In August 2016, British Adventurer John Gunn successfully ran across the entire country of Rwanda, a nation infamously known as ‘the land of 1000 hills‘. John ran a total of 450km, starting at the northern Ugandan border and completing the run at the Southern Burundi border, one month later.
As well as an extreme endurance challenge, the Run Rwanda project had a very clear objective:
To visually document how a unique approach to entrepreneurship is fuelling the rapid development of Rwanda
Despite it’s difficult past, Rwanda has shrugged off international aid, in order to pursue an increasingly independent path, guided by a devout commitment to entrepreneurship as a lever for 21st century economic growth. This is a strategy that starts at a grass roots level with an Entrepreneurship Curriculum in schools, and is reinforced by government legislation that’s successfully embedded an entrepreneurial culture into the fabric of everyday Rwandan society.
To learn more about entrepreneurship in the country, the Run Rwanda project officially partnered with the African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC), a Kigali based social enterprise and business accelerator. The AEC work with hundreds of entrepreneurs across the country, and provided the Run Rwanda team with a unique network of inspiring individuals and organisations to document and explore.
While John was running, he was followed every step of the way by photographer Cate Gunn. Although her role didn’t require her to run up and down mountains, it did require a huge amount of patience, as she took on the task of visually documenting the hundreds of unique stories forming modern day Rwanda.
Throughout their month in Rwanda, the team passed through key districts, towns and villages, gaining a wonderful insight into everyday Rwandan life. They met with a diverse range of rural and urban entrepreneurs with one core idea in common. They each had a vital role to play as their country transitioned into a middle-income African nation.
Now back in London, the team are working hard to ensure that the Run Rwanda Project has a positive and lasting impact. Having spent a significant amount of time in the country, it became abundantly clear that typical Western perceptions of Rwanda are still anchored in it’s tragic past.
To start to shift these stagnant perceptions, through celebrating the role of entrepreneurship in Rwanda, the team are now working towards publishing a Photography Book. The book will take the reader on a unique and powerful visual journey through the land of a thousand hills. From inspiring entrepreneurs to captivating landscapes, the book will explore the untold stories creating one of Africa’s most exciting destinations.
If you’d be interested in pre-ordering a copy of the book, please get in touch with the team on: firstname.lastname@example.org