Join us on an epic journey to find, then share, best practice in delivery of child survival to improve the lives of millions across the world. It won’t be the same without you!
The 10 City Bridge Run is a citizen led initiative that asks a simple, but important, question: “how might we use our networks to improve child survival?”
The 10 City Bridge Run begins with a seemingly impossible challenge where Matt Jones, an Australian soldier turned social entrepreneur, will run 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km, in 10 cities across 10 countries. This is a stunt to open a conversation asking how might we use our networks to improve child survival.
Healthy children, with healthy mothers, in healthy communities. This is our vision.
The purpose of the 10 City Bridge Run draws inspiration from the words of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim:
It’s time for the international community to compile global delivery knowledge and mobilise it for practice. Leaders in government, business, and civil society must pool their knowledge and strengths so that the most effective delivery practices can be scaled and standardised worldwide.
The outcome of the 10 City Bridge Run is to find, then share, best-practice in delivery of child survival.
Our Stretch Goal
Our stretch goal is to work with the global community to surpass the Millennium Development Goal 4 (child mortality) target in the quickest time possible.
The 10 City Bridge Run is framed within the context of the United Nations Millennium Develop Goals, specifically with a focus to Millennium Development Goal 4 which seeks to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015 from a recorded 1990 level. While progress has been good to date, as a global community we may fail to reach this objective. Presently, this means that close to 17,000 children die every day from largely preventable causes, such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria. More than six million children under the age of five will die this year, for reasons that are unnecessary. While there has been progress since 1990, Tony Lake, the Executive Director of UNICEF, is right when he described this situation as a ‘moral obscenity’ in 2012.. With the Millennium Development Goal deadline of 2015 so close to the horizon, the 10 City Bridge Run will address how we transition to a post-MDG agenda.
Context: The Commonwealth
Around 40% of child deaths occur in only three Commonwealth countries alone (India, Pakistan, Nigeria). This is a staggering figure, and is worth pausing for a moment just to take this in.
Eight of the countries where running will occur are members of the Commonwealth (Australia, India, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and United Kingdom). The other two countries are the United States and Angola.
We are seeking to leverage the considerable network of the Commonwealth across its 54 countries during the 10 City Bridge Run. The Commonwealth does remain a valuable resource to draw upon to convene action, and so we should not let that go redundant.
Framing the conversation
We are asking “what would this look like if women held the answers?”
Every mother, regardless of where they live, will have something to contribute on a conversation about shaping child survival, and this is a resource well worth listening too.
This is not to say that only women have the answers, but it invites a fresh perspective on how we draw upon the expert opinion for thought leaders and ordinary people alike.
Running: a stunt to open an important conversation
The 10 City Bridge Run begins with a stunt of running 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km, in 10 cities across 10 countries. The purpose of the stunt is to open a conversation about child survival which will be unpacked through a series of ‘design forum’ held in each city where running occurs.
The final of the 10 runs will be a full distance marathon run in Kenya in early 2014, where many of the world’s greatest distance runners will be invited to attend so that we can together celebrate the completion of the journey, as well as celebrating progress that has been made in the delivery of child survival throughout the world.
This is a journey that is intentionally ambitious, matching the need for change to achieve the elusive goal for reduced child mortality defined by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG). “When things aren’t working the way they should be, you have the makings of a great design product”, Bruce Mau the renowned designer once said.
In each city where running occurs, a design forum will be held. The design forum will unpack the theme for the 10 City Bridge Run, asking “how might we use our networks to improve child survival?”
The outcome is to find, then share, best practice in delivery of child survival to improve the lives of millions of people across the world. The theme of the design forum is examined in the backdrop to another question, so important to the issue of child survival: “What would this look like if women held the answer?“
At the culmination of the 10 City Bridge Run during 2014, a global conference is proposed to be held in Glasgow to bring together all of the learnings from the 10 City Bridge Run, and look ahead to determining how best to share and scale the information to create large scale impact on reducing child mortality especially moving into a post-MDG agenda.
Life Bridge: The Importance of Connection. The book funding this journey
A book titled Life Bridge: The Importance of Connection is being published to illuminate the idea presented by the 10 City Bridge Run. How can we connect together with others, both near and far, in order to make a difference? This idea will be communicated through a beautifully curated photo essay of 100 ‘human bridges’. Each photograph an imaginative and creative expression of the imperative for connection to bridge a path over challenges that we encounter, and to help close the gap.
The 10 City Bridge Run is being funded through the pre-sale of the book Life Bridge: The Importance of Connection. It is an inexpensive contribution to help shape a big and important conversation. Will you join us on the journey by pre-purchasing a copy? It won’t be the same without you!
Please support this initiative by becoming a supporter. The cost is modest, and will result in best practice being shared to communities where the information is needed most. Consider the scale of the journey ahead and the conversations which your contribution will allow to unfold; we need your help. You could pre-purchase a copy of Life Bridge: The Importance of Connection for $24 as a softcover copy delivered to you, or $240 for a hardback copy delivered to you. You could also make a smaller $5 encouragement contribution. All support is important! Please support this journey by pre-purchasing your copy here.
Defining child survival
We define the delivery of child survival as being inclusive of health, education and freedom, along with consideration to the health and wellbeing of the mother. We believe it is more than simply enabling a child to live beyond the age of five. These three factors of health, education and freedom contribute to the quality of life which we believe is worth surviving for.
Child survival is more than ‘not dying’. We are seeking to gather best practice for the delivery of child survival. Here is a definition of delivery involves, paraphrased from a recent McKenzie & Co report:
The art and science of delivering improvements in health care, education, food security, and other areas to the people that need them most- at scale, effectively, efficiently and sustainably to ensure every child has the greatest opportunity to live in freedom past the age of five.
Never ever give up!
The 10 City Bridge Run was first conceived in 2010. Not everything has worked, but each delay and obstacle presented an opportunity to find a better way forward. Mostly, delays have occurred by of lack of access to the required level of funding. Setbacks called to mind the advice from an accomplished mentor from 2007: “Never ever give up!”
Why 24 km? Why the challenge?
Each run of 24 km is representative of the 24,000 children who died daily based on 2008 UNICEF data recording 8.8 million under-five deaths – known as ‘child mortality’. It is sobering to consider that 50% of these deaths take place in five countries alone.
In 2000, all 192 nations signed up to eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) with the aim of reducing extreme poverty and advancing human development in a range of critical areas by 2015. This included Millennium Development Goal 4 Reduce Child Mortality (MDG 4).
In September 2010, a high-level meeting at the United Nations in New York attended by 170 world leaders indicated that despite the earlier commitment, achieving the Millennium Development Goals appeared to be out of reach because of their national funding constraints during the global financial crisis. Indications are that of the 66 countries defined as having high child mortality rates (calculated as 40 under-five deaths per 1,000 live births), only 15 are currently on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals target.
As of 2010, just over 40% of the US$25 billion promised to Africa had been met. To put that into perspective, more money was spent on stimulus packages to ailing banks in the US during the 2007-2010 global financial crisis than has been delivered in aid to Africa across history.
The irony of that meeting in New York was loud. World leaders and their entourages, followed by a large caravan of advocacy groups, flying to New York to have a conversation about extreme poverty… An appropriate use of resources? Maybe it was. But Marshall McLuhan’s words might also ring true: ”The message is in the medium“.
This is a difficult ethical issue. The 10 City Bridge Run works from an assumption that the answers are mostly out there already, but there is more connection required to leverage the effort that is already being committed. We are not necessarily going to find more money from government in the current fiscal environment, but we have enormous potential using the most precious at our disposal: the connections we share with each other.
This is the Bantu (African) word meaning: “United! Work together!“. Harambee! is the rallying call for the 10 City Bridge Run.
Another Bantu saying has shaped this initiative greatly:
If you want to go fast, travel alone; if you want to travel far, then let’s go together.
We would love to see you get involved! Get connected here.
Harambee! It won’t be the same without you!