“To Bring Change, We Must Be Ready to Change” - Grace Kamau's Charge to Young African Leaders - ALX

A passionate environmentalist, Grace Wambui Kamau is dedicated to raising awareness around climate change and finding solutions to mitigate its dire impacts. As a graduate of ALX, she credits the experience with motivating her to go after her mission. We caught up with this young leader from Kenya to hear more about her work and the role she thinks young Africans can play in addressing global challenges.

Grace Kamau has a charge for young African leaders

“Climate change and unemployment are two of the biggest challenges we face as a continent and across the globe. As young leaders, I believe we have been equipped with the right skills to come up with solutions to these challenges.”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey thus far.

I am a forensic scientist by profession as well as an entrepreneur and environmental enthusiast. I am also passionate about mental health and love to see people genuinely happy. My journey so far has been amazing. It has been a process of learning and unlearning and embracing the reality that change is the only constant. To bring change, we must be ready to change.

What’s your ultimate mission in life?

My mission is to create awareness around climate change and its effects, and to create a clean and habitable environment for my country and Africa as a whole. I’m currently taking an entrepreneurship course as well as raising awareness on my social media platforms around pollution and what we can do to reduce it.

What were some of the highlights of the ALX experience for you?

It provided powerful lessons in self-awareness, which helped me to understand who I am as a person as well as my passions and interests. It helped me become clear about my purpose in life and my vision. As a problem-solver, I got to understand what ails Africa and see myself as a leader who has potential solutions for these problems. The whole experience was amazing, especially the entrepreneurial challenges. I loved getting to grow my entrepreneurial side.

What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced as a young professional?

The biggest obstacle has been around understanding my personality and discovering what jobs I can and cannot do. I found myself confused, having done a bachelor’s degree that I was not passionate about. Being at ALX really helped me align my passions and interests. From there, I easily planned out my career path.

As someone who is passionate about the environment, are you concerned that not enough is being done on the continent — and in particular, Kenya — to address the impacts of climate change?

Yes, definitely. While there are efforts by the government of Kenya to reduce plastic waste by banning the use of plastic bags, that is not enough. Our waste management systems are wanting. This is evident in the large landfills in Kenya, with the largest being over 30 acres. A lot can be done about this by the citizens of Kenya as well as our leaders. A lot needs to be done.

Climate change and unemployment are two of the biggest challenges we face as a continent and across the globe. As young leaders, I believe we have been equipped with the right skills to come up with effective and sustainable solutions. By actively utilising these skills in whatever capacity we have — be it in employment or entrepreneurship — we can address these challenges.

Who inspires you?

The late Professor Wangari Maathai. She was a renowned Kenyan environmental, social and political activist, and the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize. She was bold, confident, charismatic and resilient — values that I am working to embody.

Finally, what excites you about The ROOM?

I am excited about the potential of The ROOM’s community. The great things that we can and we will do as a community is phenomenal — Africa is waiting for us!

ALX and The ROOM are at the forefront of equipping young professionals with the most in-demand career skills that will power the future. Find out more about the world-class tech training programmes available at ALX.

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