Five Kenyan students with visionary projects among 100 Rise Global Winners

 Five Kenyan students with visionary projects among 100 Rise Global Winners

RISE International program which is funded by the Schmidt foundation in partnership with Rhodes Trust seeks to mould the next generational leaders by tapping brilliant 15- to 17-year-olds and supporting them to serve others for life.

Five students from Kenya have emerged winners in the second cohort of 100 Rise Global Winners.

The 2022 Rise Global Winners from Kenya—Edith Chemutai, James Nyaga Ngatia, Marietta Halima, Natasha Njoki Ndai, and Wema Wambugo Marandu—stood out not only for their impactful projects spanning from medical innovation to mental health and education but also for their strength in overcoming adversity.

They were chosen through an application process that included a peer and expert review of the service projects developed by each applicant, formal assessments of talent, and group interviews.

Rise collaborated with organizations such as NBA Africa, the HALI Access Network, KenSAP, and Akili Dada to support youth in applying and providing exciting programming opportunities.

The five now join a programme run by Schmidt Futures, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, which is a $1 billion philanthropic undertaking from Erick and Wendy Schmidt seeking to grow talent and spur development across the world.

Edith Chemutai, who comes from Thika, started a water conservation project and helped set up a water filtration system that helped reduce the dirty water swamp behind her school.

Through her work, Edith aims at curbing water shortage in the world and developing better conservation and purification methods of the commodity.

In the capital Nairobi, James Nyaga Ngatia has been developing iGuide, an app that seeks to eradicate pornography, a vice that is affecting a lot of people.

On her part, Marietta Halima Kazungu, who comes from Kilifi, developed the Rapidcovix Breathalyzer, medical equipment that helps people in rural areas who cannot afford the high costs of testing to better detect infectious diseases.

Natasha Njoki Ndai from Kahawa West, Nairobi, created an environmentalist’s club that aims to show people that cleaning and taking care of the environment is not a punishment, rather it can encourage teamwork, create awareness as well as give rise to opportunities for fun for the community groups involved.

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Also on the shortlist is Wema Wambugo Marandu from Nairobi whose Rise project aims to boost the rather poor reading culture in Kenya. Wema’s project encourages reading by reaching out to people in underprivileged communities in Kenya using storybooks and stocking up libraries.

Warden of Rhodes House in Oxford and Chief Executive of the Rhodes Trust Dr Elizabeth Kiss acknowledged that selecting 100 Global Winners from a pool of brilliant young people was quite a challenge, showing gratitude to all of their partners who helped in the process.

“Today’s announcement of the Rise Winners is not the conclusion of a process, but rather the starting point for the young people in the program. They will have continuing opportunities to change the world for the better as they continue their education and find ways to collaborate,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures and president of The Schmidt Family Foundation.

“We are counting on them to become future leaders, using their collective gifts to help solve the world’s most challenging problems.”

Founded in 2019, Rise works with dozens of global partners ranging from schools to businesses to local governments in identifying and supporting talented young people aged 15-17 in communities throughout the world.

“We are looking for extraordinarily bright people everywhere because genius can have an out-sized impact on improving the world when applied to its hardest problems,” said Eric Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures.

“Building a network of brilliant young people who want to make the world better is a key goal of Rise. Development in today’s world depends on people working together.”

Diana Njuguna, Head of Programs for Akili Dada said “Our partnership with Rise supports our mission to nurture young Kenyan women into trans-formative African leaders, adding that “We are truly proud of the Kenyan Rise Global Winners, which include two young women from Akili Dada’s vibrant network. We celebrate this milestone and can’t wait to see them actualize their brilliance, gifts, and passions driving social change in service of the continent and the globe.”

With over 22 new countries represented this year, the global program continues to further expand its network with a broader range of talented young leaders from diverse backgrounds, including applicants from over 170 countries.

Since its inception, Rise has welcomed over 150,000 people from over 170 countries to its community, and has selected 200 winners from 69 countries.

Everyone who applies to Rise joins a global community and gains access to opportunities from partners in at least 40 countries across the world.

The latest Rise Global Winners receive additional personalized support including need-based scholarships, mentorship, career development opportunities, potential funding for future ventures, technology packages, and more, to empower them to achieve their goals as they work to serve others.

Interested in making your Rise applications for the next class that will open in October 2022? Apply here



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