Aug 6, 2019

SLI Awards for Projects to Empower the Local Community and Facilitate Climate Justice

The Sylff Association Secretariat is pleased to announce two recent recipients of a Sylff Leadership Initiatives (SLI) award. SLI supports Sylff fellows’ initiatives to change society for the better with awards of up to US$10,000.

The two winners, chosen from among many applicants, are Sennane Gatakaa Riungu, a visa processing officer for the Australian High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya, and Shangrila Joshi, a faculty member at the Evergreen State College in Washington, United States.

Riungu’s project seeks to provide capacity building and agribusiness training for community members in Maara constituency, Kenya—her home community—to equip them with the tools and information needed to develop agricultural business enterprises. Aside from her professional work at the Commission, she has been engaged in empowering her home community with others for over 10 years by utilizing their vast networks outside the community.

Transplanting tomato seedlings in Kenya.

In 2013, she implemented her first SLI project aimed at providing basic professional development skills for community youths (see Her second SLI project is a scaled-out version of the initiative that focuses more on providing practical knowledge and skills so that the community can become financially self-supporting.

Joshi will hold workshops and a forum in Nepal, her home country, in August. She will serve as a facilitator to give forest users a better understanding of climate mitigation mechanisms such as REDD+ and lead discussions on issues of fairness, equity, and justice in the implementation of REDD+.

Local women of a forest community in Nepal.

She plans to document the views and ideas of the participants so that such mechanisms will be implemented in socially just and equitable ways. She was inspired to organize the project through multiple research field visits to Nepal, which aroused a passion for her to make a real-world impact by utilizing her professional knowledge as a researcher of climate justice and climate policy.

The Sylff Association Secretariat is excited about helping fellows put their enthusiasm and ideas into action for the betterment of their home communities. Congratulations to both recipients on winning the award. The two projects will be carried out over the coming months, and reports will be posted on this website.

We are looking forward to supporting many more social initiatives that can lead to positive change in society.