JKUAT students tapped by United Nations to drive SDGs

Philomenah Muthoni with one of the baskets made from plastic wastes

Philomenah Muthoni with one of the baskets made from plastic wastes

The Millennium Campus Network (MCN) and the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) have tapped 39 students of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology to drive the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The semester long leadership incubation programme aims to help the fellows take their social impacts to the next level through access to world-class training, connections, and recognition.

The Millennium Fellowship Class of 2023 which include over 4,000 students from 260 campuses in 38 countries, were selected based on their leadership on sustainable development-related projects that advance the SDGs in their communities. They are expected to engage in targeted projects touching on the 17 SDGs and the UNAI principles.

In a communique to JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, Sam Vaghar Executive Director, MCN congratulated the university for producing another cohort of fellows for the programme.

Philomenah Muthoni Kangethe, a final year Marine Engineering student believes that the fellowship will enable her interact and exchange knowledge with other young people working to better the world.

Philomenah is currently implementing a project at the coastal city of Mombasa aimed at curbing plastic pollution through recycling. Her efforts have seen conversion of waste plastics into yarn for basket making.

“Using our plastic yarn, vulnerable women in Taita Taveta are now able to weave baskets in just three days compared to nearly two weeks using sisal,” says Philomenah.

Tumaini Chavai Women group uses plastic yarns to produce baskets in Taita Taveta

According to the conservation advocate, turning plastics into yarn can reduce environmental pollution, create jobs and improve livelihoods, all of which are key to realization of the SDGs.

Another Fellow, Felix Kamau who is a final year Information Technology student says that the opportunity will enable him to cultivate his leadership skills while crafting linkages with other fellows.

Felix is passionate about the role of technology in solving societal problems. His current project involves mobilizing students to donate food and clothing which are then shared with vulnerable and homeless children around the University vicinity.

In a message to the 2023 class, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, challenged the fellows to lead by example – with empathy, humility, and inclusion as guiding values.

“You can embrace global citizenship, building a strong global network to learn from and support each other…We are all counting on you to affirm the dignity of people and our planet, now and for years to come,” noted Ban Ki-moon.

Prof. Ngumi said the students’ admission into the Millennium Fellowship Class, demonstrates the global impact of the university’s dedication to sustainable development through quality teaching, research, innovation and entrepreneurship. The action, she added, brought immense pride to JKUAT.

Numbering 17, the SDGs were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 with the aim to deliver a more livable planet marked by high quality of life, development and peace by 2030.

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