DUBAI // A project for residents to raise funds while getting fit was launched at Zabeel Park yesterday evening.
Hussein Lootah, the director general of the municipality, said the "Yalla Walk - Every Step is a Reward" programme is expected to raise about Dh500,000 for charity.
"The campaign aims to help the needy and promote walking," Mr Lootah said. "Every walker is going to be fitted with a pedometer and at the end of the campaign we will convert the steps taken to calculate the amount raised."
Mr Lootah said Al Maktoum Foundation and Al Fattan Properties had pledged to make a donation for every step logged, but did not say how much.
Participants arrived at the launch in crowds yesterday.
"I am here to get active," said Rianda Stopforth, a South African health and safety supervisor. "I am not active and this event gives us a good reason to be."
Abdullah Ali, 33, an Emirati, said: "I am planning to take daily walks around the parks. I'm aiming to get a healthier body and lose some weight."
The event will continue throughout Ramadan at walking tracks in Al Mamzar, Zabeel, Al Barsha, Al Khawaneej and Al Safa parks.
"We have 33 world-class walking tracks around Dubai, and this event will not only give a healthy living reward but also a spiritual one," Mr Lootah said.
A meter in the parks will record and show the total distance achieved by walkers there.
The month-long programme will also offer activities, entertainment, promotional giveaways, free food and soft drinks, health check-ups and gifts.
The campaign comes after the successful Yalla Walk this year, in which at least 6,000 people took part.
Mohammed Obaid Ghannam, the secretary general of Al Maktoum Foundation, has said his group will discuss with the municipality how to best distribute the funds.
"We will decide whether to distribute funds locally or internationally, and to what purpose it can benefit those who need our help," said Mr Ghannam.
The foundation last week made plans to ensure Dh2 million worth of basic food supplies is distributed to Palestinian families in refugee camps in Jerash.
To participate in the Yalla Walk, register online at yallawalk.com or call the municipality on 800900.