The third Wangari Maathai Scholarship Award
In partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF), today we presented the third Wangari Maathai Scholarship award to Claire Nasike Akello at the Green Belt Movement (GBM) office in Nairobi.
Established in 2012, the Wangari Maathai Scholarship Fund is an environmental innovations fund set up in memory of Professor Wangari Maathai that is aimed at developing action-oriented young people with strong values and commitment to the conservation of the physical and social environment in Kenya.
This year’s recipient is Claire Nasike Akello, a student at the Technical University of Kenya pursuing a degree in Environmental Resource Management. Claire also leads a project dubbed "Return to Sisterhood". The project seeks to empower school children to regain control of their environment. She has so far reached out to more than 400 girls in various schools within her community in Budalangi Constituency,Busia County. Her activism work on environment also transcends her village and she has an environment blog that she manages.
Ms. Nasike’s love for the environment that dates back to the the tender age of eight in her flood-prone village of Port Victoria in Budalangi, Kenya was a result of great influence from her late grandmother.In an emotional speech she said “my late grandmother taught me about the importance of the environment
The Chief Guest at the event, Dr. Isaac Kalua,founder of Green Africa Foundation, commended the Wangari Maathai Scholarship Fund for promoting a generation of young women who embrace the spirit of environmentalism as propagated by Wangari Maathai. Dr. Kalua encouraged Ms. Nasike, urging her to “make decisions and choose to be the change you want to see in society”.
In her vote of thanks, Ms. Aisha Karanja, Executive Director, Green Belt Movement, acknowledged everyone who worked tirelessly to make the Fund a success. Speaking about previous recipients of the scholarship award, Ms. Karanja stated that “these humming birds brighten our day”. She urged Ms. Nasike to keep giving her best in all that she does noting that this was only the beginning, more needs to be done and it can only be achieved through commitment.
The fund, established by The Rockefeller Foundation, GBM and KCDF is awarded annually to a young woman aged 18 to 25 years, who has demonstrated passion and personal commitment to environmental conservation. This individual must have also demonstrated their ability to successfully mobilize people and provide leadership in environmental advocacy.