On the 10th of March 2016,  Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Director of the Kenya-based African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (Award)was the recipient of the  New African Woman Awards in the category of Education at a gala ceremony held in conjunction with the New African Women Forum.

The Awards, held at the Andaz Hotel in London, recognises African women who have been instrumental in shaping their societies and pay tribute to individuals who have made significant contributions in various fields within and outside the continent. Winners were divided into 11 Categories that included; Business; Politics and Public Office; Education; Science, Technology and Innovation; Finance and Banking; Media; Sport; Arts and Culture; Civil Society; Rising Star; and New African Woman of the Year.

The judging panel comprised of Leila Ben Hassen (General Manager, IC Publications), Regina Jane Jere (Editor New African Woman), Onike Nicol-Houra (Principal Business Development Officer at African Development Bank),  Amadou Mahtar Ba (Co-Founder and Executive Chairman AllAfrica Global Media and Member of UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment) and Dr Nkosana Moyo (Executive Chairman of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS).


Dr Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, is the Founder and Executive Director of Akili Dada, a leadership incubator investing in high-achieving young African women from underprivileged backgrounds with a demonstrated passion for social change. Holding a Ph.D. in Political Science, Wanjiru is also an Assistant Professor in the Politics department at the University of San Francisco, where her work centers on the politics of philanthropy, gender, Africa, ethnicity, and democratization, and on the role of technology in social activism. It is through her work as an educator that she received this prestigious award.

Along with Dr Kamau-Rutenberg four other Kenyan women were nominated in the awards ceremony  Maisa Auma (Education), Yvonne Ndege (Media), Hanna Wanjie Ryder (On the Rise), Vivian Onano (On the Rise).

Also in attendance,  Amb. Jackline Yonga,  Deputy High Commissioner of the Mission.

The New African Women Forum

Running in its first year, the   New African Woman Forum was a 2-day event which  brought  together over 150 leaders from business, academia and civil society, as well as key decision-makers from the public and private sector.

The Forum underlined the depth of young female African talent committed to creating a better future for Africa’s young people.

Through a combination of panel discussions,  presentations and networking breaks, the Forum offered a unique platform to meet, network and share the challenges, experiences and success stories of the African Women who are changing the game on the continent.

Speakers included; HE Ms. Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi, H.E. Jeanine Mabunda, Special Representative of the President of DR Congo on Sexual Violence and Child Recruitment, Obiageli Ezekwesili, Former Vice President, World Bank/ #BringbackourGirls campaign,  and from Kenya  Founder and Executive Chair, Gina Din Group, Kenya, Nomsa Daniels, Chief Executive, The Graca Machel Trust.

The takeaway of this event was that Education is key to empoweing the African woman and girl child