Gisele Bundchen samples village life in Kenya


Brazilian multi-millionaire model Gisele Bundchen took time out of her busy schedule to spend a week exploring grassroots sustainable energy projects in Kenya.

As the mixture of poverty and entrepreneurship caught her attention, she decided to spend an entire day with Naomi, a widow with three children, who lives in Kisumu.

“Naomi lives in a small hut, with mud floors and walls. The house has one door and no windows. The house is divided into two with a bed that they all share,” Gisele told a press conference at the UNEP headquarters on Friday.

That mid-morning, the house filled with thick black smoke as Naomi tried to light a fire and make a meal. Gisele says she struggled to see and even breathe, but everyone else was used to it.

“Naomi also takes care of some six orphan children… We started the day by walking several miles to collect firewood. Because it was my first time the women gave me very little to carry on my head.”

Though she still looked stunning walking back with the firewood, Gisele was stunned by the differences in their lives. She felt that these women with the sticks on their heads, babies on their backs and young children tagging alongside were Wonder Women.

“Did you know that 1.4 million people are killed by this dangerous exposure to firewood every year? We can stop this,” she said.

“We saw amazing projects that the local communities had come up with, and they’re so simple. They are creating clean energy that they use in their homes.”

“It’s the 21st century. Nobody should be living without something as basic as electricity,” adds the UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

The UN is celebrating 2012 as the year for Sustainable Energy, and Steiner hopes Gisele will be able to share stories of her experience in Kenya, to highlight the problem.

Gisele, who was appointed as a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador in 2009, says the experience has taught her a lot.

“I’d encourage everyone to just volunteer at the local community level,” she said, so that the projects can multiply and create as much electricity (affordable) as is needed.

It was Gisele’s first visit to Kenya and she wouldn’t talk fashion – only saying that she would definitely add Kenya to her list of beneficiaries for her flip flops charity.

The mother of one visited projects in Kibera, Kisumu, and the Mt Kenya region, courtesy of local NGO Practical Action in partnership with UNEP. She also planted trees at various locations.


  • another useless popularity stunt…the stupid impotent Kenya govt must do something for its people. we should not be relying on charity whole our lives..we are actually a laughing stock. when we have millions of orphans as a result of an illness that everyone knows the causes and how to prevent …..shame on us!

  • not so much about the projects ey? 

  • Shazam3535

    On point there Kiprono…however, our politicians are too busy stealing from the government that they fail to see that the predicament of the likes of Naomi are the direct result of their actions.

  • Faith Kibiku

    “It’s the 21st century. Nobody should be living without something as
    basic as electricity,” adds the UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. TRY SAFE DRINKING WATER ,THEN WE CAN TALK ELECTRICITY ‘smh’

  • Benkanithi

    its so sad in modern times like today that some kenyans are living in adverse poverty as such.There some things in leadership  that African Goverments are not getting right not to mention corruption which is the order of the day.Why shud we even be proud to be Kenyans when some of us are relly suffering.God help us!!!!

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