Wangari Muchiri Wins First REvolutionaries: The Steve Sawyer Memorial Award

Source: ESI Africa

Kenyan renewable energy expert Wangari Muchiri wins the first REvolutionaries: The Steve Sawyer Memorial Award, which was launched in 2020.

Muchiri’s specialty is in technology innovation for peri-urban and off-grid communities. She is also a board member of the Kenya Green Building Society. There, she heads the technical committee that oversees sustainability practices in real estate.

Muchiri participated in the 2019 Women in Wind Global Leadership Program hosted by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) in association with Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET).

Her recent award is not the only recognition she has received. She has many accolades, including being listed as one of the Top 6 Women under 30 in STEM by the Mawazo Institute during the Africa Science Week. She was also selected by the Obama Foundation as one of the Obama Leaders for Africa last year.

Showing gratitude for her selection for the award, which was established in honour of GWEC’s late CEO Steve Sawyer, Muchiri outlined her plans for the future of Africa when it comes to renewable energy.

“My dream is to see Africa become fully energy independent and leapfrog traditional energy sources to a sustainable, innovative, and renewable energy future. Through this platform, I hope to reflect some of Steve Sawyer’s leadership qualities and demonstrate that there are indeed innovative, scalable, diverse and technology savvy projects on the continent,” she said to ESI Africa.

Speaking about the award and selection criteria, current CEO of GWEC, Ben Backwell, said that Muchiri’s outstanding passion for clean, renewable energy made her a perfect candidate for the award. He likened her values to those of Steve Sawyer, who was driven by the five main pillars, namely leadership, renewable energy, innovation, scalability and diversity.

The award will be handed over virtually to Muchiri during the 10th Annual Windaba Conference which will take place on 26th and 27th October 2020. Prize money is also included as part of the award as well as a platform at a regional clean energy event among other opportunities to showcase her expertise and thought leadership to the key players of the global renewable industry.

Competition was stiff with participants from Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa vying for the award. According to Steve Sawyer’s wife, Kelly Ridd, though all finalists were impressive, in the judges’ opinions, Muchiri would be a more effective ambassador for clean energy in Africa and they are looking forward to working with her.

The annual award, which will have a different focus for each programme cycle, was focusing this year on clean energy leaders in Africa. It is meant to recognize young revolutionary renewable leaders in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia honouring Steve Sawyer, a pioneer of global energy transition, who passed away in July 2020. The founding partners for the award are GWEC, Greenpeace and REN21.

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