Capital FM (Nairobi)

21 February 2013

Kenya: Wainaina, Owiyo Appointed As UN Goodwill Ambassadors

Photo: Capital FM
Suzanna Owiyo and Eric Wainaina

Musicians Eric Wainaina and Suzanna Owiyo have been appointed as Goodwill Ambassadors for the United Nations Environment Progamme, for a period of two years.

The singers were officially appointed this afternoon at an event attended by several dignitaries, including UNEP Regional Director for Africa Mounkaila Goudamandakoye.

Through the appointment the singers will use their music and star power to inspire positive environmental action, something both artists say they are extremely passionate about.

"We are the ones responsible for destroying our environment, and it is up to us to fix it... UNEP has done so much towards this end but we need to take it up from here and be more responsible about the environment," Suzanna told Capital Lifestyle.

"I am very excited to be able to do something about this, There are several activities that UNEP has lined up for us to do and we're yet to start them."

One thing Suzanna is keen to take up is a campaign on Food Waste Reduction.

"There is a lot of wastage, in hotels, supermarkets, homes. We need to flag this so that we only get the food we need; be keen on what we buy. I think because in the homes, women are the managers of the kitchen, they also need to be sensitized on how not to waste food."

Eric was proud to be given this appointment, and more so alongside Suzanna.

"It's a step up from my previous role as a messenger for non-violence at the UNODC. Basically what we will be doing is incorporating UNEP's plans into the stuff that we do," he offered.

"A lot of people don't realize that we are actually living in the environment. Every single thing we do affects the environment, everything. Taking a shower, throwing out garbage - we have to realize that."

The Kenya Only musician said that his pet peeve when it comes to environmental degradation, is the littering of streets by car users.

"And I don't buy the argument that its job creation or the litter is bio-degradable. It just needs to stop."

Suzanna concurs, saying that unless Kenyans change their behavior, no real change can be achieved.

Their two-year contract is renewable, and coincides with the launch of Africa Environment Outlook 3 - a report that looks at links between environment and health issues and details the current state of play across the continent.

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