Why (Abidjan) Côte d’Ivoire?
In all honesty, Côte d’Ivoire might have earned a spot on this list for being the world’s largest exporter of cocoa. Add this being one of the largest coffee exporters and I was sold. But what’s more? I get to explore Abidjan, the 4th largest French-speaking city in the world, experience the country’s rich film history and dance to the rhythms of Ivorian music. The Côte d’Ivoire marathon is a marvel itself, with about 1,500 total participants but a whopping 850,000 spectators along the route.
I will be partnering with Empow’her, a French organization with deep roots in the Côte d’Ivoire, for more reasons than one. While I will be supporting them as I do any of the other Run to Reach organizations, I will also be working with Empow’her to coordinate the marathon in Abidjan. As the official race is not taking place this year, we hope to team up to bring together local runners from Abidjan and the rest of the Côte d’Ivoire in the name of the sport and the mission of Empow’her: to boost women’s empowerment through entrepreneurship training and strengthening decision-making. This has been the goal since its founding in 2011, and through the past 8 years Empow’her has established 5 programs across 9 countries and supported over 2,000 woman entrepreneurs. At the rate the world is going now, it will take another 217 years before economic inequality — specifically the disadvantage facing women — disappears. Empow’her hopes to shorten this timeline drastically and encourage others to do the same.