Zuri Awards fetes unsung Kenyan heroines

Thursday March 9 2017

From left: CoutureAfrica's Olive Gachara, who

From left: CoutureAfrica's Olive Gachara, who was one of the judges, with the winners Safaricom's Lilian Kiambati, Empower Her Initiative's Buya Mukonzo Winfred, Barclays' Jeremy Awori ( event partner), Msichana Empowerment's Natalie Robi Tingo, Maureen Obayi, on behalf of Suhaila Aboub of Gender Health Africa and Constantine Obuya, African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology. PHOTO| NOAH MILLER 

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Five Kenyan women were on Wednesday evening feted for outstanding work in their communities during the inaugural Zuri Awards held at Villa Rosa Kempinski.

The winners included women running a community-based clinic, to providing empathetic quality clinical care to gender-based violence, supporting grieving parents socially and emotionally after pregnancy to promoting women and youth’s access to and knowledge of ICT.

Zuri Awards is the brainchild of Go Gaga Experiential Ltd in partnership with Barclays Bank of Kenya Couture Africa Magazine and Sochin Agency.

“While knocking on doors of corporates for the Social Media Week in Kenya which we organised in 2016, we realised that there were a lot of people working in silos, doing different things for the same goal, so we were looking for a way to synergise that.


“We came across women doing wonderful things for their communities and yet they had never been recognised, so we wanted to create a platform for that too,” said Norah Mumo, a director at Go Gaga Experiential Ltd.

Go Gaga made a call for nominations in January 2017 of outstanding organisations and individuals who are unsung in the Kenyan community.

“We received 51 nominations out of which a panel of judges shortlisted a total of 15 individuals and organisations making an impact in regards to women and girls in their communities,” Norah added.   

The judges were Daniel Juma (CEO of Global Peace Foundation), Ruth Kinyanjui, (Women in Business, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Olive Gachara (CEO and founder of Couture Africa, Angel investor (KCB Lion's Den), Founder of Image with Olive), Allan Mwangi (Barclays Bank Relationship Manager Enterprise Banking SME's), Esther Gathigi, the Executive director of WeCreate Kenya and Noah Miller (Sochin Agency).

“Their stories were amazing, and one of nominees is only 21 years old. Most of them have been doing their work quietly for so many years and are self-funded. This is the first time they are being recognised. We wanted to scale up these women’s ideas so they could feel supported and encouraged,” said one of the judges, Noah Miller, the managing director of Sochin Ltd.

In the organisations category, African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology, an NGO, and Safaricom Women in Technology initiative emerged winners.

Suhaila Aboud of Gender Health Africa won the Individual award: Impact while the same award in the leadership category was won by Natalie Robi of Msichana Empowerment in Kuria.

Buya Mukonzo Winfred, the founder of Empower Her Initiative, won the Individual award for innovation.

The winners in the various categories will not only receive mentorship , but also a course in digital marketing from Go Gaga Experiential Ltd, personal branding training from Image by Olive and Communication Training from Sochin Ltd.

The organisers hope to make Zuri Awards a sustainable yearly affair in the hope that the recognition will spur the women to soar to greater heights.