Hope in the Desert Looks to Bring Exercise Opportunities to Women in Palestine

November 9, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Provided by The Athletes’ Table
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While some events are created to crown the fittest, others are to create earning opportunities for athletes, and some for a bit of friendly competition — this throw down is for a cause that hits close to home for many in meaning, albeit quite far across the globe for most.

As a completely free online competition (Dec. 2-4, 2022) comprised of a single parter workout, Hope in the Desert was created to help bring accessibility to fitness for women in the Palestinian city of Jericho. Located just east of Jerusalem, the community population is about 23,000, half of which is female, with little to no access to safe sports facilities or exercise programs. 

For some background, this project is one of many initiatives by The Athletes’ Table, a non-profit organization founded in 2020 and made up of current and former athletes aiming to bring access to sport opportunities for people around the world in a way that’s “SIMPLE”: safe, inclusive, mentored, public, local and equitable. 

  • Their mission is to “ensure that all people on the planet have access to that uniting power of sport and the community transformation that it cultivates and that it brings,” according to co-founder and The Athletes’ Table President, Jonah German.
  • The World Health Organization reports that over a quarter of the global population is insufficiently active, and this causes negative impacts on health systems, economic development, quality of life and the environment.

“It’s not just a problem that is facing the global south or third world or disadvantaged communities, which we often associate these problems with,” German said. “This is a problem that’s facing every corner of our planet.”

Hope in the Desert benefits Jericho specifically, because as a rather rural, isolated city, it’s lagging in opportunities for organized sports (high quality coaches, exercise outlets, safe facilities, and the like). And, the emphasis on the female population is because “in Jericho, it’s easier for boys and men to be able to just go outside and find somewhere relatively flat to be able to kick a ball around or to play. But, for girls and women, just because of cultural and religious norms, that’s not really an option or a good option,” German said. 

  • Funds raised from this online competition will directly support building a first of its kind multi-purpose facility in the area.
  • German states: “This project and this CrossFit style workout that we’re doing is designed to, at the most basic level, get people moving (and) get communities all around the world doing a workout that is the same for everyone.”

The workout: The Hope in the Desert WOD was created to be easily accessible and scalable. There’s no registration fee, and a leaderboard will be available to compare your time with others around the globe. 

  • For time with a partner, you’ll complete:*

800m run
80 wall balls (14/20) to 9/10’
80 burpees
800m run
80 kettlebell swings 35/53
80 box jumps (20/24)
800m run
80 suitcase lunges (35/53)
80 pull-ups
800m run

*partition as desired 

Show your support: Sign-up for the WOD on our competition page. Additionally:

  • Apparel purchases directly support the initiative, so grab a t-shirt here
  • Consider joining The Dream Team, a monthly giving program that helps power these programs. The recommended donation amount is $10, however for $25/month, you can cover a child’s access to sports for an entire year.
  • And, practice awareness: Keep in mind that being able to grab a friend and have a safe, clean place to workout is not a privilege that everyone around the world gets to indulge in. Show gratitude to your training partner, gym owner, or yourself for showing up today.

As a Morning Chalk Up partner event, we’ll be bringing you coverage on Hope in the Desert as it draws closer, so check back for updates. See you on the leaderboard!

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