Lydia Wanjiku

2023 Andrew E. Rice Award Honorable Mention

Lydia is a dynamic and innovative leader with a wealth of experience in driving communication, advocacy, and social impact initiatives, primarily focusing on climate and environmental action, wildlife conservation, and women's empowerment. Serving as the CEO of Lensational, a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to empowering underrepresented women through participatory photography, Lydia's leadership has been pivotal in bridging the voices of citizens with policy makers through innovative partnerships with award leading think-tanks such as an ongoing partnership with the National Adaptation Plan Global Network (NAP GN). This innovative approach has garnered recognition from various prestigious entities including features in influential reports by renowned institutions such as the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security (GIWPS), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Lydia's unwavering commitment to the communities she serves is at the heart of her leadership philosophy, shaping the culture of Lensational by promoting collaboration and active community involvement. As a thought leader and educator, she has co-authored a curriculum on photography storytelling, specifically tailored to address the resilience of women impacted by climate change which she has co-authored with colleagues from NAP GN. Her exceptional ability to simplify complex concepts into accessible content ensures the curriculum meets the unique needs of the communities she engages with. Drawing from her extensive experience in diverse contexts, Lydia possesses a versatile skill set that encompasses various areas of expertise. Her strategic acumen allows her to formulate effective strategies and develop impactful programs that address pressing social issues, while her deep understanding of community engagement enables her to create meaningful connections and collaborations, empowering communities to play an active role in their own development. Additionally, her proficiency in photojournalism adds a unique dimension to her contributions, and she navigates the complexities of NPO management with a holistic approach, ensuring that Lensational remains a thriving platform for social change