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International Mountain Day

What is International Mountain Day about?

The United Nations (UN) theme for International Mountain Day is “Women move mountains”, referring to the prominent role women play in their communities towards environmental protection, while incorporating both the social and economic development of their societies. Rural communities in particular are often forgotten or overlooked in terms of investment and resource allocation to the detriment of the land and society. Since women often remain in rural societies, while young and able-bodied people (often men) leave for potential work opportunities in urban cities, women are most likely left to take the role of community leaders and defenders of injustices. The UNs initiative aims to acknowledge the often-undermined work of these women, who fulfil traditionally male-dominated roles yet still face discrimination in decision-making processes.

rural mozambique
People who live in rural areas are the most at risk of experiencing the effects of environmental degradation (photograph by Shaakirah Adams).

Sustainable Development Goals

This theme includes the UNs Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 of Gender Equality and 15 of Life on Land with the focus on women’s roles in conservation of biodiversity, the threat of climate change and the overexploitation of vulnerable areas. The UN has worked on projects in the past that improved the environmental sustainability of communities that were once struck by poverty resulting in the upliftment of women. Success stories of this can be found in the UNs Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Africa School and Community Guideline Books in which Umvoto was involved.

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The Golden Gate Highlands National Park hosts the beautiful views of the Clarens Mountains in the Free State (photograph by Shaakirah Adams).
drakensberg mountains
The Drakensberg hosts some of the most spectacular mountains in southern Africa (photograph by Shaakirah Adams).

What is Umvoto and TUFs role?

International Mountain Day, provides the opportunity to appreciate the role of mountains in which 60-80% of the worlds freshwater resides. The Umvoto Foundation (TUF) incorporates this aspect with SDG 15 in the creation of guidebooks and hiking trails in the southwestern Cape. The first guidebook, “The History of the Table Mountain Dams and Cape Town’s Water Supply” includes environmental descriptions along the trails (such as the geology, hydrogeology, hydrology, climatology, etc.) allowing readers to engage with the landscape and build an appreciation for the natural history of the area.

tm geotrails guidebook announcement 2
tm geotrails guidebook announcement 4

One of TUFs inaugural hikes in June of this year.

2022 International Mountain Day aspires to shed light on women who take a stand for issues relating to environmental degradation and the overall wellbeing of their communities, such as a lack of clean drinking water, the environmental effects of climate change, and holding the current systems in place accountable. Umvoto wishes to extend this theme of acknowledging the work of women moving mountains by joining the conversation #MountainsMatter and by promoting the need for gender equality in the space of environmental sustainability.

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muizenberg, Cape town