Akili Dada at the Impact Hub SF October 24th!

By October 14, 2013 No Comments


The topic of women’s leadership is trending across sectors and continents.  From tech startups to grassroots NGO’s, it’s an important conversation for all of us, regardless of where we live or what we do. Each of us has a role to play in nurturing the next generation of women leaders.  The women of Akili Dada are doing just that.

Akili Dada is a leadership incubator in Kenya that invests in bright young women from underprivileged backgrounds with a passion for social change.  We do so through comprehensive scholarships, personalized and group mentorship, and rigorous leadership skills training.

For the very first time, Akili Dada staff and trailblazing alumnae of our Young Changemakers Program come together to share the work of Akili Dada with the Bay Area community.  Join us at the Impact Hub San Francisco to explore young women’s leadership, in Africa and globally.

7:00 —  Refreshments

7:30 — Short Film screening of Akili Dada Fellows and Young Changemakers

8:00 — Panel Discussion




Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Akili Dada Founder and Executive Director:

Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg is is the Founder and Executive Director of Akili Dada.  A Kenyan, Wanjiru earned a B.A. in Politics from Whitman College and Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Political Science from the University of Minnesota. Wanjiru is also on extended leave from the University of San Franciscowhere she is an Assistant Professor in the Politics department.  Her research and teaching interests center on the politics of philanthropy, gender, Africa, ethnicity, and democratization, and on the role of technology in social activism. Working at the intersection of academia and social entrepreneurship, Wanjiru is passionate about the synergy between rigorous academic analysis and committed social activism.

She has received widespread recognition for her work with Akili Dada, including being honored as a 2012 White House ‘Champion of Change’,  named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African Magazine, 2012 Ford Foundation Champions of Democracy,   2011 Yamashita Prize,  2011 African Achievers International Award,  and a winner of the 2010 United Nations Intercultural Innovation Award among others.  Wanjiru is also a wife and mother of a 4-year-old son and an avid knitter and organic gardener.  Learn more about Wanjiru’s vision for founding Akili Dada.

Purity Kagwiria, Director, Young Changemaker’s Program:

A journalist by profession, Purity has worked on the rights of women since 2004. She has expertise in leadership development, policy engagement and young women’s empowerment. As an active member of the feminist/women rights movement, she is committed to analyzing the private and personal spaces and developing strategies that lead to the emancipation of women. Having overcome challenges in her own life, Purity believes that education and hope for a better tomorrow are the keys to the actual transformational empowerment in anyone’s life. As such, Purity brings to Akili Dada a passion for girls’ education, documenting oral herstories, love for photography and excellent organizing skills. Purity holds a degree in Gender and Development from the University of Nairobi and a Diploma in Journalism from Kenya Institute of Mass Communication. She holds various certificates on Gender, Human Rights and Leadership. She is currently an advisory committee member of the Young Feminist Fund, an initiative of the Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID).

Sharon Adongo, Alumna, Akili Dada Young Changemaker’s Program

Sharon Adongo is a senior at Vassar College majoring in Science, Technology and Society with a correlate in Computer Science. She is interested in development and her focus is in applications of technology for social justice and economic empowerment. This passion was fueled after spending the summer of 2013 interning for a non-profit in California that crowdfunds for underprivileged women’s surgeries. On campus, Sharon is involved with several student groups including an entrepreneurship organization, Vassar Haiti Project, African Students Union and sits on the executive board of the International Students Association. She has also been a member of Akili Dada’s advisory council for 3 years. In her spare time, Sharon enjoys reading, biking, cooking and learning about new cultures. After graduation, she hopes to work in the Non-Profit Tech Industry.


Kerubo Mokaya, Alumna, Akili Dada Young Changemaker’s Program:

Kerubo Mokaya is a proud Akili Dada alumna and a third year student studying International Relations at theUniversity of Pennsylvania. Her interests in IR include the political economies of developing nations, and development. She is from Nairobi and Kisii Kenya and hence has a deep interest in Africa. She took up French in College because she hopes to work across Anglophone and Francophone Africa. Kerubo is one of the founding members of the Kenya Youth Diaspora Council whose mission is to develop the leadership potential of its members. These extremely talented young Kenyan women and men are already solving challenging solutions and are preparing themselves for the leadership of Kenya and the world. On campus, she is involved with the Black Wharton Undergraduate Association, a club that has enabled her to meet professionals in different industries including consulting which she is keenly considering as a career post graduation. She is also part of the leadership of the Penn African Students Association, serves as an advisory member for the Dana How Scholars Mentoring program among other roles on campus. She is passionate about possibly going into politics, both local (in Kenya) and international (as a diplomat).  In her free time, Kerubo is always discussing politics with friends, deliberating the future and planning how they can be part of making a difference. Kerubo is also really committed to social justice and youth empowerment projects. She recently participated in the CongoSwim and continues to be a mentor for High School Students near her campus.

Faith Nyakundi, Alumna, Akili Dada Young Changemaker’s Program:

Faith completed her high school studies at Precious Blood in 2011 and is currently studying International Relations at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. She was School Captain of Precious Blood in 2011, team coordinator at Be The Change-Kenya, an organization that trains young people to mobilize local community to find lasting solutions to child poverty. She is also a Co-founder of AZMA, which is a youth led organisation which organizes community outreach activities and facilitates conversations on community issues through online social networking. She also founded Reaching The Needy club while still in high school which continues to date at Precious Blood. She was a volunteer at Haki Water, an organization that deals with water and sanitation. Faith is a mentor with School Series-Kenya, an organization which gives general and reproductive health information to girls in high school and prepares them for life after high school. Additionally, she mentors primary school girls living in Mukuru Kwa Njenga informal settlement. She enjoys music, reading and writing.

We are thrilled to be hosting this event at the Impact Hub, which provides community, space & events for people taking collaborative action for a better world. You can learn more about Impact Hub at www.ImpactHUBBayArea.com