Saturday, April 13, 2024

Anita Soina: How 23-year-old Kenyan became global climate change leader

23-year-old Anita Soina has grown to become one of the faces fighting for climate justice in Kenya.

Her age notwithstanding, Anita Soina is passionate about climate change and transforming the long drought narrative in Kenya.

At just 18 years of age, Anita founded Spice Warriors environmental organization. The goal of her establishment was to help rally the youths to become more aware of the environment.

Born in 1999 in Maasai land, Anita recalls always spending time with her grandpa, an avid listener on politics and leadership.

“He used to ask us to keep quiet so he could listen to the news on the radio,” she recalls.

Since she was always spending time with him, Anita was nurtured into becoming a leader and keen listener on people’s matters.

“He gave me a love for understanding what is going on in my country,” she stated.

At 22, Anita Soina ran for the Kajiado North parliamentary seat, hoping to bring a youthful voice for climate change to the legislative house.

She was the youngest candidate contesting for a government position.

“I knew I was going to run for political office someday,” she laughs.

But Soina’s leadership spirit was cultivated while she was in high school, where she chaired her scouting club. After completing high school, Anita took a keen interest in environmental matters & the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Eventually, I settled on getting involved with the goal on climate action because I felt it needed more young voices,” she stated.

As a young girl, she revealed that she would water their livestock at the banks of the Mara river.

“We’d water the animals, swim, fetch water for our homes and wash clothes,” she said.

Today, the great waterway is now merely a remnant of its past glory, having been adversely affected by deforestation, mining activities, inadequate resource management and the impacts of climate change.

Initially, gaining a foothold to voice for climate change was a mountain climb, as she felt disconnected from the SDGs and conservation due to the jargon used by the field players. She soon realized it was not just her but many youth activists.

Soina focusing on youth activism, decided to pull in some of her friends to launch tree-planting projects. This proved to be an effective way for young people as it was not limiting financially.

For her 18th birthday, Anita Soina decided to dedicate all her birthdays to growing trees that her community had cut down. She wanted to educate the public on the importance of conservation.

This was how she came to found Spice Warriors environmental organization under the mentorship of Erick Matsanza.

Anita Soina is also a book author, having written a book titled The Green War. In this book, she shares her journey, challenges and future plans to stop environmental degradation.

Additionally, she established the Soina Foundation. This organization aims to tackle various social issues, including sexual and reproductive health education, gender-based violence, water, sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), education and more.

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Her activism and service have seen her nominated to represent in global conferences such as COP 26 in Glasgow, COP 27 in Egypt, UNEA 5, Stockholm+50 in Sweden and the Sustainable Energy for All Forum in Rwanda.

Currently, Anita serves as the 2023-2024 Global Youth Champion for UN Hosted partnerships on Sanitation and Water for All (SWA).

She is also the Wild About Life Campaigns ambassador and a member of the We Don’t Have Time organisation.

Anita Soina is a Multimedia University (MMU), having graduated with a BA in Public Relations and Corporate Communication.

Fascinatingly, Soina gave her first TEDx talk and authored her first book while she was a student at MMUST.

She has also done a Health Effects of Climate Change course at Harvard’s online education platform, HarvardX.

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