This year’s CARE International Three Peaks Challenge, scheduled for the weekend of 13-14 June 2009, in association with Computer Weekly, is gathering pace, with eight teams now signed up for the trek.
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The annual challenge is aimed solely at IT teams, with all money raised going to aid agency CARE International.
Last year’s event raised a massive £100,000 for the charity, money needed by the organisation as it helps 55 million people around the world find a route out of poverty, including current work to help families affected by the recent violence in Gaza.
Those signed up will have an exciting, but tough adventure. The trip will involve climbing the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales in 24 hours, so teams will need a driver to ferry them between Ben Nevis in Scotland, Snowdon in Wales and Scafell Pike in the Lake District.
Despite the difficulties, eight adventurous IT teams from around the UK have already signed up to the challenge. Tony Parkinson, managing director of Options Systems, had several reasons for getting involved.
“I saw the article in Computer Weekly before Christmas, and was immediately attracted by the physical challenge, the opportunity for team building within my company, and helping a very worthy cause. And, of course, it sounds fun,” he said.
Parkinson pinned the article on the company notice-board to see if anyone would be interested. “It started a buzz around the office, and a couple of days later, half the company had persuaded themselves that they might be contenders.”
Any team taking on the challenge will need to train for the event and raise £6,000 between them.
While it sounds like a lot, CARE International gives teams plenty of support and suggests different ways of raising the money. A member of staff visits each team early on to make sure they have a good fund-raising plan in place, and helps them with suggestions for training.
On the fitness side, anyone who signs up now will still have five months to get used to hill-walking and build their speed.
Options System’s Parkinson plans to get the whole company involved. “The main thrust of our fund-raising will be from customers, suppliers and business partners, as well as friends, relatives and neighbours. We have a team of nine, and once we start fund-raising we will co-opt other staff to make it a whole company effort,” he said.
The company’s walking team is well organised, with two drivers and a team chef recruited. On the fitness front, they have a bit of a head start, with three regular runners, an ex-pro American Football player and a keen kickboxer on the team. The team is also planning “at least one full-scale equipment and fitness shakedown in May”.
CARE’s in-house Challenge team is organising the event. The charity’s aid and development work in 70 countries around the world makes the effort worthwhile.
An important aspect of CARE’s work is to support refugees whose lives have been devastated by conflict. Technology is playing an increasingly important part in the relocation of refugees, and in the rehabilitation of people affected by natural disasters or conflict.
In one example, development staff used Google Earth and global positioning satellite (GPS) technology to help re-house people after the 2006 tsunami in south-east Asia.
Lizzie Babister, emergency shelter and reconstruction senior specialist at CARE International, said, “A lot of people’s land records had been washed away. We used Google Earth to take an aerial photo, and used mapping software to produce a map from this. We then worked with the community to determine how the land was divided up before the tsunami, helping them to find the site of their home.”
The software was also used in Haiti, where a hurricane devastated people’s homes with mudslides and floods last October.
The technology has hugely improved the process of re-settling displaced people.
“I have seen site plans done on the back of envelopes. It can cause big problems if you are not able to plan properly. With an aerial photo, you can see details you cannot see on the ground,” Babister said.
To find out more about the Care Three Peaks Challenge, go to www.carechallenge.org.uk or call 020 7934 9470.
View photos from last year's challenge