UoN at 50

Dr. Raphael Kweyu (Pioneering student at Wangari Maathai Institute; 2012-2015)

One of the strong points in my venture as a student at Wangari Maathai Institute was the interdisciplinary nature of the program I studied. I had an opportunity of taking courses from different fields such as Law, Ecological economics, Conflict Resolution (especially Mediation), Sociology and Geography.

At the Wangari Maathai Institute, our lecturers (Thuita Thenya, Karatu Kiemo, Raphael Wahome, the late Fred Mugivane, David Mungai, Stephen Kiama, Karanja Njoroge & Robert Kibugi) were always available for consultation and guidance. As pioneering students, our coursework though interesting, was not without challenges. For example, before the Institute developed its own physical infrastructure, we did not have learning space we could call ‘our own’. I remember taking a lecture from one of the rooms at the CAVS library then rushing to beat traffic and attend another class in Chiromo campus in one of the science laboratories.  The fieldwork in Mau forests, though sometimes challenging, was always offering us new experiences by the day. We worked as a team and occasionally our supervisors would come by to check on our progress.

Through an exchange program at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, I had an opportunity to interact with a new culture, the Danish culture, with its wonderful people. Our host professors (Vibeke Vindelev, Emborg Jens, Lund Jens, Linda Nielsen & Iben Nathan) were so kind and hospitable. They invited us in their homes in different parts of Copenhagen to meet and spend time with their families. At the Danish Fellowship Centre (DFC), I met students from different parts of the globe. We always had activities organized by the DFC junior staff that made our stay in Denmark enjoyable, these included visits to Castles and other places, dancing and cooking competitions among others.

Wangari Maathai Institute has taught me the value of working with communities in finding solutions. The Institute’s brainchild, the late Professor Wangari Maathai insisted on experiential learning. During our study, the Institute organized trips locally and internationally for us to learn about examples of sustainable grass-root practices. These included a visit to Bishop Masika’s farm in Machakos County and an excursion to Zapatera Island in Nicaragua. These were the best study experiences in my stay at WMI.

Prof. Wangari Maathai  (Posthumous)(RANK 1)

Pioneer environmental conservationist

Wangari Maathai

  • Awarded the 2004 Noble Peace Prize becoming the first African Woman Nobel Peace Laureate.
  • Founder Distinguished Chair of Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies, an institute established in her honour.
  • Listed in UNEP’s Global 500 Hall of Fame as one of the 100 heroines of the world.
  • Elected by Earth Times as one of 100 persons in the world making a difference in the environmental arena.
  • Honored by Times Magazine as one of 100 most influential people in the world.
  • Named by Forbes Magazine as of 100 most powerful women in the world


Prof. Stephen G. Kiama (in service)(RANK 2)

Outstanding service in resource mobilization for research and infrastructure for teaching and learning

Kiama Gitahi


Prof. Agnes W. Mwang’ombe (in service) (RANK 3)

Exemplary fund raising and research infrastructure development


  • Fund raising for building of SEMIs Training and Seed Processing Facility which is used for local and international training.
  • Recognized and awarded the Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS). Year???
  • Awarded the IMPRESSA excellence in capacity building in CAVS.


Prof. Paul M. Kimani (in service) (RANK 4)

Leadership in breeding of new beans varieties

Paul Kimani

  • Credited with the development of Kenya’s first climbing bean varieties, which were formally released and gazetted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries.
  • His pioneering work resulted in the first locally developed high yielding disease resistant onion cultivars, which were formally released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries in 1994.
  • In 2008 was decorated and awarded the Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS) for his contribution to agricultural research and science in Kenya.
  • NACOSTI’s award for best oral paper presentation during the 2015 National Science week.
  • Recognized as the best research scientist in the Faculty of Agriculture in 2007
  • -Commercialization of beans varieties in collaboration with Kenya Seed Company.

Prof. Christopher N. Karue (Retired)(RANK 5)

Exemplary fund raising and research infrastructure development


  • Instrumental in lobbying the Government to allocate12,000 acres to Kibwezi University Dryland field Station, which is now open for teaching for all disciplines.
  • Instrumental in lobbying the Government to renew the 5th World Bank Education Development Loan Phase 5, leading to construction of the first postgraduate hall in Kabete, CAVS and 12 residential staff houses in Loresho.