THE Government has congratulated the Geita Gold Mine Limited (GGM) for introducing the GGM Kilimanjaro Challenge against HIV and AIDS programme that also improves the economy of the nation.
Showering the praises yesterday, the Minister for Natural resources and Tourism, Dr Khamis Kigwangalla, while flagging off this year’s version of the programme (The GGM Kili Challenge 2019) at the Machame Gate of the Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA), further said the drive was important on raising funds for the fight against AIDS pandemic.
“I understand that apart from its main objective of raising funds to fight HIV and AIDS, this programme has also made a significant contribution towards increasing the number of tourists visiting Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
“After the Kilimanjaro Challenge programme, participants residing outside the country do go to tell their colleagues back home about the Africa’s highest mountain and its wonders as well as the hospitality of Tanzanians and thereby some decide later to visit Tanzania and hence increase our tourists numbers,” added the Minister.
He pointed out that he was also planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro later this year, may be in September with the intention of raising funds for the AIDS Trust Fund (ATF) meant for the fight against HIV and AIDS, as well as market local tourism.
He said that his main aim is to mobilize Tanzanians in big numbers to also visit country’s tourist’s attraction sites.
Equally, Dr Kigwangalla hailed the Board of the Kili Trust which he said in collaboration with the GGM Limited, Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and other stakeholders for the GGM Kilimanjaro Challenge have contributed a lot in the well-being of Tanzanians, especially those living and affected by HIV and AIDS in one way or another.
Speaking during the occasion, the GGM Limited Managing Director, Mr Richard Jordinson, said that a total of 13bn/- has been raised since the inception of the GGM Kilimanjaro Challenge against AIDS back in 2002.
“Since its inception in 2002, this programme has played a major role and still continues to play an important part in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Tanzania,” he said.
However, he thanked all the institutions and individuals who have and still continue to cooperate with GGM Limited in the programme and urged other stakeholders to come out and join them for the sake of all Tanzanians.
According to Mr Jordinson, 80 participants will participate in both categories of the Mount Kilimanjaro climb and bicycle riding, as part of this year’s GGM Kilimanjaro Challenge against HIV and AIDS, where 17 of them are from outside the country.
On his side, the TACAIDS Executive Director, Dr Leonard Maboko, thanked the GGM Limited and other stakeholders for their contributions in the campaign through the GGM Kilimanjaro Challenge.
“Your cooperation in this programme is a clear evidence and good example of the Public Private Partnership (PPP),” he pointed out, adding that the package also compliments the TACAIDS and the government’s efforts in the fight against the disease.
“This partnership is very important in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the country especially when put in consideration that statistics show that there are 200 new infections every day,” he said.
Dr Maboko further said that the number that translates as 73,000 new infections a year has majority being the youth that means that the fight against the disease is still necessary.