Wangari Muchiri holds a Bachelor’s in Renewable Energy Engineering from the University of New South Wales in Sydney and a Master’s in Energy Planning and Policy from the University of Technology Sydney. Currently, as a programme development manager at Hivos East Africa, Wangari focuses on renewable energy innovation; while at the Kenya Green Building Society, she is a board member and heads up the technical committee.
In 2019, she was named an Obama Leader for Africa and recognised at Africa Science Week for her role in breaking barriers for women in STEM.
This interview was originally published in African Power & Energy Elites 2021.
WHAT INDUSTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE POWER AND ENERGY SECTOR ARE YOU LOOKING AT FOR INSPIRATION?
Green building concepts have inspired my thinking in many ways, particularly in local production and manufacturing. For many years our construction methods have evolved to more “modern” ways, using flashy glass facades and unsustainable materials. Green buildings have demonstrated that sourcing locally produced building materials and architectural designs is more sustainable in the long run. For example, passive design strategies, which are usually done at no extra cost to the building, can create major savings in the operational cost of the building. This principle of local ownership and sourcing is one that inspires me. Sometimes the best solution is a locally available solution and so we need to look within to solve key challenges.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH UNCERTAINTY AS A LEADER IN A TIME WHERE LEADERSHIP IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER?
It is important that leaders are equipped with the correct facts to make optimum decisions. In order to deal with uncertainty in anything I undertake, I ensure that I look up key information on the topic at hand to make an informed decision.