Social Enterprise, Driving Local Change and the Future of Africa
with Wawira Njiru
Monday 20 March 2017
Podcast available HERE
With the world’s fastest growing population, Africa is home to the majority of the global youth population, a resource that can be harnessed for numerous opportunities or come with many challenges.
High illiteracy, unemployment, poor nutrition and healthcare, and climate change are some of the continent’s most pressing challenges. In the midst of these, there is however opportunity to pioneer and drive sustainable change that can only be achieved if initiated locally, harnessing community resources and consistently challenging inherited models of community development.
Social enterprises provide unique solutions when developed and implemented locally and are a tool to accelerate development on the continent. With a 70% youthful population, the opportunities for social enterprises to be the key driver of change on the continent are endless and will influence the future of Africa and that of the world.
Wawira, is the Founder and Executive Director of Food for Education an organisation that works with vulnerable children in Kenyan public schools to improve their lives through a feeding program. Having been raised in Kenya, she moved to Australia in 2010 to study a Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of South Australia and graduated in 2013. She founded Food for Education in 2012 while doing her degree to address the inequality in education in her community of Ruiru Kenya due to inequality in food access.
Wawira is interested in development issues, especially how access to food influences education outcomes. She has been recognised as a 'Spark* International Changemaker' 2012, Transform Nutrition 'Nutrition champion' 2013, an Ibua Africa Changemaker 2015 and a Hunger Free Ambassador.
In 2016, she was also selected as one of 25 young Africans Leading in Public Life by the University of Cape Town and in 2017 as one of 16 participants of the Global Social Benefit Institute Accelerator Program run by the Miller Centre at Santa Clara University.
Wawira is currently undertaking a Masters in Public Health at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and continues to work tirelessly to ensure that no child has to learn while hungry.
Food for Education
Since 2012, Food for Education has provided over 50,000 school meals that have contributed to improved nutrition status, school attendance and performance. In 2016, the organisation opened its first central school based kitchen that currently provides highly subsidised meals to over 300 students a day who primarily come from urban slum areas.
Food for Education partners with World Vision Kenya, IDEO.org and other local organisations and corporations to continue to scale its reach. Through its partnership with IDEO.ORG, the world’s largest design thinking company, Food for Education runs the Double Portion restaurant that sells food to the local community and profits cover the cost of subsidies for needy school children therefore creating a human centred sustainable model.
Recent Press: Meet the woman who feeds hundred of children every day
Partner organisation: IDEO.org
Food for Education website
YouTube clip: Food for Education - Feeding Futures, Providing Potential
YouTube clip: Monica's Story #BecauseWeCan
UniSA Alumni Update article: On a mission to feed school children in Kenya
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Areas of study and research
- Health Research
- Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA)
- Centre for Cancer Biology
- Centre for Drug Discovery and Development
- Centre for Population Health Research
- Centre of Research Excellence for the Prevention of Chronic Conditions in Rural and Remote High Risk Populations
- International Centre for Allied Health Evidence
- Medicine and Device Surveillance CRE
- Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre
and Social Sciences
- Art, Architecture and Design
- Communication, International Studies and Languages
- Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy
- Hawke Research Institute
- Asia Pacific Centre for Work Health and Safety
- Australian Centre for Child Protection
- Barbara Hardy Institute
- Centre for Research in Education
- Hawke EU Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence
- Centre for Islamic Thought and Education
- International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding
- Research Centre for Languages and Cultures
- Zero Waste SA Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour (sd+b)
IT, Engineering and
- Future Industries Institute
- UniSA College