Mwangi Githiru

Mwangi GithiruBackground/Challenge:

20% of the world's annual greenhouse gas emissions come from the destruction of tropical forests. Rural residents in African countries containing tropical forests depend on these ecosystems for their livelihoods, including the extraction of timber and hunting. How does one improve biodiversity protection and community livelihood, as well as protect endangered wildlife such as elephants and big cats?.


REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) projects help to prevent the destruction of forests by providing sustainable economic alternatives to those in rural communities. As Regional Director of Biodiversity & Social Monitoring for REDD+, Mwangi leads various teams that assess environmental and social impacts of projects in Africa. She is also part of Africa Wildlife Works, a foundation that creates jobs across various sectors, as well as supporting education projects, making eco-friendly products, protecting wildlife and planting trees. Through these organisations, some amazing results have been achieved, including her project being recognised as the first REDD project globally to obtain dual validation for Carbon, Community and Biodiversity benefits. These projects have also helped with setting up and empowering local communities to build local institutions and structures for disbursing the revenues. Wildlife Works is also helping the Kenyan government to draft a national REDD policy and strategy based on project insights.

“This programme has done two things for me. It led me along a profound journey of understanding myself much better and asking myself some hard questions about who I am and where I am going. It also vastly deepened my understanding of groups and group dynamics and how groups often attain a life of their own (as a system), independent of the individual persons making it up.”