The only Kenyan woman Obama recognized in his powerful speech in South Africa

Presidential recognition

Caren Wakoli, the founder and Executive Director of Emerging Leaders Foundation, was mentioned by Mr Oboma in his Johannesburg’s address as one of the young Africans he was very proud of.

The 44th US President applauded Wakoli for the work she was doing to mentor the youth in a bid to alleviate poverty in Kenya.

“Some young people in this continent are doing the hardwork of bringing change to their communities, who reflect Madiba’s values, who are poised to lead the way.

"…people like Caren Wakoli who is an entrepreneur from Kenya who founded the Emerging Leaders Foundation to get young people involved in the work of fighting poverty and promoting human dignity," he said.

Obama noted that Wakoli and others he mentioned in his speech were giving hope to the continent by their courage to take the baton from their forefathers.

"They know that they can’t just rest on the accomplishment of the past even those of as momentous as Nelson Mandela’s. They stand on the shoulders of those who came before," Obama said.

Wakoli, a University of Nairobi graduate, has a degree in Communication and Sociology and a Masters in international studies.

While in Campus, Wakoli was a leader in the Student Organization of Nairobi University (SONU), where she elected as the Vice Chairperson.

In a previous interview the Nation she divulged that her organization was focused on moulding the next generation to take up leadership roles.

"Leadership is not necessarily politics. Politics is just one of the avenues through which individuals practice leadership. I am contributing towards moulding the next generation of leaders through mentorship and coaching.

"I do this through Emerging Leaders Foundation, where we provide a platform for young people to sharpen their leadership skills and be the best they can be," she said.

She has served as a board member of Uwezo Fund's National Oversight Board and Youth Employment Systems.

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