Southern Californians can strike a blow against poverty in Africa and Asia by joining Sunday in the 18th annual Partnership Walk.
The event, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Santa Monica Pier, is held in 10 major U.S. cities each year. Money raised goes to reduce global poverty and its close companions: hunger, illiteracy and poor health.
Last year's Los Angeles area walk raised more than $400,000, according to Rafiq Ghaswala, a spokesman for the Aga Khan Foundation USA, which established the Partnership Walk.
"Participants help communities in some of the poorest areas of Africa and Asia to create long-term, self-help solutions to lift themselves out of poverty," the organization said in a written statement about the project. "These contributions make a tremendous impact in creating opportunities for girls in Afghanistan to go to school, for farmers in Mali to feed their families and mothers in India to lead healthy lives."
This year's speaker is Jim Dyer, district governor-elect for the Rotary Club of America. Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom will be among opening ceremony participants. Other special guests include TV actors Noureen DeWulf of "Anger Management" and Parvesh Cheena of "Outsourced."
Walkers can learn more about the project and sign up at http://www.partnershipsinaction.org/LA. Registration can also be done at the pier on Sunday, starting at 9 a.m. Another option is to sponsor a walker.
Other cities holding Partnership Walks are Atlanta; Birmingham, Ala.; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Memphis, Tenn.; Orlando, Fla.; San Antonio; and San Francisco.
The foundation's PartnershipsInAction activities, including annual walk and golf events, have drawn more than 380,000 participants and raised $48 million, foundation officials said.
Established in 1981, the foundation is a private, non-denominational, nonprofit international development organization committed to alleviating poverty. It is part of the Aga Khan Development Network.