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Walk for Education: World Economic Forum and UBS to Challenge Davos Participants


The World Economic Forum today launched “The Davos Challenge: Walk for Education”, a programme designed to help cut the time children travel to school in rural areas and improve their learning opportunities. The project is a collaboration with UBS and World Bicycle Relief.

Poor transport infrastructure combined with long distances to school mean that many children in Africa are not getting an adequate education and, therefore, are ill-equipped to fight the cycle of poverty. For instance, in rural South Africa many have to walk up to 9 kilometres to school every day. This cuts into their learning time or even stops them attending school altogether. Providing schoolchildren with robust bicycles built for rugged country terrain can reduce their travel times by 75%, boosting attendance and educational achievement, according to the programme.

If Davos participants walk on average 6 kilometres for education during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2015, UBS and the UBS Optimus Foundation will donate 2,500 specially designed bicycles to a schoolchild in rural South Africa, one for every Davos participant. The bicycles will be provided by World Bicycle Relief, a not-for-profit organization in Africa, which is dedicated to improving access to education and increasing learning outcomes by reducing travel time for children.

“It is in the true spirit of social entrepreneurship to seek innovative ways to significantly improve the lives of children,” says Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab. “The Meeting in Davos is the ideal place to present creative solutions to improve the state of the world. That’s why we support UBS for the Davos Challenge: Walk for Education, a programme that will advance the learning potential for children.”

The first 1,000 participants to sign up for the challenge at the meeting in Davos will be given electronic pedometers to log the distance they walk individually in order to calculate the collective average.

[p"All children should have access to education and the opportunity to learn,” says Axel Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Corporate Responsibility Committee. “In our view, we have a great responsibility to children, and also a responsibility to our shareholders to ensure that our philanthropic activities are highly impactful. This programme reflects our commitment to both these goals.”[/p]

Based on the projected combined results of the Forum participants, UBS and the UBS Optimus Foundation expect to donate a total of 2,500 Buffalo Bicycles through World Bicycle Relief.

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The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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