2nd Wangari Maathai Scholarship Fund Winner
2nd July 2014: The Rockefeller Foundation, the Green Belt Movement and Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) presented the 2nd Wangari Maathai Scholarship Fund Award. The event took place, at the Green Belt Movement offices in Kilimani.
Launched in October 2012 in Nairobi, the Wangari Maathai Scholarship Fund is an environmental innovations fund that seeks to encourage and promote sustainable development through the spirit of environmentalism as championed by the late Prof. Maathai. The annual award is given to a competitively selected female recipient aged between 18 to 25 years, who has promoted positive values, demonstrated outstanding leadership and dedication in environmental conservation. The award goes towards financial support for their tertiary education, and an environmental project or initiative of their choice.
Speaking during the event, Wanjira Mathai, and Chairperson at the Green Belt Movement explained:"The hallmark of the Green Belt Movement environment is that Prof. Wangari Maathai insisted that we plant trees and we have planted as many trees as well can see. Many of you know that Prof. Wangari Maathai valued education; she was the recipient of scholarships that made a big difference in her life and enabled her to nurture her values and leadership skills.
The chief guest Prof. Geoffrey Wahungu, Director General, National Environment Management Authority, NEMA recollected what Prof. Wangari Maathai fought to ensure that we have a sustainable environment. He said that Prof. Wanagri Maathai connected the environment and peace especially here in Kenya and many African countries that rely on natural resources. Today we enjoy the green spaces here in Nairobi, let us maintain and appreciate her legacy.
When her name was called out as the winner of Wangari Maathai Scholarship Fund, Ms. Sylvia Jemutai Rotich sighed. Sylvia, a fourth year student undertaking a Bachelor of Science in environmental conservation and natural resource management at Nairobi University (UoN) won the award through her initiative to protect the environment. She has been planting trees to mitigate effects of desertification and conserving surface run-off water. Through this she has made a difference in her home area, and she hopes to continue growing our conservation efforts,” said an ecstatic Sylvia.
By encouraging young people to develop innovative approaches to environmental challenges in their immediate surroundings, the fund will help cultivate action-oriented leadership in environmental issues among the youth. It will also help tap the unexploited potential that exists among young people by encouraging them to refine their ideas and further develop their skills.