What you need to know:
- Ms Ruong'o is a Nairobi-based photojournalist and videographer who documents, educates and creates awareness of climate change and sustainability.
- Ms Ruong'o launched her first solo photo exhibition dubbed Climate Heroines to celebrate and highlight the role of women in promoting sustainability and tackling climate change.
The climate agenda should be everyone's agenda, said Ms Sandra Ruong'o during the opening of the Climate Heroines exhibition.
Ms Ruong'o is a Nairobi-based photojournalist and videographer who documents, educates and creates awareness of climate change and sustainability. "Artists have a role in creating awareness of the social, economic and political effects of climate change in Africa," she added.
With several years of experience in photography across different countries in Africa, Ms Ruong'o launched her first solo photo exhibition dubbed Climate Heroines. The aim of the exhibition is to celebrate and highlight the role of women in promoting sustainability and tackling climate change.
"Today is the best day to celebrate these women as this has been a women's month. March 25 is also the last day of the 66th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) whose theme is achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all girls in the context of climate change and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes," she said.
In her first exhibition on Friday, chief guest Rosemary Odinga, who is East Africa's biggest snail farmer, said she has witnessed firsthand the effects of deforestation with her home in Bondo having become drier over the years. Ms Odinga commended Ms Ruong’o for her passion for photojournalism, noting that there was a story behind all the photographs taken.
Despite the venture being capital-intensive, Ms Ruong'o says she is grateful for all the support she has received so far and she will continue telling stories because they matter.
"In future I hope to tell stories about more women who are involved in climate sustainability because there are so many out here who are doing amazing things," she said. "I also hope, as artists, we can come together and do exhibits of our work because it is doable."
At the exhibition, she featured nine women and one women's group in different professions who are taking a stand to tackle climate change.
An environmental lawyer, she believes that the most basic right is the right to life but is affected by the environment that people live in. She seeks to protect the livelihoods of the voiceless by being a key player in advocating a safe, clean and healthy environment.
Fatma Abdulrehaman Alimohamed
She is a teacher, environmentalist and co-founder of Blue Earth Organisation. Her vision to see less plastics and more seashells along the beach motivated her activism.
She is the secretary general of the Millennial Environmentalist. A passionate environmentalist, she has rehabilitated several protected areas, including the Nairobi National Park, Amboseli National Park, Mt Longonot and Mt Kilimambogo. She has also restored the coastline by growing 2,000 mangroves. She urges the youth to use their voice, creativity and technological skills to contribute to green innovation and habitats.
She is the founder of Blue Earth Organisation. She tackles plastic pollution and regenerates areas affected by pollution. She also carries out public awareness in Mombasa County.
Claire Nasike Akello
She is a food systems expert with Greenpeace Africa. She leads food campaigns, trains locals in ecological agriculture, food and seed sovereignty as an adaptive mechanism to climate change. She also runs an initiative that seeks to improve nutrition among schoolchildren by establishing organic food gardens in rural and urban areas.
The social justice activist works with grassroots organisations in Machakos, Kajiado and Baringo counties. She is also a co-coordinator at the Seed Working Group of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and a member of the Climate Action Group. She has implemented a food justice project focussing on building a movement for agro-ecology among rural women.
Victoria Wangui Wanjohi
She is the founder and editor of an award-winning environmental communication platform Nyika Silika, as well as the co-founder of Biophilic Conversations, an organisation involved in community conservation. She believes story telling can influence the perception of wildlife and nature conservation.
She is an eco-blogger, climate activist and conservationist whose goal is to promote sustainable living and wildlife conservation. A communications director at the Kenya Environmental Action Network, she has successfully managed social media events for climate events that have promoted the urgency needed in addressing climate crisis. She has also assisted two orphan centres to grow their own vegetables through bucket drip irrigation.
She is a conservation education specialist and deputy operations at Elephant Queen Outreach Programme. She is passionate about environmental education, with a focus on endangered species. She believes that climate change has heightened human-elephant conflict. She interacts with women from various communities who bear the greatest burden of climate change to discuss viable solutions.
Wasini Women group
They seek to reduce overdependence on local natural resources and address resource degradation by promoting ecotourism and restoring mangroves. They are also involved in improving solid waste management and tackling poverty among women and the youth in Wasini.