can still donate online to support someone you know participating in the Walk.

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