Disruptors we admire

We celebrate young African disruptors from all corners of the world, at the forefront of building healthy and sustainable places for people and planet. They are impatient for impact, and their actions inspire us.

Waziri Mainasara Abubakar

Waziri is an economist and fitness enthusiast.

He studied Economics (Bsc and Msc) at the University Of Abuja and University Of Lagos respectively. He is also a fitness enthusiast, runner and lover of adventure. His concern for physical and mental health resulted in co-founding “Fit Trackers“, a run and fitness group that promotes healthy living by encouraging people to engage in various forms of exercise, tracking their fitness activities and holding them accountable by sharing everyone’s scorecard monthly.

As an UrbanBetter #Cityzens4CleanAir Run leader, he is a citizen scientist merging his love of fitness with data informed advocacy for clean air and healthy public spaces.

In his blog entry from January 2023, Waziri shared his #Cityzens4CleanAir experience measuring air quality in Lufasi Park, an environmental conservation park in Lagos. 

Olasumbo Olaniyi

Olasumbo, trained as an architect, is a vibrant creative who sees life as a canvas and an institution. She is keen to explore and redefine the context of spatial thinking and creativity. Presently, she works as a Research Facilitator and Operations Lead with a multidisciplinary firm; the African Contemporary Institute of Design (ACID).

Having trained in Nigeria (BTech in Architecture, Federal University of Technology, Akure), South Africa (MTech in Architectural Technology, University of Johannesburg) and the Netherlands (PgD in Urban Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam), Olasumbo is passionate about interstitials and in-betweens of informality and surveillance within Africa to understand space/place differently whilst improving spatial access, equity and quality.

As a writer, her work has been featured by JustSpatialDesignZA and SomeOtherMag.  Olasumbo also enjoys impacting her environment and people. Through volunteering, she serves as a Project Manager with Slum Art Foundation where she mentors children between ages 6-17 in the slum alongside other art enthusiasts.

She was one of the Run Leaders on the Cityzens4CleanAir initiative, joining other citizen scientists to generate evidence to increase the demand for clean air and healthy public space.

Read her blog entry, reflections from the Lagos Car-Free day in September 2022.

Dr. Ebele Mogo is one of the disruptors that UrbanBetter and Oni et al admire

Ebele Mogo

Ebele is passionate about creating solutions that can change the trajectory of health and wellbeing, especially in Africa.

Some of her past work includes frontline engagement of clinicians in the roll-out of a state-wide medical waste management initiative in Lagos, Nigeria; co-developing a malaria prevention initiative focused on Nkolve, Cameroon; an internship at the WHO investigating factors shaping urban health in Lagos, and leading Africa-wide partnerships for a digital health innovation.

She leads Engage Africa Foundation, a pan-African network on a mission to advocate for people-centred solutions that put health at the center of development in Africa, in light of the rise of non-communicable diseases. They have run dialogues with the Young Town Planners Association of the Nigerian Institute of Town planners on the connection between planning and health. More recently, they ran a crowdsourced digital campaign where over thirty young people participated in translating the WHO’s preventive guidelines on COVID-19 into 19 African languages. She is also a writer and her work has been featured in Johnson and Johnson’s Africa Storytelling Challenge. In recognition of her contributions to health science, she was selected to the 2020 Next Einstein Fellowship.

Omotola Olufemi

Omotola Olufemi is one of the disruptors that UrbanBetter and Oni et al admire

Tola aims to disrupt health inequality in Africa‘s cities by harnessing the power of data science, epidemiology and machine learning to explore and model various diseases and risk factors in order to better understand and minimize disparities in urban health.

She is a Master of Public Health graduate from the University of Queensland, Australia, and has completed a BSc.Double Major in Biology and Medical Science from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Her experience includes research and community outreach with organizations targeting urban slum populations, women, children, and youth across Nigeria, Canada, and Australia. Omotola leads policy research and partnership building at the Engage Africa Foundation, where she worked on research recommending a shift to a socioecological response to effectively tackle rising non-communicable disease in Africa’s cities.

Charles Lukania

Charles is a passionate environmentalist who aims to build more green champion leaders to defend and protect their environment for posterity and future generations.

He has over 10 years of experience in the field of environmental conservation and community engagement. He is a certified environment impact assessment (EIA) expert with National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). 

He is the founder of a community-based organization called Wafuraha Group based in Dandora – home of biggest dumpsites in Kenya – to utilize his environmental knowledge and implement local actions like waste management, community clean ups, tree planting, school education programs and handicrafts. Charles is a co-founder of Ken Green Marketing Cooperative Society promoting the formation of over 50 Green Enterprises that promote green enterprises that address climate change, for example producing briquettes as an alternative source of fuel to replace 30% of the unsustainable produced charcoal. 

Charles has mobilized other community-based organizations to form the Dandora Environment Consortium which organized nature trails along the Nairobi River and tree planting expeditions. He was part of a team that formed a community driven initiative dubbed the Nairobi River Waterfalls Conservancy with the main aim to conserve the river basin ecosystem.

He works with Voices 4 Change (V4C) as the Project Coordinator for the Growth4Change that fights poverty through urban farming and green growth. Charles volunteers at Greening Kenya Initiative Trust (GKIT). He is at the frontline of the Green Schools Program and works with many schools in Kenya to establish tree nursery, start smart kitchen gardens and tree growing in schools and degrade Riparian reserves. He organizes Green champions countrywide to form CBOs and help to come up with bankable and transformative community projects. 

Kaluki Paul Mutuku

Kaluki is a climate justice and environmental defender from Kenya.

He has led and advocated for strong climate action in Kenya, Africa; from the successful deCOALonize campaign to leading Education for Sustainable Development(ESD) for schools, training and advocating for Nature-Based Solutions whilst championing for sustainable diets, restoration, agroforestry and ecological farming practices.

Kaluki has a background in Environmental conservation and Natural resource management from the University of Nairobi. He is the Africa Director at Youth4Nature, Co-founder and executive director at Kenya Environmental Action Network, founder at Green treasures Farms, and ambassador at Global Evergreening Alliance. He advocates for strong and meaningful youth engagement in climate policy and processes, leadership and community engagement. Kaluki is an environmental blogger and kindness advocate.

Makoma Lekalakala

Makoma is the Director of Earthlife Africa Jhb - an environmental justice and anti-nuclear organisation. Makoma is a strong campaigner for a just and fair society.

Her commitment to climate justice in South Africa has led civil society to win the first South African climate change legal court case against the government and the reversal of the nuclear deal by the South African and the Russian government. For her efforts she received the WWF Living Awards Honourable Mention in 2017, the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa in 2018 and the Nick Steel Memorial : Environmentalist of the Year 2018 amongst other accolades. Recently appointed to the Presidential Climate Change Coordinating Committee a body tasked in advising the President on the process of a just transition to a low carbon development.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema

Elizabeth is the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

She has worked with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) for over two decades and was the Director of the Law Division at UNEP which is also responsible for international environmental governance as well as multilateral environmental agreements. 

Prior to joining the Law Division in June 2014, she was Deputy Director of the Ecosystems Division, in charge of coordination, operations and programme delivery from 2012 and also served for one year as Acting Director to the same Division. In 2018, she was the Acting Director of the Corporate Services Division. Prior to these duties, she also served as Executive Secretary of the UNEP/Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) from 2009-2012. 

Her work at UNEP has focused on development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, including multilateral environmental agreements at national, regional and international levels, among others. Her various roles over the years include being Coordinator of capacity-building and compliance and enforcement projects related to environmental law and the multilateral environmental conventions.

Before joining UNEP, she worked with Tanzania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and left as a Counsellor/Senior Legal Counsel. During her time with the Ministry, she was also a lecturer in Public International Law and Conference Diplomacy at Tanzania’s Centre for Foreign Relations and Diplomacy. She had also served as a pro bono visiting lecturer at the University of Nairobi Law School and at the International Development Law Organization, Rome, Italy.

A lawyer and career diplomat with LLB (Hons) from the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, LLM from Dalhousie University, Canada and Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Centre of Foreign Relations and Diplomacy in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. 

Ellyanne Chlystun-Githae Wanjiku

Ellyanne started tree planting in 2015, aged 4, after completing a Kindergarten project on heroes.

The heroes she studied included Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt movement and the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace prize. She was struck by the importance of Professor Maathai’s tree planting efforts. Upset by the widespread cutting of trees causing environmental degradation in Kenya, Ellyanne set about planting trees. 321 initially and reached her target of 1000 trees a few months later. Six years later, having launched the Children with Nature – an organisation led by youth and children to support and promote tree planting – she is now at 1.3 million trees in schools, government forests and several riparian river banks. Her new target is to plant 1 million trees in the Sahel Desert, North of Africa.

Ellyanne’s passion and zeal has not gone unnoticed. She was invited by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Nairobi  for the 2017 World Environment Day celebrations, themed Connecting with Nature.  

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko recently appointed Ellyanne as Co-Chair of the Task Force for Michuki Park, an Urban Green Space in Nairobi. She is charged with helping to regenerate the green space and provide a suitable play area with learning activities for children and youth.

Maureen Mutheka

Maureen is a Nutritionist in Kenya who is passionate about achieving zero hunger.

As a member of the UN Food System Summit Action Track 1 leadership team, she rolls up her sleeves to do what she loves best – fighting hunger, malnutrition and poverty towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2.

Maureen is the founder of a social enterprise called Tule Vyema, raising awareness and capacity for improving household nutrition security. To date, these activities, including nutrition education talks and training young women to cultivate indigenous vegetables on vertical gardens in her community, have significantly impacted over 2,000 community members. Her transformative work has been recognised by local and global organisations such as the Shawn Mendes Foundation,  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (UNESCO MGIEP), Food Tank, Croplife International, Oxfam and Global Changemakers.

Shakira Choonara

Dr Shakira is an award-winning independent public health practitioner, bold activist, most Powerful Woman Under 40 in South Africa and an Ambassador for Operation Smile.

In 2018-2020, she served on the inaugural African Union Youth Council and is presently the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) Commissioner for universal health coverage. This past year she has also served as the Guest Editor of the Feminist Journal, Agenda published by Taylor and Francis. Dr Choonara is currently a Board Member at Youth Health Africa & part of the NCD Child Young Leaders Programme.

In the past two months, Dr Choonara has been speaking out and offering insights into the best practices for youth engagement globally on several platforms, including the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC), Africa Youth Economic Forum and recently at the Global Youth Mobilization Summit, alongside the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros.

Gabriel Okello​

Gabriel is a research-active expert with vast experience in air pollution assessment, human exposure science and renewable energy.

He is passionate about promoting evidence-based policies and interventions to reduce human exposure to air pollutants in outdoor, indoor and workplace settings; and improving public awareness of the importance of cleaner air in all settings for public health.

He is currently a Global Sustainability fellow and Research Associate in Air Quality and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) at University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, a member of the Global Diet and Physical Activity (GDAR) Network, MRC Epidemiology unit, Cambridge and visiting researcher at Makerere AirQo. Equipped with a PhD in Medical Sciences from the University of Aberdeen, UK, a Master of Science in Chemistry from Northeast Normal University, China and BSc in Food Processing Technology from Kyambogo University, Uganda, his current research involves applying transdisciplinary research methods to address air pollution as a risk factor of lung health in Kampala and Jinja cities, Uganda. 

Gabriel is the Founder of the African Centre for Clean Air (ACCA), a multidisciplinary centre working in collaboration with multiple international, regional and local partners. The ACCA aims to develop African-based capacity to tackle the causes of air pollution, foster advocacy skills, and provide evidence for policy changes to protect health in Africa. 

Elizabeth Wathuti

Elizabeth is a passionate environmentalist and climate activist from Kenya. She is the founder of the Green Generation Initiative (GGI), which nurtures young people to be conscious of the environment while promoting green projects.

In recognition of the impact of the GGI, Elizabeth was a regional finalist for Africa for the UN Young Champions of the Earth 2019.  She is also Head of Campaigns and Coordinator of the Daima coalition for the protection of urban green spaces at the Wangari Maathai Foundation, she received. 

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Community development and is the Head of Campaigns and Coordinator of the Daima coalition for the protection of urban green spaces at the Wangari Maathai Foundation. She has showcased her climate action solutions in several high-level international conferences such as the 2019 UNFCCC resilient frontiers conference, South Korea, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) African presidential dialogue, Ethiopia, and 2020 No Planet B international forum, Portugal. 

Elizabeth has received several awards and recognition for her leadership and commitment to environmental conservation. These include the young climate champion 2019 award from the Green Climate Fund, the 2020 Commonwealth Youth Awards regional finalist for Africa and Europe for excellence in development work, and the Wangari Maathai Scholarship Award from The Greenbelt Movement, Kenya Community Development Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. 

Buyana Kareem

Buyana Kareem is an interdisciplinary researcher committed to advancing Pan-African urban scholarship for global sustainability.

He has dual affiliations with Makerere University in Uganda (Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences) and the University of Florida in the USA (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) as a researcher and adjunct assistant professor of urban ethnography, respectively. Kareem has researched and written about topics that matter to the debate and practice of sustainable urban transformations within Africa and the globe, including gender equality, energy transitions, climate resilience pathways, and knowledge co-production. 

Kareem earned his PhD in sociology for urban and regional development from Stanford University, California, USA, and has published his research in international journals.

His research seeks to bring on board the broadest range of actors from academia, policy and local communities for science-based public engagements that can trigger the seeding and scaling-up pathways to sustainable cities. He has worked with different United Nations (UN) agencies as an international consultant and participated in the 2019 UN High-level Political Forum on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in New York.   

Dorcas Wakio Mugo

Dorcas Wakio Mugo is a fourth-year Bachelors degree student studying Marine Resource Management at the Technical University of Mombasa, Kenya.

A climate and environmental activist passionate about environmental conservation, she volunteers for OneBillionTreesforAfrica and is the Founder of the ‘Adopt a Tree at Kwale’ initiative. 

Dorcas became an activist in 2019 after she noticed how her country, Kenya, is being impacted by climate change. She finds her inspiration from young activists like Elizabeth Wathuti, Vanessa Nakate, Leah Namugerwa, Patricia Kombo, Ellyanne Githae and many more, helping her see that no one is too small to make a difference. 

She started planting trees with WWF Kenya and Kenya forest service in Kwale county and jointly established a tree nursery consisting of 3300 indigenous tree species in 2019. Her ‘Adopt a Tree at Kwale’ initiative is focused on planting trees and educating school children on the importance of protecting the environment and its ecosystems. Her ultimate goal is to ensure that environmental education is prioritised in the school curriculum. Dorcas was nominated for the Green Female Award by Eleven Eleven Twelve Foundation and is a member of the Fridays For Future Movement, striking for climate change. To inspire the next generation of women in conservation, in May 2020, she wrote an article for WIOMSA magazine entitled ‘A Mission To Restore Coastal Forests’.

Alice McClure​

Alice is a climate change and sustainable development researcher in the Climate System Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town.

She is passionate about connecting people and ideas to collaboratively support context-driven action that addresses climate risks in African cities. Alice’s research interests span climate risk, vulnerability, governance, adaptation and resilience. But ultimately, she believes that climate action must address inequality, the root cause of vulnerability in Africa. 

She has coordinated the Future Resilience for African CiTies and Lands (FRACTAL) project since 2016, co-producing knowledge with diverse stakeholders in nine southern African cities to support resilient development pathways. Alice also led a Leading Integrated Research for Agenda 2030 in Africa (LIRA2030) project entitled “Transforming southern African cities in a changing climate” that explored transformative approaches to building climate resilience in Durban and Harare. Her findings have since been integrated into ongoing planning processes and decisions in these cities. 

Alice is currently enrolled in a PhD at UCT to better understand how transdisciplinarity supports learning to inform climate action in the complex contexts of African cities. She believes that empathy is critical for the inclusive collaborations needed to tackle complex problems such as climate change. She would like to broaden the scope of her research to better understand the nexus of climate change, gender and sustainable urban development in Africa.

Patricia Mumbua Kombo

Patricia is a passionate environmentalist and promoter of sustainable development education.

As the founder of the PaTree initiative, she has planted over 10,000 trees and visited over 15 schools in Kenya to mentor the younger generation on the benefits of environmental conservation. Having observed children and mothers suffering from climate-induced adversity, her goal is to provide skills-based sustainability education, giving voice to young generations and supporting action for climate advocacy. She is also part of the youth consultation for Kenya’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which measures progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Patricia was recognised by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification as a Land Hero for advocating for sustainable land use and changing community attitudes towards sustainable land use and consumption. . She was awarded the ‘She Can’ Awards by Kotex Kenya for promoting Environmental Education in schools and was among the top 5 entries in the 2021 blog4dev competition by the World Bank. 

Besides championing climate change, she advocates for sustainable agriculture, as part of efforts to end hunger, malnutrition and poverty in her community. During the COVID-19 lockdown in Kenya, she contributed to setting up community kitchens and gardens to support healthy local consumption and provide training on sustainable agriculture.


Charlotte Aumann

Charlotte is a climate and environmental activist from Kenya.

She is studying for a Bachelor’s degree in marine resource management at the Technical University of Mombasa, Kenya. 

Charlotte spreads awareness on climate and environmental justice through social media. She is a part of One Billion Trees for Africa, an African organisation advocating to plant a billion trees through various creative projects in different countries in Africa. 

She is also a member of SUSO (Stand Up Shout Out), an environmental youth club with tree planting and community cleanup initiatives across the Kenyan coast. Charlotte has worked in organisations such as the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute as an intern where she participated in monitoring fisheries and mangrove conservation along the Kenyan Coast. In recognition of her efforts, she was featured in WIMS (Women in Marine Science) magazine in 2020.

Evelyn Acham

Evelyn is a passionate climate justice activist from Uganda.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Land Economics from Makerere University.

As a national coordinator for the Rise Up Movement, she organises climate strikes and campaigns, and educates pupils in schools about climate change. She’s part of Fridays for Future, the international movement of school students striking for bold climate action, has collaborated on projects like Vash Green Schools organised by Vanessa Nakate, and has spoken at events like ‘Women Leading Climate Action’ organised by Actionaid Australia, Model United Nations Impact global summit, and the 2021 Environmental day concert organised by 350.org. 

She is currently working on the +1Tree UG project, which sensitises households and schools in Uganda about the advantages and urgency of planting trees. She believes that this will help to increase awareness about climate change in communities, needed to reverse the effects of climate change. 

Evelyn is also part of campaigns like Just Recovery, StopEACOP and Clean Up Standard Chartered, all working to advocate for planetary health. She has been featured in podcasts like Boots on the ground, The Common Ground and Tiny Spark, and is an Arctic angel for Global choices, a youth-led intergenerational action network of young leaders collaborating to pressure policymakers to urgently act to protect the planet. 

Mulindwa Moses​

Mulindwa is a climate and environmental activist from Uganda empowering youth to create climate-resilient societies.

He started a campaign called ‘two trees a week’ where he goes to communities and schools affected by the impacts of climate change to educate and engage them on climate action. And because he believes that planting trees is a lost cause if they are not nurtured, his campaign focuses on both planting and growing trees.   In addition to striking to #SaveCongoRainforest for 267 consecutive days to raise awareness on deforestation, he is part of the Fridays For the Future movement and has been striking for climate for over 80 weeks. While he has faced many challenges, the support of international activists has helped him stay motivated!

He has planted over 150000 trees in the last three and a half years in parts of Uganda most affected by the impacts of the climate crisis and led petitions against the destruction of nature in the country. 

Moses has been recognised as a Land Hero by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and an ambassador at Trees for the Future. He is co-founder of the CYE Believe Network, an NGO empowering youth to create climate-resilient societies through providing innovative, engaging, interactive and tailored training and coaching.

Winnie Cheche

Winnie is a conservationist and environmental blogger from Kenya, telling stories of Kenyan youth climate activists to inspire us to protect the planet.

She is passionate about nature and wildlife conservation and preservation and believes that we are custodians of nature with a duty to protect it. Through her blog, she promotes awareness of sustainable living and wildlife conservation in Kenya, telling the stories of Kenyan youth involved in climate action to inspire more people to be part of the solutions that protect the planet. 

Winnie has worked with several nature and climate oriented organisations and initiatives from Greenpeace and Pass the Mic Climate, to Black Girl Environmentalist, and Kenya’s Climate Change Directorate. In addition, she is a blogger and social media manager for KEAN (Kenya Environmental Action Network) and the Africa Climate Conversations Podcast. 

Morris Nyombi

Morris is a climate justice activist from Uganda.

He is the social media manager at Rise Up Movement and an ambassador at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Morris’s journey to climate activism began in 2019 when he joined the Fridays for future movement after meeting Vanessa Nakate, who taught him a lot about climate change.  But he soon felt that wasn’t enough and wanted to make more of a difference. So he started tree planting and ecosystem restoration activities in schools and communities in Uganda. 

One such activity is the Plastics Game Over project which aims to stop plastics from blocking drainage systems in Uganda and threatening aquatic life in Lake Victoria. He is motivated to continue advocating to protect the environment by fellow youth activists who are also rising up and using their voices to speak up on what world they would like to see in the future. Morris believes that our voices can hold all decision-makers accountable if we use them well.

Nyamrinda Obam

Nyamrinda is a nature lover, environmentalist and climate justice activist from Kenya.

He has a Bachelor of Science in Applied Aquatic Sciences. He is the founder of Climate Powers and was nominated in 2020 as a Green Ambassador for the climate in Africa by the Climate Change Africa Opportunities (CCAO).

As an environmental advocate, he has participated in several campaigns focused on tree-planting drives and clean-ups in towns and beaches. These include the “SaveCongoRainforest”, “SaveNairobiNationalPark”, and the “ActOnSahel” campaigns. He writes articles and poems on the need for ecological conservation. One of his articles, “Tree Planting Not Enough for Climate”,  featured in the July 2020 issue of Climact magazine, a Pakistani magazine by the Climate Beacons Network. 

Currently, he is working on a mentorship drive for school children on the importance of environmental conservation and tree growing campaigns with these kids and their parents and teachers to involve the whole community. In addition, he volunteers as the social media manager for Eco-Mindset, a Kenyan quarterly print magazine focused on style, sustainability and substance. As a climate action advocate, he has faith that through environmental education and advocacy and as one people, we can counter the effects of climate change and restore the integrity of our planet.

Alioune Badara GUEYE

Alioune is an environmental geographer from Senegal committed to urban reforestation.

Trained at the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar (Senegal🇸🇳), he worked on the environmental and social impacts of the Mbeubeuss (Dakar) landfill for his Master’s thesis and continues to work on this topic.

As Founder of the SenOxy Citizen Initiative, he has been active in urban reforestation, green space planning, raising awareness of the importance of protecting and promoting the environment. Through this initiative, more than 10,000 plants have been planted and hundreds of Eco-Delegates (student ambassadors for the environment) have been trained in schools.

In addition, this initiative has organised over twenty reforestation campaigns in 4 regions of Senegal (Dakar, Thies, Diourbel and Fatick) and developed a platform that provides a database of all the trees planted, documenting the name of the species, the name and telephone number of the person responsible for the tree and GPS coordinates of the tree. These data have improved the monitoring and consequently, the survival rate of trees planted.

In recognition of his work, he has received several international nominations and distinctions including the Top 100 Best Young Conservation Leaders in Africa 2020, 2021 Ambassador of the World Landscape Forum, and is a Climate Change Africa Opportunity 2020 Ambassador.

Temilade Sesan

Temilade is a sociologist from Nigeria with 10 years’ experience in international development.

Her research examines the socioeconomic dimensions of the food-energy-waste nexus in West Africa (particularly Nigeria and Ghana), and how they intersect with issues of the environment, gender, health and urban planning. She works across these sectors to identify pathways to greater inclusion of marginalised groups – including women and girls – in public and private development initiatives. A key focus of her work is highlighting the social and cultural upheavals that often accompany seemingly benign technological and economic advancement processes in the region. 

She works with a range of policy and development actors to generate evidence-informed and actionable knowledge outputs, thereby amplifying the societal impact of her research. Temilade has communicated her research through peer-reviewed scientific articles and via blogs, documentaries, opinion pieces and policy briefs. In addition, she teaches and supervises postgraduate students at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Yoba Alenga

Yoba is an ecologist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, passionate about biodiversity.

He holds a Master’s degree in Biodiversity and Sustainable Forest Management from the University of Kisangani. As an ecologist, his research contributes to the understanding of forest ecology in the Congo Basin by combining classical and acoustic approaches using bats as proxies. 

Beyond his scientific career, he is also a young leader, environmental activist and National Coordinator of the Congolese Youth Biodiversity Network. With other young people, he is actively engaged in the search for solutions to the crucial problems facing our society, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and more. He serves as the Country Representative of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Youth Council. Yoba is a fellow of the Next Generation Foresight Practitioners (NGFP), Titley Scientific and IdeaWILD.

Lily Tanui

Lily is a Kenyan nature enthusiast and environmental engineering student at the Óbuda University.

She has been planting trees since she was ten years old. She has planted more than 10,000 trees in schools, churches, forests and influenced the planting of thousands of other trees by friends and followers on social media. 

Her organisation, Tree Growers Association of Kenya, has grown trees and educated school children on the importance of planting trees and growing them to maturity. She looks forward to contributing to major changes in environmental policies and ensuring climate justice is achieved in Kenya in the near future.

Trish Muzenda

Trish is an urban health enthusiast, passionate about bridging the gap between academia, industry, and communities to shape Africa’s urban spaces for health.

Trish is a Vital Strategies Healthy Food Policy fellow currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Cambridge. She is focused on understanding the intersections between food policies and the lived realities of adolescents living in South African urban areas, with the goal of improving access to affordable healthy food alternatives across all socio-economic groups. She also holds a Master of Public Health (Epidemiology) from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa and a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from Rhodes University.

Prior to pursuing her PhD studies, Trish was a Junior Research Fellow at UCT’s Research Initiative for Cities Health and Equity (RICHE) where she most recently worked on a state-of-the art review of healthy green building initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa. The project explored the types of green building guidelines and certification systems in use, and the opportunities to leverage urban infrastructure and development initiatives for health creation. 

Her previous research include a literature review of the tools and techniques used to map and characterise food and physical activity environments in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), a synthesis of the epidemiological tools used in measuring LMIC adolescent food and physical activity behaviour, as well as an exploratory study on the experiences and potential for intersectoral collaboration in addressing health and housing issues in Doula, Cameroon. 

Trish’s work is motivated by the recognition that sub-Saharan Africa faces a myriad of interconnected and complex urban health challenges that require transdisciplinary and intersectoral efforts to understand their causes whilst simultaneously developing feasible solutions to address them.