The Rhino Charge 2023, held at the picturesque Nkoteyia Community Conservancy, has set a remarkable fundraising record, collecting a staggering Sh173 million.
This grand event, filled with vibrancy and enthusiasm, witnessed the participation of 52 cars competing in a challenging rally to generate funds for crucial environmental conservation initiatives.
The top fundraiser of the event was Adil Khawaja of Car 44 (AK44), who raised an impressive Sh60 million, surpassing last year's achievement of Sh21.7 million.
Following closely behind were Peter Kinyua's Car No. 23 and Tim Carstens' Car No. 63, securing the second and third positions, respectively, in the fundraising category.
During the prize-giving ceremony, President William Ruto expressed his unwavering support for the organizers and their endeavours in environmental conservation.
He congratulated the Rhino Ark Trust and its partners, emphasizing the significance of their collaboration in safeguarding essential assets around the country's water towers.
"Congratulations to the Rhino Ark Trust and all partners who have put this event together for the phenomenal work on matters pertaining to environmental conservation. Your partnership in fencing some of our very important assets around our water towers is something for which we are eternally grateful," Ruto stated.
"We are now more determined than ever to ensure that we live in an environmentally friendly world. I promise you our collaboration and commitment on environmental issues."
The overall winner of the 2023 Rhino Charge challenge was Car No. 48, skillfully led by Mark Glen. Securing the second and third positions were Car No. 38, captained by Sean Avery, and Car No. 5, steered by Graham McKittrick, respectively.
In the Modified Class Category, Car No. 60 (Mbuzi Bandits), helmed by Ajitesh Kapoor, emerged as the triumphant team. Meanwhile, the unmodified category was claimed by Car No. 9 (Gumtree 4 x 4), led by John Bowden.
Car No. 33 (Team Huzi), captained by Jeremy Holley, triumphed in the Tiger Line (Slater - Flower Watch) category, and Car No. 22 (The smiling Shenzis) emerged victorious in the Tiger Line (Oceanagri - Sandstorm) Category.
Graham McKittrick of Car No. 5 was honored with the prestigious Victor Ludom Award.
Mark Glen, the leader of the winning team, expressed his exhilaration at the challenging course and his commitment to environmental conservation.
"This is one of the toughest courses I have experienced so far here in Kenya. However, I am thrilled by this noble cause spearheaded towards environmental conservation. I participate in the Rhino Charge because I firmly believe in the urgent need to protect our environment and preserve biodiversity," Gled said.
"Each step I take in this challenge symbolizes a powerful gesture aimed at raising awareness about our critical role in safeguarding our planet's natural treasures. Through my participation, I strive to inspire others to embrace their responsibility and take action in conserving our ecosystems, thus ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come."
Apart from the funds raised for environmental conservation, a generous donation of Sh7 million was made during the prize-giving ceremony to benefit the Nkoteyia community, where the event took place.
Rhino Ark Trust contributed Sh5 million, while the Head of State donated Sh2 million.
This year's Rhino Charge received significant support from Safaricom, with a sponsorship of Sh15 million.
Additionally, the M-PESA Foundation pledged its commitment to assist in the restoration of Kakamega Forest through the Rhino Ark Kenya Charitable Trust and its partners.
These initiatives aim to raise funds and preserve ecosystems, biodiversity, and livelihoods through environmental conservation.
The Rhino Charge Challenge has consistently aimed to generate funds for environmental conservation initiatives.
Throughout the years, this event has successfully raised significant amounts of money to support wildlife conservation, habitat preservation, and community development projects in the region.
The funds generated have played a pivotal role in protecting endangered species, restoring ecosystems, and improving local livelihoods.