Past Honorees

Honorees 2017

Buya Mukonzo Winfred

Founder, Empower Her Initiative

Buya Mukonzo Winfred is a final year student at Maseno studying Public Health with Information Technology, She is the Founder and Director of Empower HER Initiative, an initiative that mentors women and girls to become agents of social and economic change.

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She founded the initiative during her term of leadership as a student leader to challenge women and girls to do more.
She is the 3rd born in a family of 5, 4 girls and one boy. Growing up, her parents gave them equal opportunities to thrive regardless of their gender. At the moment the initiative has grown and expanded its operations in 2 counties, Vihiga and Kisumu where they actively mentor the girl child.

In campus, in partnership with other NGOs she also trains female students who’d like to contest for elective positions in leadership and nurture their leadership ambitions. This has led to a tremendous increase in female representation as candidates for elective positions. She also trains students on hands on skills such as mat weaving, braiding and nail art that gives them extra income to meet their needs. She also organizes forums over a cup of coffee in partnership with the school to talk about issues affecting women in campus and come up solutions.

She also has support programs for young mums who are campus students with kids through advocacy, economic empowerment and enabling them to strike a balance between school and responsibility.

She is also passionate about transformational leadership, as it’s only through this that we can have a better society ..

Natalie Robi

Msichana Empowerment – Kuria

Natalie Robi Tingo has more than three years’ experience in the non-profit sector and holds a B.A in Economics from Moi University, Kenya. She is the Founder of Msichana Empowerment Kuria. An organization she founded at 19 years old.

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Her organization reaches more than 30,000 people from her community in Southern Kenya with End Female Genital Mutilation, education, human rights, youth, and women empowerment programs. Her belief in ending all forms of violence against women and girls, through involving youth creative ideas in solving social problems prompted her to develop youth led programs that are ensuring the organization achieves its goals. In 2015 she was selected for the Accountability Advocate project for Sustainable Development Goals with Restless Development Youth Power Global Campaign and developed a national accountability framework, a blueprint that young people will use in their communities to monitor the implementation of the sustainable development goals. In the better half of 2015, she was selected to be a youth participant in the first African Union Conference on Ending Child Marriages in Lusaka Zambia.
She is a 9th Ewha Global Empowerment Program 2016 alumni a prestigious program that recognizes outstanding women across Asia and Africa in their contribution for women empowerment. Spark International recognizes her as a She by Spark* International 2016 Kenyan Change Maker. In 2016 she was selected as one of the 265 Women Deliver Global Youth Scholars to represent their respective countries in Denmark in the 4th Global Women Deliver Conference on women and girls. In the better half of 2016, she was named as one of the Emerging Innovators in East Africa by Ashoka Changemakers in the Ashoka America Express Leadership program. Global Citizen has featured her work twice in innovation in education and Ending Female Genital Cutting and in her community.

Constatine Obuya

ACWICT

Established in 2001, The African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology (ACWICT) is a Kenya-based ICT for Development organization whose mission is to promote women and youth’s access to and knowledge of ICT as a tool for sustainable development.

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We work with high potential but disadvantaged young women and at times young men at their transitions point from primary school/high school/vocational and/or tertiary education to the world of work, to improve their education, employment, health and leadership opportunities.

At ACWICT we believe that provision of education, and productive employment or income generating opportunities are the surest ways of improving the socio-economic standing of young women in Kenya.

As a result, for over a decade, ACWICT has been implementing workforce development programs that aim at improving the employability prospects and income generating capacities of the young women participating in our employability programs. This is achieved by equipping the beneficiaries with demand-driven skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to obtain and participate in productive work.

At least 80% of the young women trained are placed into jobs, internships, apprenticeship, and online work while those seeking entrepreneurship paths are linked to sources of start-up capital. Every year ACWICT reaches over 25,000 women and impacts on over 250,000 of their significant others.

Through the years ACWICT has received funding support from PEPFAR, JSI Research and Training Institute, Rockefeller Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Children and Youth Foundation, Intel Corporation, UN Women, International Youth Foundation, World Bank, CISCO, Samsung, Technoserve and Certiport.

Currently we are implementing a DREAMS Innovation Challenge solution known as The Vusha Girls Employability Program, a workforce development program, which seeks to reduce the vulnerability of 1000 young women from the informal settlements of Kisumu and Nairobi to HIV infections..

Suhaila Aboud

GenderHealth Africa

My first job after my Diploma in Clinical Medicine and Surgery was at MSF France in Mathare.Mathare slum is known for its high poverty levels, crimes, and violence that render women, girls, and children especially vulnerable.

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Working at this Sexual and Gender Based Violence Recovery Centre was the beginning of my journey into GBV activism. Every day, dozens women and girls walked into my clinic deeply traumatized with physical, emotional and psychological abuse.

All this time, I never quite processed this trauma! Many times I went home weighed down and cried myself to sleep. Wanting to help survivors deal with their trauma, and to understand gender dynamics led me to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and a Masters in Gender and Developmental studies. I provide empathetic quality clinical care to survivors and ensure they that are able to access justice for the crimes committed against them; I have on many occasions served as an expert witness in court.

I am a mother, wife, and daughter who is self-driven and passionate about promoting the rights of women, men and children affected by Gender Violence, am committed to building the capacity of health care workers to deliver quality post rape care services, and often work as a trainer for the Ministry of Health and the International Peace Training Support Centre in Kenya. I am also a Clinical Management of Rape Consultant for the UNFPA Humanitarian and Context branch deployed in Somalia and South Sudan.

I have been instrumental in developing various Kenya national policy, guidelines, and tools to help standardize post rape care in the country. I am also a co-founder of GenderHealth Africa, an organization that aims to strengthen the capacity of health workers and other actors in GBV programming, psychosocial support and clinical management of rape..

Safaricom

Women In Technology (WIT)

Safaricom Women in Technology (WIT) is an organization of passionate women from Safaricom technology driven divisions dedicated to inspiring women from different backgrounds to advance their careers from classroom to boardroom.

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These efforts are geared towards creating an opportunity to tap into the unused talent and innovative ideas sitting on the bench with our girls, whilst dynamic trends continue to emerge in the Technology space.

The program is organized into 6 streams:

KidzGoTech – It strategically engages children in science based experiments targets children from the ages of 5-13yrs to embrace technology and use it to solve everyday problems. These young children engage in science/technology based experiments that use interactive kits to simulate real world applications. As a bonus they get to carry these kits home. Through this engagement the children are introduced to the use easily and locally available tools that simulate real world objects and robots that move, light up and make sounds. The aim is to skew the attitude of girls towards science and technology and make them become creators of and not merely consumers of technology from an early age. To date there have been over 17 successful Sessions with over 700 kids attendance and 32 Experiments done. Over 100 children from disadvantaged backgrounds like SOS Children’s Home in Buruburu were sponsored. The December 2016 sessions are currently ongoing and exposing amazing talent.
47/47 Girls High School outreach – This initiative is a See-n- Believe program. It strategy is one of Imagine-and- Create so primary school girls in all 47 counties in the country can make career choices towards Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The program entails lessons on telco 101, understanding basic calls and equipment, visits to Safaricom data centers, career talks and mentoring sessions. The aim is to demystify technology and expose girls to the real tech-world so they consider technology career options. So far all 45 counties have been reached. Follow ups show more girls taking Physics in the national exams. Many testimonials show positive impact of these efforts on academic performance.
Technovation Challenge: This initiative focuses on development of mobile apps that help to solve local community problems. High school girls are mentored on basics of coding, user-interface design, conducting market research, writing business plans, and pitching for funding for the apps. In 2016 for the first time, 8 out of the 256 teams that participated qualified for semi finals of the international challenge. Out of these, 1 team, Snipers from Precious Blood High School developed a transport app, M-Safiri that they defended at Silicon Valley, California. They emerged 2nd best. 60 Campus students who coached were also beneficiaries of the challenge. • Campus Outreach: This initiative targets to inspire and retain the girls studying Technology (Engineering and ICT) in campus through coaching and mentorship. The WIT champions visit campuses to encourage students to stay active, informed, and networked; ready for roles as professionals and leaders in the sector. The aim is to offer support for female engineering students academically, socially, professionally (CV writing, interview etiquette, online branding). At these sessions, the students learn about Value Added Services, Customer Billing System, MPESA rooms, Power, Transmission and Data Centres which they actually visit. 15 Universities all over Kenya have been covered to date. In 2016 WIT Campus Outreach united with Technology Strategy team for a conference at the University of Nairobi. This event was greatly supported by male engineers and was instrumental in honing innovation and aligning students to dynamic trends. Together with Technology Security a visit to Moi University in November 2016 unveiled numerous invention ideas, web design and online opportunities.
WIT Academy: This is an internship program that aims to release highly trained ladies engineers. The agenda is to equip them with the necessary skills to make them market ready. The interns actually sit and work with the engineers thereby learning a lot from them. It runs on a quarterly calendar and there have been 9 sessions each with 40 interns. Just before they graduate a career fair that matches their skills to potential hirers is organized. Partners in technology space such as Nokia, Huawei, Ericsson, Oracle grace these events that always has a positive outcome careerwise. Over 20 have converted to Safaricom staff and over 100 to other partners. The number is increasing steadily and current intake targets 58 interns including the boy child.
WIT Forum Held monthly WIT networking forum aims to motivate professional women pursuing technology careers and grow them all the way to the boardroom. Guest Speakers (Women and Men) with a wealth of experience in leadership give career talks. It provides a platform for the working woman to Network, Build Relations and Engage positively with role models. Over 40 sessions down the lane, a lot of wisdom has been passed on financial management, technology and business, real estate, decision making and pursuing opportunities among many other topics. This forum has been graced by speakers from various sectors such as Cherie Blaire, Amb. Dr. Monica Juma , Zebib Kavuma and Tumi Chamayou.

Nominees 2017

Vivian Gaiko

Empower Mama Foundation

Vivian Gaiko is the founder of Empower Mama Foundation (EMF); an organization that supports grieving parents socially and emotionally after pregnancy, infant or child loss.

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The support is offered by visiting with the bereaved parent(s) in the hospitals or at their homes. Twice monthly support group sessions are held where bereaved parents meet and share their journeys after the loss as we believe that sharing is a part of the healing process. The support group is facilitated by a trained psychologist and professional counselor who takes them through dealing with grief and loss. There are also Whatsapp support groups for those unable to attend the physical sessions.

Empower Mama Foundation preaches that suicide is not an option and that there is life after a loss. This was the basis of the formation of EMF when Vivian’s neighbor committed suicide over the loss of her twin babies in Jan 2016. Having been on the verge of committing suicide over her loss in 2014, this developed a desire in Vivian to create an organization that will assure women that there’s still hope and we can always find help as we are not as strong as on 12th November 2016 during the ‘Save a Life!’ event that focused on suicide prevention awareness following child loss. Initially EMF was providing support to grieving mothers as they are the most affected by child loss, hence the name Empower ‘MAMA’ (mother), currently we have included the bereaved fathers as they also grieve as the mother does.

Mukuhi Karimi

Blessings Hair and Beauty College

Mukuhi Karimi was born in 1987. As the first born in her family; she was left with her father after her parents divorced. Her father passed away in a road accident when she was five years old leaving her under the care of her grandmother.

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She attended Nguna primary school in the 90’s and Ng’etho high school. After high school, she immediately started hustling as a sales and marketer in various companies. It is here that she got a chance to acquire skills and work in hairdressing and beauty therapy.

She has managed to come up with a company known as Blessing Hair and Beauty College, which started back in 2014 as a small salon based in Kangemi and Kawangware. As a qualified hairdresser and beautician, she has decided to share her knowledge with the youth and young mothers to become self-reliant. At least 80 young members around Kangemi and Kawangware slums have graduated from the college and become bread winners in their families.

Mary Wanza

Lesiriwo Secondary School

Lesirwo is a Secondary school in Kipkelion Consituency. We seek a sustainable, community embedded, “trade” not “aid” process of giving the girls that confidence to scale to greater heights in three ways:

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We provide a decent platform for the mothers of enrolled students to sell their agricultural goods to willing and well meaning buyers at bid prices with the minimum reserve price set at the local market price (often lower than nairobi price). A woman of purpose holds herself in dignity and pride. By ensuring that the girl has a sanitary towel every month, she knows she is worth it.
Every year in May we invite ladies and men (preferably with roots in the community) to spend the day with students so they not only hear of the great success stories but can see and feel it.
We continuously seek to improve the grades to give the students a better chance of qualifying for government sponsored university and technical college programmes. We therefore instituted a competitive term by term bursary. We are happy to note one of the first recipient of the fund scored A- in the 2016 KCSE examination
We look forward to scaling this initiative to other schools in Kenya.

Dr. Kizzie Shako

Vunja Kimya

Dr. Kizzie Shako is a Medical Practitioner working under the Division of Forensic and Pathology Services, Ministry of Health, Kenya and currently seconded to the National Police Service as a Police Surgeon.

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She has received training in various fields of Forensic Pathology, namely Dead Body Management, Disaster victim Identification Post mortem examination, and Death investigation. She has acquired in-depth knowledge and skills in Clinical Forensic Medicine including Injury Interpretation, Adult and Child Sexual Violence, and Non Accidental injuries in Children.
Dr. Shako is actively involved in development of policy, standard operating procedures and manuals for both government and non-government organisations. She is an active Technical Working Group member for Guidelines for Management of sexual violence, Independent Medico Legal Unit, National Coroner’s bill, SOPs for Clinical Forensic Practitioners among others.
Given the nature of her work with victims of violence, she is driven to make a positive impact in her community to reduce the cases of sexual and domestic violence, to capacity build key players involved in the outcome of rehabilitation and restoration and justice for victims. This desire motivated initiation of VUNJA KIMYA, a blog where she addresses sensitive issues and gives advice highlighting key elements of violence.

Dr. Chao Mbogo

Lecturer, Kenya Methodist University

Dr. Chao graduated with a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in December 2015. Her current research focuses on supporting learners in resource- constrained environments, to learn programming using mobile devices.

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She has received a number of grants to support her research from organizations such as Hasso Plattner Institut and Kenya Education Network.

Her research has been published in several peer-reviewed conferences such as Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE), and peer-reviewed journals such as IADIS International Journal on WWW/Internet. Dr. Chao holds an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Oxford and a BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science from Kenya Methodist University.

Dr. Chao has received several awards for her academic achievements, demonstrated leadership skills, and community involvement. She was a winner of the 2014 Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship (EMEA). She was a recipient of the 2015 Schlumberger Faculty for the Future award for women in STEM. She was also selected as one of 200 young researchers worldwide to attend the 2015 Heidelberg Laureate Forum, a week-long forum with laureates of the highest prizes in Mathematics and Computer Science.

Dr. Chao is an active advocate for quality education and research. She demonstrates this through continually offering practical-oriented teaching and problem-based learning. She also adds to the voice towards quality education through presentations at renown conferences such as the Grace Hopper Celebration. She is also an active mentor to students in Computer Science, with previous involvements including as a committee member for Women in Computer Science society at UCT and leading outreach activities through Google’s Women Techmakers. She currently runs an active all-gender mentorship program consisting of 35 students.

Dr. Chao is currently a Researcher and Lecturer in the department of Computer Science at Kenya Methodist University.

Margaret Muthoni Karanja

Ceo, Mwatate Healthcare Centre.

The most majestic miracle on earth is giving birth, and such a beautiful experience shouldn’t be a cause of worry and death. My passion was sowed young as a girl when I experienced a horrifying incident back in my village in Embu.

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My grandmother, a renowned traditional birth attendant, experienced a complicated labor that led to the death of a friend. The death that could have been avoided if advanced health care was accessible. It was heartbreaking, still is, but from this, I vowed to live my life to correct this inequality.

I am a Registered Community Health Nurse and the current CEO of Mwatate Healthcare Centre, a Level III facility in Mukuru Tassia. My 30 years professional experience has seen me work in disadvantaged communities in Kwale, Taita and Mukuru slums. By concentrating on the often forgotten part of our community, I hope to restore hope and dignity while creating sustainable economic environments through the provision of affordable health. Mwatate Healthcare Centre thus specializes in quality and comprehensive Curative services, Sexual & Reproductive health services, Child welfare clinic and Community Sensitization. We also endeavor to create awareness on social issues affecting the community such as birth planning, growth & nutrition, abandoned children, cancer screening. Thus by reaching out to the mother and child as the core of a family unit, we safeguard multiple generations. In time, I hope to leave a legacy as a lead advocate for provision of world class, affordable and accessible healthcare services in Africa.

Mwatate Healthcare Centre thus specializes in quality and comprehensive Curative services, Sexual & Reproductive health services, Child welfare clinic and Community Sensitization. We also endeavor to create awareness on social issues affecting the community such as birth planning, growth & nutrition, abandoned children, cancer screening. Thus by reaching out to the mother and child as the core of a family unit, we safeguard multiple generations. In time, I hope to leave a legacy as a lead advocate for provision of world class, affordable and accessible healthcare services in Africa.

Githunguri Youth Sports Empowerment Association

GYSEA

(GYSEA) is a sports and rehabilitation center whose mission is to mentor and empower youth in its served communities using sports as a mobilization tool. GYSA was founded in 2001 and is registered in Kiambu County, Kenya.

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GYSEA is currently empowering over 2,000 youth in Kiambu and Lamu counties in Kenya. It uses radicalization to pull the youth under 17 from being recruited into illegal groupings or falling prey to drugs and substance abuse. In partnership with the National and county government departments, GYSEA has organized events at community levels and schools to fight vice and keep youth busy and healthy.

GYSEA is managed by a board of trustees who have devoted their time and resources to volunteer support. It has a staff of 30 who have organized youth into teams. Each team has a coach and a team manager who are trained youth educators. Fair play and community services are emphasized. All players are trained to be role models, thus enhancing their personal development. During the sports tournaments, the youth educators facilitate capacity building sessions in life skills, career counseling and mentorship and avoiding drugs and substance abuse, HIV/AIDS. For the increasing numbers they worked out a strategy to keep the youth busy throughout, and this led to the formation of leagues with different themes. As an exit strategy for 18 to 35-year- old students, the organization is incorporating enterprise development training and sensitization on Government procurement opportunities available for youth…

Young Women’s Leadership Institute

YWLI

The Young Women’s Leadership Institute (YWLI) is a feminist centre of excellence where adolescent girls and young women, aged between 11-35 years, are equipped with knowledge and skills, which enable them to be transformative leaders.

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Since its inception and registration in 2002, YWLI has developed a feminist leadership curriculum for adolescent girls, led in creating safe spaces through unconventional feminist platforms, and embraced and collaborated with embryonic groups to champion change and elevate the voices of young women.
Some innovative programmes and approaches that facilitate empowerment and development of leadership among young women that have been used by YWLI include:
A Bi-annual Feminist Leadership Institute;
Self-empowerment sessions;
Feminist Internships; and
Feminist Leadership Training.
We have been at the forefront in challenging retrogressive cultural practices, such as female genital mutilation, child, early and forced marriages, honour killings, and shaming, which relegate the role of women as leaders. Consequently, YWLI has pushed for laws and policies at the national, regional and international levels including, sexual and reproductive health and rights, women empowerment, and gender equality. YWLI acknowledges diversity and respect for human rights and recognizes that adolescent girls and young women’s issues cannot be addressed in silos. We continue to engage the Kenyan government and policy makers to address young women’s and girls’ needs comprehensively.
At YWLI, we acknowledge that young women need to be empowered and educated on their rights thus making them able to advocate for the actualization of linkages between national policies and international frameworks. Our mission of nurturing leadership in young women and creating spaces for their participation in policy processes is being accomplished mainly through:

Equipping them with feminist leadership skills;
Creating spaces that facilitate them to lead social change; and
Sharing information and resources to build their leadership capacity.
As a centre of knowledge on the rights of young women in Africa and the Diaspora, YWLI produces formal research reports, academic papers for publication in journals, and blogs.

Intel

She Will Connect

We believe that when girls and women are connected to the world through technology, they are connected to a world of opportunity.

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Technology, and the Internet, in particular, has transformed the lives of billions of people. It functions as a gateway to ideas, resources, and opportunities that never could have been realized before. All around the world, the Internet is helping people to imagine new possibilities. But girls and women are being left behind. The Opportunity for Impact.

As the Internet can provide enormous economic, social and professional value, the Internet gender gap has very serious consequences for women and for society more broadly. To better understand the gap, Intel commissioned the report “Women and the Web”, consulting with the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, UN Women, and World Pulse, a global network for women. The report examined women’s access to and use of the Internet in low and middle-income countries and found that, on average, nearly 25% fewer women than men are online in developing countries.

This represents 200 million fewer women than men online today. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the size of the gap is 43%— the largest across all the regions in the study. Key barriers to access identified in the report included affordability, lack of awareness of the benefits of getting connected, lack of familiarity and comfort with technology, and cultural norms and gender-based barriers. Key opportunities associated with women gaining access to the Internet include improvements in self-esteem and expression expanding their social and political participation; new skills that enable them to obtain a formal education, become entrepreneurs, or secure employment; and access to information and new connections within their communities and beyond. Bringing more women online also has potentially significant economic benefits; the report shows that this would contribute an estimated USD 13 to USD 18 billion to annual GDP across 144 developing countries.

Collaborating to Close the Gap
In direct response to the findings of the Women and the Web report, Intel and its partners developed the Intel® She Will Connect program to reduce the Internet gender gap around the world, through an innovative combination of digital literacy training, an online peer network, and gender-relevant content. The program will begin in sub-Saharan Africa where the gap is the greatest, with initial pilots in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. The goal is to reach 5 million young women in Africa. As a result of this effort, these young women will have the opportunity to acquire or improve digital literacy skills and expand their understanding and use of technology so that they can connect to health, government, and educational information, economic opportunities, and gender-specific resources. Consequently, these young women will be able to receive a better education, enhance their political participation, have a stronger voice in their communities, and increase their income by connecting to new economic opportunities.

Intel She Will Connect brings together a range of global and local partners, with strong gender, ICT, and development programming expertise, relevant content for women, computing infrastructure, and experience providing digital literacy training. Key program elements include:

Digital literacy skills. Improve digital literacy skillsby integrating digital literacy training into gender and development programs in shared computing environments (such as telecenters), where women can access hardware, software, Internet connectivity, and ongoing support. Intel will also develop an online interactive learning platform so that learning can take place individually or in a mediated environment, across devices, and in the context of a peer network.
Online peer network. Improve access and relevance of the Internet through women- tailored content and a peer network. Through this initiative, women will be able to find content that is relevant to them. As part of its digital literacy efforts, Intel will also provide women with safe, online access to communities and networks through World Pulse, where women can exchange ideas, find support and mentorship, stay connected, and search user-generated content.
Content and resources. Connect participants to gender-relevant content and resources provided by program partners and other organizations, including education resources, financial and health information, and employability and entrepreneurship skills..

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