Five Kenyans were on June 1, 2020, selected to join the Ford Global Fellowship run by the Ford Foundation - an American private foundation with the mission of advancing human welfare.
The Kenyans named are Nanjira Sambuli (Political analyst & researcher) Wawira Njiru (CEO Food4Education), Teresa Njoroge (a criminal justice reform advocate), Melsa Auma Omaya (medical officer) and John Muthee (CEO of Savannah Informatics).
The five were part of 24 fellows selected from across four regions - Brazil, East Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and the United States.
The foundation will invest $50 million equivalent to Ksh5 Billion over the next 10 years in the Ford Global fellowship that aims to connect and support the next generation of social justice leaders who are advancing innovative solutions to end inequality.
The program will run for 18 months with an emphasis on shared learning, building and strengthening connections, and developing a supportive, interconnected cohort.
"Our hope is for the fellowship to serve as a catalyst for the fellows to accelerate the impact of their work, individually and collectively," the Foundation noted.
1. Melsa Auma Omaya
Melsa runs the Gender Violence Recovery Centre at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital and is a medical officer in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at Nairobi Radiotherapy and Cancer Centre.
"She also directs clinical services for the nonprofit Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco), where she secured national accreditation to cover 700,000 free patient visits. In addition, Melsa created a free health program for children with autism," the foundation observed.
2. Nanjira Sambuli
The prolific researcher, policy analyst and advocacy strategist was selected for her contributions to leadership.
"She is a commissioner on the Lancet and Financial Times Commission on Governing Health Futures 2030 and a board member at the New Humanitarian (formerly IRIN News), Development Gateway, and Digital Impact Alliance. She was a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation (2018-19) and served as a deputy on the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment from 2016-17," the foundation disclosed.
3. Teresa Njoroge
The criminal justice reforms advocate is the CEO of Clean Start Solutions, an organisation that creates opportunities for women, girls, and children of imprisoned mothers that allow an easier transition to education, entrepreneurship, or employment during their reintegration back into society.
"Teresa works on her rallying call of Beyond the Bars, Never Again by building relationships with Kenyan government agencies, law enforcement, and organizations like the United Nations to improve access to education and employment training for women," the foundation described.
4. Wawira Njiru
Wawira Njiru is a Kenyan businesswoman, entrepreneur, human nutritionist, and philanthropist, who serves as the executive director of Food 4 Education, an organization that cooks, prepares and distributes nutritious meals, at subsidized prices to over 2,000 poor school children in Ruiru, a suburb of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya.
At the inception of Food 4 Education in 2011, the initiative provided subsidised lunch to 25 children from underprivileged backgrounds in Ruiru. Through online campaigns to raise money to fund her project, Wawira was able to stay the course.
5. John Muthee
The co-founder and CEO of Savannah Informatics was selected for his use of technology to address barriers to universal health care coverage in Kenya.
His start-up provides digital solutions for more than 1,200 hospitals across Kenya and serves six of the country’s largest health insurers enabling them to roll out quality, affordable health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Kenyans.
The foundation disclosed that the goal was for the fellowship to create a powerful network of 240 fellows from across the globe, covering a multitude of our most pressing issues over the next decade.