SUMMARY OF RACING FOR SDGS 2.1 “MOVE AGAINST COVID 19” EVENT HELD ON 6TH AND 7TH JUNE 2020 IN ABUJA, NIGERIA
The Covid-19 global pandemic has had a devastating effect on the global economy as government’s all around the world grapple with the economic aftermath of lockdowns which were implemented to prevent a deepening of the health crisis. Whole economies were totally or partially shutdown resulting in severe value chain disruption.
The World Bank analysis show that growth in Sub-Saharan Africa has been significantly impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and is forecast to fall sharply from 2.4% in 2019 to between -2.1 and -5.1% in 2020, estimating that the region could lose between $37 billion and $79 billion in output losses. As a result, unemployment figures have risen, stock markets have collapsed, and oil prices have slumped.
To combat the virus, restrictions on movement of people internationally and locally by World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) remains the key pillar to controlling the spread. Specific guidelines on movement and hygiene were also issued which include frequent washing of hands with soap and water, limiting gatherings of people to under 20 and physical distancing.
Furthermore, in May, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for concerted global action to quash the “tsunami” of hate speech that has risen alongside the COVID-19 pandemic and appealed to everyone everywhere to follow the WHO guidelines, strengthen their immunity against hate and hate speech. He also called for all people to treat each other with dignity, take every opportunity to spread kindness and for educational institutions to focus on digital literacy as a way to reinforce social cohesion within people amidst the crisis.
Aims and Objectives
It was against this background and in line with the call of the UN Secretary General, that we as social entrepreneurs put together a cycling event in the city of Abuja, Nigeria themed Racing for SDGs 2.1 “Move against COVID 19” (Phase 2 of the Implementation of a Cycling Culture in Nigeria using the Paris Climate Change Landmark Agreement) in a bid to:
(i) foster social cohesion between a diverse group of people in line with SDG goal 17(partnership for all the goals);
(ii) promote the bicycle as a fitness tool in line with SDG goal 3(good health and wellbeing);
(iii) show solidarity to the unbanked/underserved members of the cycling and paracycling community in line with goal 10(reduced inequality);
(iv) promote the bicycle as a clean form of transportation in line with goal 13(climate action);
(v) promote the bicycle as an excellent physical distancing transportation tool in line with the guidelines of the NCDC.
To achieve this, an Individual Time Trial Cycling competition for a group of 30 persons who were pre-registered was put together after which they participated at the event held on the 6th and 7th of June 2020.
In compliance with the NCDC guidelines, the event proper was held over two (2) days with fifteen (15) persons participating on each day with well managed and staggered start times thereby complying with the protocol of restricting gatherings to not more than 20 people. Furthermore, spectators were not allowed at the venue and strict rules were put in place for the entire event to ensure participants observed physical distancing.
Cyclists raced in different categories and were issued staggered start times thereby competing against the clock on a 7km circuit track as opposed to the conventional ITT cycling competition style which focuses on one category, terrain, and athlete per time.
The event fully deployed various innovative technologies using online camera tech and mobile apps such as Zoom, Strava, Map My Ride etc to meet with, track cyclists and to observe their individual performances virtually.
The event was ranked a total success according to feedback received from both participants and the online cycling community. Furthermore, we also took our campaign to social media platforms and promoted physical distancing, digital economy and contributed to the campaign against fake news. More importantly, we promoted the bicycle as a physical distancing tool and as a clean form of transportation and fitness tool.
A fraction of the proceeds from the event was used to refurbish a paracycling wheelchair, procure a sport wheelchair as support to two (2) persons with disability in the paracycling community. Thirty (30) less privileged cyclists in the six (6) geopolitical zone of the country were also given N5,000 each to help cushion the effect of the crisis.
One key achievement of this novel event was that we used it to demonstrate that cycling is a far more dynamic non-contact sport as compared to others and as such competitions and activities can still be held in this format even amidst the Covid-19 crisis. It can become the new normal approach to cycling events if the entire process is taken as a whole.
This event was also designed to showcase our proposed SDGs Center of Excellence and the capability of our app which was primarily designed to help with coordinating COVID era movement and contribute to economic resilience and revitalise the economy through value added partnerships within communities and the environment.
With the right support and resources, we can use our app and the process we used for the cycling event to support the Nigerian government in combating COVID-19 and its economic impact.
Dapper Exclusive Style Limited, Nigeria