Kenyan woman nominated for grueling journey to Antarctica


Kenyan woman nominated for grueling journey to Antarctica

Doris Kendi Mwenda is a woman who is willing to go to the ends of the world to prove a point. Kendi, the Safety and Health, Environmental and Quality (SHEQ) manager at the Nairobi Bottlers Ltd preform manufacturing plant in Nairobi, is the only Kenyan who was nominated to take part in a  grueling journey to Antarctica; the coldest, driest, and windiest continent in the world  to educate people on the effects of global warming and why we ought to conserve the environment.

Kendi, 34, left the country last Thursday, flew to Argentina through South Africa and then connected to Brazil.  The expedition to Antartica is expected to start on Thursday. The other African nominee who will to take part in the trip, is an Ethiopian.

To achieve her mission, Kendi has to pass through one of the most dangerous places on earth–the Drake passage, which is the most treacherous stretch of ocean situated between the southern tip of South America  and the northernmost reaches of Antarctica.

The excitement of taking the trip, however, blurs every fear she may harbour in her mind about the trip. “I will be expected to dress like an onion with layers and layers of clothes but I intend to take the conservation and sustainability agenda forward.

I can’t wait to find out what it is like in Antarctica and learn the effects of global warming and pollution so that  I can bring back the lessons home. I would also love to expand my circle of influence,” she says.

The opportunity to travel to Antarctica was not given to Kendi on a silver platter. She had to fight it out with a number of interested individuals in a competition organised by Coca Cola for their employees globally.

“The process was difficult. We first had to write an essay detailing what we  have done to deserve the trip and show what we will do differently. I spent several nights on the Internet researching about Antartica.

I was among those shortlisted and we were required to make a presentation to the entire country management and then face a panel of executives from  the South Africa Bottling company (SABCO),” she says.

Kendi who considers the late Nobel laureate, Wangari Maathai  her mentor, emerged tops in the continent.  When Kendi comes back, she is expected to initiate a community project by setting up a library in collaboration with a local church-based NGO, Zinduka, for children below 18 years.

Apart from her penchant for  environmental conservation, Kendi says she is passionate about empowering women and is involved in  Coca-Cola’s 5 by 20 programme that seeks to empower five million women by 2020.

To contribute to this project, Kendi is planning to bring together at least 20 women from Umoja estate by June this year and give them basic financial literacy and a start-up capital to establish their own soda retail businesses.

The mother of two says  her motivation is to leave a lasting impact in peoples’ lives, including her own kids.

Kendi ,who  describes herself as a young woman with big dreams, attributes the ability to juggle work and family to having an understanding husband and working for a company with accommodating policies.


Kenyan woman nominated for grueling journey to Antarctica

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