Founder of Food For Education and winner of the first-ever Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award, Wawira Njiru has been named United Nations Person of the Year in Kenya for the incredible work she has done in providing meals for school children in need. 

The announcement was made on Oct. 24, United Nations Day, by the World Food Programme’s country director for Kenya, Lauren Landis. 

“I could not be more proud to help amplify the innovation, power, and dedication of Wawira Njiru,” said Landis on social media. “One school meal can change the course of a life and a country.” 

Thirty-year-old Njiru joins the likes of Kenya’s former first lady, Margaret Kenyatta, as well as record-breaking marathon runner, Tegla Loroupe, in receiving the honour. She has been dedicated to improving children’s lives since 2016, when Food For Education was founded. 

Njiru started out by preparing and providing 25 meals a day for kids from vulnerable households, and today her organization has provided over 6 million meals for children in Kenya. 

What’s more is that the food provided is sourced directly from local farmers, boosting the local economy and ensuring fresh and nutritious food for school children.

After receiving the accolade, Njiru took to social media to thank the UN for its support of her organization, and went on to call for accessible meals for all of Kenya’s children. 

“The time is now for every Kenyan child to have access to nutritious meals in school,” she said

The plaque given to Njiru by the UN to commemorate her uplifting work reads: “In recognition of her leadership and personal sacrifices in ensuring thousands of meals are served daily so that children don’t go to school hungry.” 

Njiru was also the very first recipient of the Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award in 2018. As she accepted the award three years ago on the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 stage in Johannesburg, she reminded the audience that young people in Africa, like herself, have the power to make real change. 

“I am feeding the future of Africa because I believe in a generation that is well-nourished and educated,” Njiru said. “Hungry children cannot learn and I believe a prosperous future for my continent begins with no child learning on an empty stomach.”

Get to know more about Njiru and the incredible work that she does through Food for Education here


Defeat Poverty

Food for Education’s Wawira Njiru Named UN’s ‘Person of the Year’ in Kenya

By Khanyi Mlaba