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Pomp and dance as Standard Group, partners reward Kenyan achievers

By Daniel Wesangula | Published Sun, July 20th 2014 at 00:00, Updated July 19th 2014 at 23:27 GMT +3
x British High Commissioner Christian Turner (left), Lisa Phillips head of DFID, Ms Nardos Pekele Thomas and Standard Group Limited CEO Sam Shollei (right) pose for group photograph when they graced the Transform Kenya Awards at the Windsor Hotel yesterday 19-07-2014. PHOTO:MOSES OMUSULA
British High Commissioner Christian Turner (left), Lisa Phillips head of DFID, Ms Nardos Pekele Thomas and Standard Group Limited CEO Sam Shollei (right) pose for group photograph when they graced the Transform Kenya Awards at the Windsor Hotel  19-07-2014. PHOTO:MOSES OMUSULA

Kenya: The Standard Media Group last night hosted the inaugural Transform Kenya Awards gala at the Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club.

The Transform Kenya Awards aims to recognise and showcase people and institutions committed to improving the lives of other Kenyans by looking beyond profit and recognising outcomes that have powerful social impact. It aims at rewarding the demonstration of values that drive transformation in society and celebrate those values.

The awards are the brainchild of The Standard Group in partnership with Deloitte and with Riara University as the knowledge partner. The main sponsor of the event was the KCB group through the KCB Foundation. Other sponsors were CFC Stanbic and Crown Paints Kenya Limited.

"These awards celebrate heroes and heroines who in most cases remain unappreciated; ordinary people doing something to change lives," said Standard Group CEO Sam Shollei.

Mr Shollei said the award would contribute to Kenya's narrative for the next 50 years. Among the galaxy of guests at the function were President Barrack Obama's grandmother Mama Sarah Obama, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phylis Kandie, British High Commissioner to Kenya Dr Christian Turner and Nelson Mandela's grandson Ndaba Mandela.

Renowned industrialist Manu Chandaria won the most coveted award of the night, the Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the nation. Dr Chandaria is one of Kenya's leading philanthropists. His Chandaria Foundation has benefited many schools and clinics in the country. Some beneficiaries include The Chandaria Business Incubation and Innovation Centre at Kenyatta University and the Leap Hubs (entrepreneurship and leadership incubators in high schools).

Defining role

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As Kenyans work towards the realisation of Vision 2030 ambitions, agriculture will continue to play a defining role in the country's economy especially in ensuring food security. The Transform Kenya Agriculture Award went to Calvince Okello, founder of M-Shamba – an interactive platform that gives farmers information on how to grow and manage crops and links farmers to transporters and buyers.

Manufacturing has been deemed to be one of the key sectors that can help transform Kenya into a middle income economy. On the night, the Manufacturing Award went to University of Nairobi's Fablab. This is a creative hub for engineers, designers, innovators and business people that aims at providing widespread access to modern means for invention. Projects developed and produced in Fablab include solar and wind powered technologies, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid- prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines.

In a world in which information is key, media plays a crucial role. However, not all have access to media in its different forms. For her consistent work over decades in publishing, Eunice Mathu of Parents Magazine took home the Media Information Access Award. Parents Magazine continues to give a voice and provide encouragement to many Kenyans.

The importance of education cannot be understated. Without it, many of life's doors would remain shut for a majority. For helping set up numerous schools in his home district of Bungoma and donating his own private land for the setting up of schools, Ramadhan Machio emerged the winner of the Education Award.

In the absence of good and affordable healthcare, a country's progress to prosperity may be halted on numerous occasions. Pamela Sombe is a nurse from Nyando District. She noticed that expectant mothers who had received antenatal care had difficulties accessing maternity services. This dilemma gets worse for the mothers during long nights of labour. Her solution was to improvise delivery beds and used lantern lamps for lighting at night to assist expectant women during delivery. She emerged the winner in the Health Award.

Sportsmen and women continue to fly the Kenyan flag high in international events. Sport has become an integral part of Kenya's history. It continues to play an important role in the present and its future has already been welded into Kenya's collective psyche. Although the country has produced legends through the sport spectrum, only one winner emerged on the night. She has been instrumental in facilitating the peace dialogue and sports for peace tournaments that continue to bring together communities in conflict within our borders and externally. She remains committed to promoting peace between communities and also in advocating for the girl child. For these efforts, and many more, Tegla Loroupe was named the winner of the Sports Award.

Source of employment

Over the past few years, art has emerged as a veritable and acceptable source of employment. New talents have been nurtured while old ones have seen their careers reinvigorated through a new awakening among Kenyans. From theatre to dance, poetry to sculpting and all those that fall in between, art and culture continue to be celebrated. For his work in comedy and fostering upcoming talent and for his instrumental role in re-defining and revolutionizing the comedy scene, stand-up comic Daniel Ndambuki took home the Arts and Culture Award.

It has often been said that we hold the land and all in it in trust for the future generations thus every move we make should be geared toward preserving the earth in its natural state. Ecopost is a Kenyan company that aims to transform Africa's waste into wealth. Ecopost collects consumer plastic waste such as polypropylene and polyethylene and converts them into durable, easy to use and environmentally friendly plastic lumber, an eco-friendly alternative to timber which is used to manufacture fencing posts. The company has collected over 1 million kilogrammes of plastic and saved an estimated 250 acres of forest (based on calculations by the Canadian Forestry Association). Its Founder, Lorna Ruto, took home the Green Award.

Although some of the winners of the night have been in their fields for decades, new influencers in their spheres were also honoured in the colourful gala. Kennedy Odede bagged the Rookie of the Year Award for his work with Shining Hope for Communities organisation. His organisation works towards combating poverty and gender inequality in the slums through various interventions in education, sanitation, health and community empowerment.

Conserving or flora and fauna is key to the sustainable management of our natural resources and the growth of our tourism. Paul Kaiyai Leringato has established conservancies to protect wildlife and a trust fund to support the community through school bursaries, education projects, water, health and provision of employment to locals. For his efforts, Leringato bagged the Tourism Award.


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