"The World Partnership Walk is a meaningful way to bring everyone together in partnership with those living in poverty," said John Manley, Deputy Prime Minister, said in a statement to kick off the Walk in Ottawa. "Canadians are increasingly becoming aware of the need to take action to end the despair caused by global poverty."
The event is an initiative of Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC), a registered Canadian charitable organization that supports social development projects in Asia and Africa without regard to race, religion, political affiliation or gender. Nazeer Aziz Ladhani, AKFC's Chief Executive Officer, said that "The unparalleled support shown for the Walk across the country - both from individuals and corporations - is an indication of the bond Canadians feel with people in the developing world."
The Walk, which is organized each year by hundreds of dedicated and tireless volunteers, took place simultaneously in Calgary, Edmonton, Kitchener, London, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg. Some 800 corporate sponsors were involved across the country in raising money and awareness in the event, including national media partners The Globe and Mail and CTV. "Canadians are looking for what they can do to make a difference and we're responding to that," said Phillip Crawley, publisher of The Globe and Mail, which has a three year agreement to promote the Walk. Additional information can be found, and donations made by sponsoring a virtual walker, on the event website at
www.worldpartnershipwalk.com. The next Walk will be on Sunday, May 25, 2003. Because the administrative costs are from a separate budget, 100% of the money raised in the Walk goes to support efforts by Aga Khan Foundation Canada to address the root causes of poverty, finding, using and sharing solutions that help to end human suffering and improve quality of life at the local level. Many of the Foundation's programs are undertaken in partnership with the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The agency matches funds raised by the Walk, which effectively doubles the value of donations.