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Airtel, UP Magazine partner to award key change-makers in the society


Sharon Nyambane is one among many other Kenyans who lives by the common saying, “Put into practice what you learn”. After participating in women group empowerment program in Gesonso, Kisii County, she now makes a living off selling her own art crafts. After enrolling in the program three years ago, Sharon has now gained skills and knowledge that have given her access to the economic opportunity she deserves.

Trained by fellow group member, she learned how to make and sell bags, wallets, mobile phone holders, and hats, often creating the designs by recycling plastic bags. Sharon economically empowered herself through this endeavor, and now she trains and shares her knowledge with other members of the community.   Today, Sharon is a successful businesswomen with a steady income.

Sharon’s design skills and products are a source of attraction to many. More importantly, she has continued to use the same skills and knowledge that she gained three years ago to empower other women in the program, creating value in their lives and those of their families. Through her work, she has helped transform women’s lives, giving them new opportunities to become financially self-reliant.  As a change-maker, Sharon has facilitated positive and sustainable change in her community and beyond.

Airtel has partnered with UP Magazine to launch a first of its kind award ceremony with an aim of recognizing many other Kenyans like Sharon.  Dubbed ‘Design Thinking’ (DXD- Disruption by Design), the award looks to reward innovative elements in Kenyan society in various categories which include Architecture Design, Communications Design, Fashion Design, Interior Design, Interactive Design- focusing on web design, gaming and mobile interfaces, Tech Design, Product Design- useful human based designs that improve life, Green Design- Covering de­signs that improve or enhance the environment.            

“We are delighted to celebrate the creativity, power and influence of many young Kenyans whose unique skills and expertise have helped to positively impact our society. This award, therefore creates a unique platform to recognize and reward them, giving them the opportunity to showcase their skills which will help make positive and sustainable change beyond the Kenyan borders,” said Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi.

The selection criteria for all of the awards are excellence, innovation, and enhancement of the quality of life. Individual candidates must be citizens or long-term residents of Kenya and have been practicing de­sign for at least three years. Corporations and institutions must have their headquar­ters in Kenya. Honorees are selected for a body of realized work, not for any one specific project.

Candidates are proposed by an Official Nominating Committee and are invited to submit materials for a jury’s review. After the February launch event, submission will be welcome at The DXD committee will oversee the events and submission process and the Grand Jury will conduct the voting exercises following the final submission dates. There is also a People’s Choice Award for which the public can vote for and this fact will be revealed at the February 19th event when we introduce the website.

Submissions and entries, nominations and winners will be picked three months be­fore the scheduled gala night event date in November this year. Submissions and entries will close on August 31st, with nominations picked before the November event and the winners announced during the event.

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