Schmidt Futures, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, has announced the second cohort of 100 Rise Global Winners, five of whom are Kenyans. Rise is a program that finds brilliant people who need opportunity and supports them for life as they work to serve others. It is the flagship program of Schmidt Futures and the anchor of a broader $1 billion philanthropic commitment from Eric and Wendy Schmidt to talent development across their initiatives.
Rise collaborated with organizations such as NBA Africa, the HALI Access Network, KenSAP, and Akili Dada to support youth in applying and provide exciting programming opportunities, which contributed to the second year of success across the country.
“We are looking for extraordinarily bright people everywhere because genius can have an outsized impact on improving the world when applied to its hardest problems,” said Eric Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures. “Building a network of brilliant young people who want to make the world better is a key goal of Rise. Development in today’s world depends on people working together.”
“Today’s announcement of the Rise Winners is not the conclusion of a process, but rather the starting point for the young people in the program. They will have continuing opportunities to change the world for the better as they continue their education and find ways to collaborate,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures and president of the Schmidt Family Foundation. “We are counting on them to become future leaders, using their collective gifts to help solve the world’s most challenging problems.”
The five Kenya winners are:
- Edith Chemutai from Thika, Kenya: Edith started a movement on water conservation and created a water filtration system that reduced the dirty water swamp behind her school. She aims to curb water shortage in the world and develop better conservation and purification methods.
- James Nyaga Ngatia from Nairobi, Kenya: James is working to create an app called iGuide, which aims to eradicate pornography.
- Marietta Halima Kazungu from Kilifi, Kenya: Marietta developed the Rapidcovix Breathalyzer to help those in rural areas who cannot afford the expensive costs of testing better detect infectious diseases.
- Natasha Njoki Ndai from Kahawa West, Kenya: Natasha created an environmentalist’s club that aims to show people that cleaning and taking care of the environment is not a punishment; rather it can encourage teamwork and create awareness as well as be enjoyable.
- Wema Wambugo Marandu from Nairobi, Kenya: Wema’s Rise project aims to develop a reading culture by using storybooks and stocking up libraries in underprivileged communities in Kenya.
The complete list of Winners can be found here.
“Our partnership with Rise supports our mission to nurture young Kenyan women into transformative African leaders,” said Diana Njuguna, Head of Programs for Akili Dada. “We are truly proud of the Kenyan Rise Global Winners, which include two young women from Akili Dada’s vibrant network. We celebrate this milestone and can’t wait to see them actualize their brilliance, gifts, and passions driving social change in service of the continent and the globe.”
With over 22 new countries represented this year, the global program continues to further expand its network with a broader range of talented young leaders from diverse backgrounds, including applicants from over 170 countries. Schmidt Futures’ mission is to bet early on exceptional people making the world better. Betting on young people between the ages of 15-17 and potentially staying with them for life, Rise is both the earliest and the longest bet on talent in Schmidt Futures’ portfolio.
Rise remains intentionally broad both in the selection of talent and in their projects to help unveil hidden brilliance, in whatever form it takes, wherever it is in the world. The program further prides itself in recognizing brilliance with unique perspectives and across various focus areas, skills, and issues. Since its inception, Rise has welcomed over 150,000 people from over 170 countries to its community and has selected 200 winners from 69 countries of origin.
From over 120,000 entries, the 2022 winners were selected after a rigorous application process which included peer and expert review of service projects, formal assessments of talent, and group interviews. The 2022 Global Winners stood out not only for their impactful projects spanning from medical innovation to mental health and education but also for their strength in overcoming adversity.
As a result of global program growth in the second year, Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust are proud to welcome the program’s first Winners from Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Libya, Myanmar (Burma), Paraguay, Poland, Romania, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tunisia, and Vietnam.
“We believe that the answers to the world’s toughest problems lie in the imagination of the world’s brightest minds,” said Eric Braverman, CEO of Schmidt Futures. “Rise is an integral part of our mission to create the best, largest, and most enduring pipeline of exceptional talent globally and match it to opportunities to serve others for life.”
“Selecting 100 Global Winners from such a deep pool of brilliant young people was quite a challenge, and we are very grateful to all of our partners who helped in the selection process,” said Dr Elizabeth Kiss, Warden of Rhodes House in Oxford and CEO of the Rhodes Trust. “Our newest Rise winners come from every corner of the globe, and we can’t wait to bring them together – and then invest in their lifelong journeys to serve their communities and build a better world.
Everyone who applies to Rise joins a global community and gains access to opportunities from partners in at least 40 countries across the world. The latest Rise Global Winners receive additional personalized support including need-based scholarships, mentorship, career development opportunities, potential funding for future ventures, technology packages, and more, to empower them to achieve their goals as they work to serve others.
Applications for the next class will open in October 2022. For more information about how to apply, click here.