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18 Kenyans who earned international recognition & awards in 2023 [Pulse Picks]

Pulse Picks features 18 of the most outstanding Kenyans who earned international recognition and awards in 2023.

Pulse Picks 2023: 18 Kenyans who earned international recognition & awards in 2023

This year has been quite memorable for Kenyans from all walks of life. As the global landscape changed through technological and economic shake-ups, the country also experienced its fair share.

Kenyans, however, are known for their resilience and ability to thrive despite circumstances and 2023 was no different.

This Pulse List highlights 18 Kenyans who transcended local popularity to earn recognition internationally and others who won awards for their crafts and passion projects.


Wanjira Mathai is Chairperson of the Wangari Mathai Foundation and former chair of the Greenbelt Movement. She is currently the Managing Director for Africa & Global Partnerships at the World Resources Institute (WRI) and a respected global environmental adviser.

In 2023, Wanjira earned recognition from TIME Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world.

"How does she do it? Wanjira would say the secret may lie in the African concept of ubuntu. Our shared humanity, working together, is what allows us to change the world," TIME wrote about Wanjira.

In addition, she was also named as one of BBC's 100 Women of 2023 as a Climate Pioneer for her two-decade career in advocacy for social and environmental issues.


Tom Odula is a Kenyan investigative journalist working for the BBC and well known for his impactful Africa Eye feature, 'Sex For Work' which highlighted the exploitation of workers in Kericho tea estates.

In 2023, he became the first-ever winner of the African Investigative Journalist of the Year at the 19th African Investigative Journalism Conference.


Wakio Mzenge is a Kenyan voice-over artist, theatre director and actor best known as the director of 'Market Price' and her various screen roles including 'Shamba La Wanyama' and 'County 49'.

In 2023, Wakio was both nominated and served as a judge for the 10th international Voice Awards organised by the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (SOVAS), an American non-profit organisation.


President William Ruto received the 2023 African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) Joyce Kafanabo Award on February 18.

The award was bequeathed during the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The head of state accepted the award on behalf of the government and the people of Kenya after posting the best scorecard in reproductive, maternal neonatal, child and adolescent healthcare.


A Kenyan environmental advocate from Mombasa County, Mama Moshi, gained recognition in Sweden this year for the work she has been doing through her organisation, Owino Community.

The Right Livelihood Award jury commended Omido for her groundbreaking efforts in securing land and environmental rights for local communities while advancing the field of environmental law.


Record-breaking Kenyan athletics champion Eliud Kipchoge had a historic 2023 in his career, becoming the first-ever man to win the Berlin Marathon five times.

Spain's royal family also awarded Eliud Kipchoge the prestigious Princess of Asturias Sports Award for 2023, which came with $53,000 prize.

The world-record marathoner was also immortalised in a statue at the Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.


Pulse Influencer Awards 2023 Fashion Influencer of the Year Catherine Kamau has had an extraordinary year of wins both locally and internationally.

She was named as the African Female Actor of the Year by Ladies In Media Awards with other nominees in the category including Darlyn Adu Gyamfi (Ghana), Melissa Kiplage (Kenya), Temitope Olowoniyan (Nigeria), Haillie Sumney (Ghana) and Nambitha Ben-Mazwi (South Africa).


In October 2023, NMG Managing Editor of the newsroom James Smart received the Journalism and Media Special Recognition Award for Cardiff University alumni's 30(ish) Awards 2023.

Also recognised in the 2023 awards was AMWIK Executive Director, Patience Nyange.


In October 2023, First Lady Rachel Ruto was feted with the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) Humanitarian Award.

In her acceptance speech, the First Lady stated: "This honour is a tribute to the resilience and spirit of the Kenyan people, especially our remarkable women."


In July 2023, Equity Group CEO Dr James Mwangi was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the All-Africa Business Awards in Sun City, South Africa.

The event was organized by Africa Business News, the owners of CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa.

Dr Mwangi was honoured for his visionary leadership, lifetime devotion, and dedication to the progress of the African continent and its people through the transformative work of Equity Group.


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