Laikipia Highland Games
Sports as a means to promoting peace dates back from the times of the first Olympics and has recently been recognized by the United Nations as a powerful tool to promote reconciliation.
The Laikipia Highlands games, born in October 2008, -is an annual sporting initiative aimed to use the fundamental values of sport in fostering good will, build relations, bridge divisions, and harness the natural competitive spirit of youth and the recognized high potential of Kenya Highlands athletes, to engage in peaceful competitions that put their fitness to test, at the same time offering unique opportunities to emerging new athletes. The Gallmann memorial Foundation partners with the Kenyan Olympic Committee and Keino Sports Marketing to create this event and to tap into Kenyan sporting talent every year.
The games are an unusual and exciting combination of modern athletics and colorful traditional tribal games played amongst African tribes since generations. Over 3000 participants converge in Laikipia Nature Conservancy on the third weekend of September in their full tribal finery to celebrate Peace Day every year.
Paul Tergat, one of Kenya’s finest athletes and former world record holder in the 10,000 meters and marathon said “this is a unique event that brings warring communities together through sport in the most unique setting. It is indeed the Kenya that we want. It is also a great way to tap talent amongst these communities and at the same time, encouraging them to conserve nature and protect the wildlife in that unique part of Kenya”.
Several talented young athletes have been selected for further training by the Kipchoge Kipkeino High Altitude Olympic training center where they have honed their skills and now have professional sporting careers.
By combining Peace and Sport across such a tremendous array of tribes and communities currently involved in conflict, and by offering their youth the only opportunity to interact, The Laikipia Highlands Games-is crucial to the development of a peace process in the area.
The Laikipia Highland Games was awarded the 2009 ‘Sport and Peace Best Event’ from the Prince of Monaco Foundation for Sport and Peace.