What do they do that will inspire you?

And what is the future of nature and wildlife?

Anthony Kuria heads the African Office of the Tropical Biology Association, where he leads in developing training programs for African scientists and conservation practitioners.
He has a Masters’ degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Kuria strongly believes in knowledge management, mentoring of young people and has been instrumental in supporting and strengthening careers of TBA alumni, thus preparing them to have an impact on the ground.

Dr. Caleb Ofori is the founder and director of Herp Conservation Ghana (Herp-Ghana); West Africa’s first amphibian and reptile conservation society and a Research Scientist at Ghana’s Forestry Research Institute of Ghana where he conducts most of his amphibian research, contribute to environmental impact assessments, and help develop amphibian monitoring programs and management guidelines for corporations.

He has been extensively involved in natural resources policy formulation (wetland and forestry) and is an expert in participatory formulation of natural resources management plans including forest and wetland ecosystems.

As the first biologist to research amphibians in Ghana, Dr. Ofori has proven himself as a leader in herpetological research and conservation in West Africa. A PhD holder from The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Dr. Ofori was part of a team that in 2007 rediscovered a critically endangered frog species in Ghana, Conraua derooi (Togo Slippery Frog), named after the Republic of Togo, where it was first discovered after several years in which it was assumed extinct.

With the support of the local communities on whose land this frog occurs, Caleb and his team has legally established ~100ha of the species habitat as a community resource management area in Ho West District of Ghana and together with the landowners planted over 20,000 trees to protect and restore respectively the habitat of this endangered species. He has also managed to train local conservation professionals to assist in the task of monitoring species population and implementing his programme of protection.

His previous research led to discovery of the Critically Endangered frog in Atewa forest, Phrynobatrachus afiabirago (Afia Birago’s puddle frog), which he named after his mother, Madam Afia Birago as a recognition of her love for nature and the struggles she overcame to raise him and his siblings.

To protect species and to convey a strong conservation message, Caleb developed an outreach programme dubbed ‘conservation evangelism’ utilising the role religion plays in communities to raise awareness for the natural world and he hopes to inspire people to change their behaviour, especially with regard to hunting the Togo slippery frog.

Claire Nasike Akello, is a Food Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa, where she trains local communities on ecological farming as an adaptive mechanism to climate change and advocates for smallholder farmers adoption of ecological farming and its inclusion in Kenya’s agricultural policies.

She has previously worked as an Environmental Education Officer for A Rocha Kenya and received the 2015 Wangari Maathai Scholarship Award for her work with school children in Budalangi on environmental education.


Claire is also the founder of the Hummingbird Foundation; an initiative aimed at improving nutrition among school children by setting up organic food gardens in rural and urban areas.

David Wakogy  is an environmentalist whose area of focus is Wetland Conservation and Climate Change. He is a founding member of Friends of Ondiri Wetland Kenya and also its coordinator. He is also a social entrepreneur who works in the field of youth empowerment. 

Dr. Dominic Maringa is a holder of Ph.D in Agricultural and Rural Development. He received a Bsc. Forestry in 2001 at Moi University, and holds a Master of Project Management from the University of Nairobi. He is currently the Manager of Ngarendare Forest Trust, Kenya. 

He has a passion in conservation and sustainable utilization of natural resources for community development. He advocates for non-consumptive utilization of natural resources to generate revenue, equitable sharing with minimal conflicts all holistically managed for the future

Edward Mungai is the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC). Prior to joining KCIC, Edward was the East Africa Region head for the Danish International Investments Fund.

He has worked for KPMG East Africa in Corporate finance and Transactions services focusing on the financial services sector.

He is also the founder of Inspire Leadership which focuses on unlocking people’s potential, a published author, and one of the most influential leaders in personal growth and leadership in Africa.

Edward is a Danida Fellow and a 2016 Eisenhower Fellow and sits on several boards as well as a faculty member at Strathmore Business School where he teaches Corporate Sustainability and Innovation to executives. 

Grace Kamau is an environmentalist and conservationist passionate about restoration and preservation of forests. She has been part of the Brackenhurst Restoration Initiative for 17 years and has had a key role in the propagation and nursery management of indigenous trees. She is keen on passing this knowledge to the next generation and as a member of the local community trains local  youth on the value and importance of preserving indigenous trees. The tree nursery she runs under Plants for Life International provides seedlings to local farms, neighboring communities and local and regional conservation initiatives on tree planting. The nursery works closely with Friends of Brackenhurst forest Community Based Organization.

George Mungai is a conservation ornithologist passionate about the preservation of bird species especially those that are listed as either endangered, threatened or vulnerable. He is a Tropical Biology short course trainee and took part in a MasterClass on designing impact-based conservation projects July 2018 in Gisenyi, Rwanda. George is a firm believer that site based approaches in conservation where local communities take lead are a sure way to protect and conserve species. He is also a commercial strawberry farmer. 

Dr. Henry Ndithia is a Senior Research Scientist, Ornithology Section, Zoology Department, National Museums of Kenya. 

His professional experience spans more than 20 years where he has risen from a Graduate Research Intern at the Ornithology Section to the current position.

Dr. Ndithia has also been extensively involved in building the capacity of young conservationists in Statistics, GIS, Ornithology as well as supervision of undergraduate and graduate students. He has also won several Research Grants/Fellowship.

He holds a PhD from University of Groningen, the Netherlands and is an avid publisher on reputable journals on Ornithology.


Dr. James Kairo is a Pew fellow (2019), certified marine ecologist and Chief Scientist with the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute. He heads a team dedicated to mangrove research and is the coordinator of mangrove research program in Kenya.

He has been extensively involved in natural resources policy formulation (wetland and forestry) and is an expert in participatory formulation of natural resources management plans including forest and wetland ecosystems.


Dr. Kairo has vast working experience spanning over 30 years on the conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable utilization of coastal and marine resources. His work has earned him several national and international awards. In 2010, Dr Kairo was awarded the Kenya’s Presidential Award of the ‘Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) for his contribution in the advancement of marine conservation in the country.  Dr. James Kairo is currently serving the global community as the member of Scientific Working Group on Blue Carbon; as well as the coordinating author of the IPCC’s special report on oceans and cryosphere (SROCC).

Judith Mirembe is the current Chairperson of Uganda Women Birders, an Initiative to Introduce women to bird watching and conservation. She is an EDGE Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered Species Alumnus doing research on the community conservation of the Shoebill in Mabamba and Makanga Wetlands. She has worked with NatureUganda, BirdLife International Partner Uganda as Coordinator Bird Population Monitoring in Uganda.

Judith holds an MSc in Environmental and Natural Resources Management. She is a bird guide and enjoys playing hockey.

Kanja Njiru is a passionate footballer and conservationist. He has coached for over 15 years and is key on the use of sports as a tool of empowerment. In addition to sports he is keen on educating and sensitizing youth on the use of natural resources to better their lives and that of their communities. He is a resident of the community surrounding Rungiri Dam.

Dr Mao Amis is the Executive Director and Impact Investment Lead at the African Centre for Green Economy (African Centre), a non-profit think tank based in South Africa. He has 15 years experience in the green economy sector in Africa and globally. Dr Amis advises on a range of topics, including climate finance, low carbon development, inclusive business models, public-private partnerships, corporate sustainability strategies, water stewardship etc. 

He holds an MSc and PhD in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town. He also serves on various Boards as a non-Executive Director, including the South African Renewable Energy Business Incubator (SAREBI) and the Freshwater Research Centre. Until recently, Dr Amis was also an adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town.

Dr. Musonda Mumba, a Zambian National is the Director for The Rome Centre for Sustainable Development under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in close collaboration with Italian Government (Ministry of Environment and Ecological Transition). 

The Centre focuses on three priority areas notably: Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Nature Protection.  In her role, she provides strategic leadership on these matters through convening, collaboration, connecting and co-creation as the world navigates complexity and uncertainty, with the aim of achieving the SDGs collectively. 

Her ambition is that this work is done with a Systems Thinking lens and also Systems Leadership.  She has over 25 years’ experience in environmental and conservation issues globally. 


She is also the Chair of the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR).  She is also the Founder of the Network of African Women Environmentalists (NAWE). 

She has published widely in various journals, newspapers, articles and contributed to book chapters.  Before joining UNDP, Musonda was the head of United Nations Environment Programme – UNEP’s Terrestrial Ecosystems Programme and served in various roles over a period of 12 years.  Before working for UNEP, Musonda worked for the Zambian Government, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (in Switzerland), WWF (at International, UK and East Africa Regional Offices) and as such working with governments on Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

She received her BSc. Ed degree at University of Zambia and has a PhD from University College London (UCL) in Wetland Conservation and Hydrology.   

Outside her work her interests include abstract painting, cooking, running, yoga, mountain climbing and introducing her children to and teaching them about the natural world.  She speaks English, French, Bemba and Kiswahili. 

Nashipae Orumoy is a PR and Corporate Communication expert with over 14 years’ hands-on experience in all aspects of brand management, public relations and media engagement, advocacy, events management, corporate social investment, crisis communications and digital communications. She has worked in the private sector; 2 years as communication officer at Imperial Bank and then 7 years as Head of Corporate Communications. 

In 2015 she joined the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Kenya office where she was Head of Communications. At WWF Kenya, she set up a communications department and she worked closely with management and board to develop 3 years of strategic communications plan to grow the brand locally and steered the organization through a change process of being registered as a local NGO. 


Successful implementation of the plan led to impactful brand and messaging campaigns, increased donor confidence and launch of in- country private sector fundraising. In January 2020, she moved to African Wildlife Foundation as Director of Public Relations and Corporate Communications where she is building the brand across Africa as well globally in line with implementing a 10-year strategy of representing Africa wildlife and wildlands.

Nashipae has experience in project management experience from conception to implementation through team development and leadership. A strategist, she influences thinking, forges strategic alliances, and builds consensus for impact. 

Dr. Patrick Maundu Patrick Maundu is an Ethnobotanist who has devoted much of his life to research in the indigenous knowledge of African biodiversity especially in health and nutrition. Patrick led a multi-institutional team of researchers in promoting African leafy vegetables and Dietary diversification (2001-2010) in 10 African countries.

This work saw the return of indigenous vegetables in the Kenyan markets and diets. For these efforts, he was recognized as a guardian of biodiversity in a Global campaign for Diversity for Life and in addition received the 2006 CGIAR Outstanding Award for an innovative and highly effective campaign to promote the consumption of micronutrient-rich African leafy vegetables in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

He is the main author of: Indigenous Food Plants of Kenya (1999) and Useful Trees and Shrubs of Kenya (2005) and he is an editor of Useful Trees and Shrubs of Ethiopia (2007).

 He is co-author of the Traditional Foodways book series of Kenyan communities and of the book ‘Recettes à base de légumes du couvert forestier, Burkina Faso. He is working with a team of others to improve our knowledge of African foods and to promote the foods for improved household and community nutrition. Patrick Maundu believes in food diversification as an approach to improving nutrition and that African biodiversity especially of food and medicinal plants, has a huge hidden potential for improving nutrition, health and livelihoods in both urban and rural communities. He views indigenous knowledge as a vehicle toward discovering and unlocking this hidden potential.

 Some of his works can be seen in Google Scholar: 


 Some Current research topics:

  • Linking Agrobiodiversity, Dietary Diversity and Nutrition
  • African Leafy Vegetable Research and promotion. Current focus: –Variety improvement, Nutritional analysis, Recipe documentation, Value chains development.
  • Developing and using ICT tools for assessing food consumption patterns (In collaboration with Bioversity International).
  • Working with indigenous communities to develop Community forest management plans: Currently working with communities around Mt Kulal Biosphere Reserve Forest and Loita Naimina Enkiyio Forest.
  • Developing Traditional Foodways Documentation tools.
  • The Foodways of the Baobab

Paul Webala is a National Geographic Explorer, and a senior lecturer of wildlife biology at Maasai Mara University (MMARAU), Kenya. He has held key positions at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Karatina University (Kenya), and is former Head of Forestry and Wildlife Management Department and Director for Research at MMARAU. 

Paul is a regional expert on small mammals, especially bats, with extensive research experience; Paul uses bats to understand and interrogate processes that drive rarity and abundance of mammals in nature, and in human-dominated environments. While primarily a community ecologist, his research spans several subfields of biology: animal behavior, ecology and systematic/taxonomy, and has several publications to his name.

Paul is a member of the Bat Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. He is also a research associate with the NMK, KWS and the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, USA, and a member of the Science Advisory Committee of Bat Conservation International. He is the current Chair of the nascent Bat Conservation Africa, a network of African biologists, naturalists, conservationists, bat enthusiasts that seeks to promote collaboration and coordination on trans-boundary bats-related issues.

Dr. Akite is currently a lecturer at the Department of Zoology, Entomology & Fisheries Sciences, Makerere University Kampala. She is a trained ecologist and research scientist, biodiversity conservation advocate, passionate entomologist, Citizen scientist, nature enthusiast, and an amateur nature photographer.

 Her key research areas are biodiversity surveys, monitoring and conservation; use of insects as indicators of environmental change; pollination ecology; climate change effects; ecology of forest and forest-matrix landscapes; fresh water monitoring; sustainable use of natural resources, biodiversity and ecotourism; the use of citizen science approach in conservation; environmental and social impact assessment; biological data acquisition and management; plant-Insect interactions; natural history museums as critical development tools; and the ecology and management of insect pests and vectors.

Dr. Akite is particularly interested in how insects respond to their environment and how knowledge about insect ecology can be used in defining importance of insects in maintaining ecological balance. She has mainly worked on four insect groups (Lepidoptera, Odonata, Coleoptera and Orthoptera) that are key ecological indicators and play critical roles in ecosystem resilience.

She is a member of several organizations/Groups including Ecological Society of Eastern Africa, Africa Freshwater Monitoring (AFRESH), Nature Uganda, Entomological Association of Uganda, Tropical Biology Association. Over the years, she has contributed to the assessing and mapping key ecologically sensitive species and sites in Uganda.

Philip Osano is an environmental policy expert with an interest in environmental policy, development and international affairs.

He is currently the Center Director for the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Africa Center and coordinates multiple research projects and policy engagement in the fields of biodiversity and ecosystems; landuse change; pastoral and rangeland management; climate change adaptation; air quality, agricultural policy; water and land management; and integrated environmental planning. He is also a lead author of the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.


Prior to joining SEI, he was part of the core team supporting the African Union Commission based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to prepare the 10-year Strategy & Roadmap for the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation to guide the implementation of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme for the 2015-2025 decade.

He has 15 years of experience in applied research, project management, policy analysis, and university teaching and has worked in over 10 countries in Africa, in Canada, and in the United States.

Dr. Osano holds a PhD in Geography (Environmental Policy) from McGill University, Canada, an MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and a BSc (Environmental Science) from Egerton University in Kenya


Dr Thuita. Thenya is a Senior Lecturer at Wangari Maathai Institute of Peace and Environmental Studies in the area of Biogeography and Landscape ecology and has over 15 years in natural resources management. Previously, he worked as senior lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies as Biogeographer.

He has been extensively involved in natural resources policy formulation (wetland and forestry) and is an expert in participatory formulation of natural resources management plans including forest and wetland ecosystems.


 He is also well experienced in the use of smart mobile telephony in data capture, monitoring and management and social mapping using the Geographical Information System (GIS) as part of citizen science.

He is also trained in conflict mediation

Titus Imboma is a curator, orinthological scientific specimen collection and preservation. His work entails ecological research and conservation of birds in their natural habitats in different ecosystems including wetlands, forests and grassland ecosystems. He is involved in the annual water bird census, annual bird ringing of Eurasian songbirds at Ngulia Safari Lodge in Tsavo West National Park. He coordinates and trains staff and interns in a weekly bird ringing activity at the National Museums of Kenya. He is currently studying agroecology and conservation biological control. 

Toto Chipeta is a spiritual traveller who believes in having an open mind, being curious about nature and life….He is making a little difference one tree at a time. 

Wanjira Mathai is the Vice President and Regional Director for Africa at WRI.

She is also the current Chair of the Wangari Maathai Foundation and the former Chair of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya.

She previously served as Co-chair of WRI’s Global Restoration Council and a Senior Advisor to the Global Restoration Initiative.

She is also currently serving on the Board of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) and as a Leadership Council member of the Clean Cooking Alliance. Wanjira is one of a few Six Seconds EQ Practitioners in Kenya and was named one of the 100 Most Influential African Women in 2018 and 2020

Over the years, Wanjira has also served important strategic and advocacy roles raising the prominence and visibility of global issues such as climate change, youth leadership, sustainable energy, and landscape restoration, at Women Entrepreneurs in Renewables (wPOWER), the Wangari Maathai Foundation (WMF), and the Green Belt Movement (GBM) the organization her mother, Wangari Maathai (2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) founded in 1977.



The Earth Optimism Nairobi Secretariat

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