My name is Gabrielle (but you can call me Gabby, Gabs.. whatever suits you) and I’ve just joined CO2balance as a Carbon Project Officer. I’m a 22-year-old Kenyan (I turn 23 this year in September) who was born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya. I’m not originally from the Coastal area, Mombasa is just the city that my parents work in and so it is where I was raised. I come from a huge family, so I have relatives all over Kenya and other East African countries.
My passion for the environment and one of my role models being a renowned environmentalist (Wangari Mathaai) fuelled my decision to pursue environmental degrees at the University of Leeds and a career in the environmental sector. For my undergraduate studies, a research field trip to Amsterdam looking into the circular economy inspired me to carry out my dissertation research on the growth of the circular economy in a developing country (Kenya).
Whilst going through my studies, I had a growing interest in working towards strengthening developing nations resilience to the growing consequences of climate change and environmental degradation in general. I would love to help create societies that sustainably manage their environment, have resilient livelihoods, have inclusion across and empower marginalised communities. This influenced my decision on my masters dissertation research project which focused on how social innovation approaches can foster adaptive capacities in vulnerable Sub-Saharan African communities. For these reasons, I am particularly happy and appreciative to be part of the CO2balance team. I love how CO2balance projects are community based with the participation of various stakeholders across the board and have successfully implemented projects that are making tangible improvements in peoples lives. Definitely a talk and do organisation. As well as I love the organisations focus on vulnerable populations within marginalised communities e.g., women and children.
I have always found myself in volunteering roles or working with charities, all through from my high school days throughout to university. All my volunteering and charity experience has been community based with a lot of outreach work and fundraising. One of the most interesting experiences is during my final year in high school (DP2), my friends and I were teaching underprivileged students about social enterprising for 6 months then helped establish their own little businesses. Also, being part of the Leeds East African committee during my second year. Lots of East Africans in Leeds so we had over 60 members. It was challenging but fun because I’m a shy/reserved but confident person (if that makes sense).
I’m not that great with words so I don’t have much to say. To make up for this, I thought I’d share a mini photo gallery. I’m proudly Kenyan and during the past two years I got travel quite a bit within my country Kenya (the silver lining of the pandemic). So here are a few photos of me in different parts of the country:
- At the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki. Ol Pejeta has the largest rhino population in Kenya, and is home to the last two remaining northern white rhinos in the world. That’s Mt. Kenya in the background – the Mountain Kenya got its name from.
2. At the shore of Lake Nakuru. Lake Nakuru is a common place to find many flamingos on a good day. The Lake is actually nicknamed the bird lover’s it is home to over 400 bird species. We went very early in the morning so didn’t see many flamingos.
3. At Lake Victoria from the Kisumu side. Lake Victoria is one of Africa’s great lakes and the worlds largest tropical lake.
4. At the Great Rift Valley viewpoint and behind me is Mt. Longonot. Astronauts say that Great Rift Valley is the most significant physical detail on the planet that is visible from space.is the largest valley in the world
5. On a walk in Karura Forest, the only urban forest in the capital city Nairobi. As mentioned earlier, Wangari Mathaai is one of my role models and she was known for saving Karura forest from being made into a housing project.
6. Last but not least: me with my dogs (Bruno and Shaka) at the beach in Kilifi, Kenya. Also sunsets/sunrise views from my house.. we get a lot of intense purple/orange sunsets and sunrises.
That’s the end of my photo gallery and introduction. I’m excited to be part of the team and can’t wait to see how my journey here pans out!