SI Alumni Profile: Ezekiel Wafula Wepundi, Kenya

When, where & what did you study in Sweden?

Studied master’s program in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability, at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, from August 2014 to June 2015.

Where are you now?

Currently living in Nairobi, Kenya.

What’s your plan now?

The excitement of contributing to a socially sounder and environmentally wealthier society made me study a sustainability related masters. After graduation, I have been (and still plan to continue) strategically partnering with willing individuals, organizations, and communities that are keen on socio-ecological sustainability. I’m actively involved as a member of the Swedish Institute Alumni Network in Kenya (SiANK) which encapsulates a think-tank on Sustainable development in the region. I also participate as an associate sustainability consultant with Inborn Energy−an energy efficiency and Management Company in Nairobi. More so, I engage with a social enterprise, SALAMI, which finds creative ways to crowd-fund towards providing lasting healthcare solutions to children in children’s homes. My plan is to elevate involvement in such engagements, neither as a strenuous career nor burdensome toil, but as an exciting societal input that connects me with like-minded people and enables me to ENJOY making a difference. My role in these organizations is mostly as a sustainability advisor.

Tell us about your experience as an SI Alumni.

Most notable of my SI alumni experience is the interactions that I share with both fellow alumni and the Swedish embassy in Kenya. Having a formally registered SiANK meant that I have a local community to associate with both in social gatherings and specific projects. It is seldom easy to reintegrate back in to the society after being away for months. However, having gone through the same experiences, the SiANK community has provided and intends to continue providing a moral support platform for these re-integrations to be easier for members.

The Swedish embassy in Kenya has been instrumental in facilitating various SiANK activities as well as extending invitation for SiANK’s participation in some of its activities. I cannot emphasize enough on how much this collaboration has added meaning to both SiANK and its individual active participants. The beauty about this partnership is its two−way symbiotic relationship in some both relatively formal and social activities.

What are your hopes for the SI Alumni Network in Kenya for the future?

SiANK, regardless of being a few months old, has managed to organize a couple of projects and events, and, participate in various other engagements with invitation from the Swedish embassy. I think that there’s potential to widen scope in sustainability initiatives and collaborations. I hope that in the near future SiANK will get to team up with other Alumni Networks from across the globe for impactful initiatives, ideas-exchange, as well as networking. We recently collaborated with a Swedish NGO − Global Playground Stockholm − for an impactful sustainability project−#IchangeKenya. This is a positive indication that we’re on the right track.

Anything else you’d like to share with the SI Alumni Network?

I have seen the immeasurable potential that collaboration between alumni from different countries can have. Whilst participating in a CSR and sustainability workshop in Umeå just before my graduation, I networked with the President of a Swedish NGO that promotes sustainable lifestyles who also happens to be a SI alumnus. Two years later, his NGO got to partner with SiANK for a sustainability project in Nairobi. By virtue of having networked and kept communication going intermittently, I got to work with him as the project coordinator on the ground. I believe that such is the magnitude of collaborative opportunities that a member of the Si Alumni Network is exposed to.

Please describe what impact the SI scholarship has had on your life.

The SI scholarship gave me a platform to network and exchange ideas with likeminded-people from across the globe. Thankfully, I had a diversity of classmates representing many countries from across the globe. We therefore all got exposed to cross-cultural collaborations. The same opportunities were presented to me from my activities in the Si network for future global leaders and, currently the SI Alumni Network.

What you’ll miss about Sweden?

I will miss Karlskrona, its expanse of the Baltic Sea, and my hopelessly crazy attempts at the once-in-a-while winter swims.

What you won’t miss about Sweden?

Winter was more or less bearable, but the almost ear-drilling winds in Karlskrona, I will not miss.

What’s your best recommendation to new students?

This is not only an opportunity to study but also a chance to see and connect with the rest of the world. Go for it!