Team

Prof. Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o

Trustee

Prof.Oniango

Professor Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o, a Kenyan, received her university education in the USA and in Kenya. Her first degree BSc with Distinction and her MSc are from Washington State University, Pullman, USA and her PhD from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, all in food and nutritional sciences. She has taught in Kenyan universities: Nairobi, Kenyatta and Jomo Kenyatta. She became the first woman full professor at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in 1996.

She is hailed as the first Professor of Nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2003 she was given an opportunity to serve in the Kenyan Parliament for 5 years and was the Shadow Minister for Education, Science and Technology. Her applied research led her to found Rural Outreach Program (ROP), now Rural Outreach Africa (ROA). Through ROA she works with communities on issues that affect them directly: poverty, hunger, food and nutrition insecurity, child malnutrition, and gender inequities and health-related challenges. Ruth Oniang'o has been Chair of Boards of Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) and Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE), which with Japan’s Nippon Foundation, support smallholder farmers in Africa, in agriculture and food security programmes and capacity building.

She also sits on CABI (Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International) board. CABI works globally in scientific publishing and plant diseases and is headquartered in the United Kingdom, and has African headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. She is a member of the Kilimo Trust Board, a non-profit organization working on agriculture for development and is headquartered in Kampala, Uganda. She is founder and Editor-in-Chief of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND), now in its 19th year. She has served in advisory capacity for the Kenya Government and most importantly, helping to define policies related to Food, Nutrition, and Gender.

She has advised various UN agencies, the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ACIAR, and on boards of IRRI, CIAT, IFDC, MI, private sector and as Vice-Chair of GFAR. In 2015, she became the first African to serve on the Nestle Company Board in its 150 years of existence. Ruth is recipient of 2 national medals- the Silver Star and Distinguished Service Medal, 2014 IFAMA (International Food and Agribusiness Management Association) award for a lifetime of distinguished service. Also in 2014 she was recognized as one of Fortune magazine's '30 Women Achievers' globally in Food and Drink.

She is recipient of 2017 Africa Food Prize and in 2018 she received Honoris Causa from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Through her organizations, she mentors young people, both men and women, and is an ardent advocate against hunger, poverty and child malnutrition. Her many years of work and advocacy in this area has helped to move nutrition to the top of the health agenda globally, and places it within food systems research and programming. She always quips: “I am busier retired than when I was informal employment. How can I retire when so many children in Africa still go to bed hungry every day?”

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