The executive director and founder of Food for Education Foundation is among 10 Elevate Prize winners announced on February 6, toppling over 1,000 applicants from 92 countries.
In her X (formerly Twitter) account, 33-year-old Wawira Njiru expressed her gratitude to the foundation, emphasising that no child should learn on an empty stomach.
“Excited and grateful to be named one of this year's Elevate Prize winners alongside other incredible leaders doing amazing work in the world. Our commitment at Food4Education to end classroom hunger is why we keep feeding the future. No child should have to learn while hungry,” wrote Ms Njiru.
Besides funding, the winners will receive tailored services, including communications and content strategy, branding, social media training, and leadership development to help them amplify their stories, broaden their reach, and deepen their impact in making a positive difference around the world.
Joseph Deitch, the founder of Elevate Prize Foundation said the individuals represent an expanded scope of social change – a pivotal shift in what is expected to be a pivotal year for the world.
“This year's winners embody the essence of our foundation's commitment to pushing boundaries and broadening the impact landscape. These remarkable individuals represent an expanded scope of social change – a pivotal shift in what is expected to be a pivotal year for the world,” said Mr Deitch.
Food for Education is a non-governmental programme that aims to keep children in school with a streamlined and cost-effective meal plan. It moulds healthier and more nourished children in underserved urban, peri-urban, and rural areas.
The initiative, which started in Kiambu before moving to Nairobi and Mombasa counties, aims at ending classroom hunger and improving school attendance and performance.
It currently operates 53 semi-centralised kitchens, 15 decentralised kitchens, and 18 centralised kitchens, creating jobs for nearly 3,000 Kenyans and feeding more than 400,000 children.
In 2022, Ms Njiru won the coveted Icon Award, presented as part of the 2022 World’s 50 Best Restaurants programme.
She was also named UN’s 'Person of the Year’ in October 2021.
The Elevate Prize Award is awarded annually to social impact leaders driving transformative change around the world.
The Prize aims to maximise their impact and champion their organisations, helping to shift culture to create a world where more people are inspired to take action.
Other winners include Zarlasht Halaimzai, the founder of Amna, Gayatry Datar, the co-founder and CEO of EarthEnable, Sonya Passi, founder and CEO of FreeForm, Mpindi Abaas, co-founder and CEO of Media Challenge Initiative, and Melissa Malzkuhn, the director of Motion Light Lab.