Dr Joan Mwende Kiema Ngunnzi
Harnessing the power of teachers to end violence in schools
As a young girl growing up in a rural village in Eastern Kenya, Dr Joan Mwende Kiema Ngunnzi found herself constantly facing, and battling, a grave demon - pervasive sexual violence against children. And a lot of times, this violence was happening within schools - often at the hands of teachers themselves. A young Dr Ngunnzi, who fought off multiple attempts of sexual assault, credits her safety to one strength: the courage to speak up. And she made it her mission to equip school children across Africa with the same courage to break the silence.
Through her teaching, research and government work, she realised what the children needed was empowered educators who are willing to listen and able to help. Since then, she has spearheaded child protection in the government of her county. She went on to hold two ministerial posts in her county government, and founded Beacon Teachers Africa, a non-profit organisation empowering school teachers with the tools and training needed to help protect children against violence, and foster positive and inspiring learning environments.