- She has been championing education development in Kenya through her Role Modeling Initiative, a platform for students’ holistic development.
- During the national occasion, Ms. Kangwana was honored in the category of Human Rights Promotion.
- Currently, Ms. Kangwana is the CEO and Founder of Arise Circle KE, a leadership and organizational development entity.
As Kenyans celebrated Mashujaa Day, it was more joy and a more profound sense of fulfillment for the transformational citizens who, among the many who are changing communities, were handpicked for their excellence and indelible legacies and efforts in changing communities and got awarded as heroes.
Edinah Kangwana MBS, MHC, was one of them.
She is a multi-award-winning transformational leader whose work in leadership development and community service has been honored by different entities, both state and non-state, at national and global levels.
In the past
Over the years, Ms. Kangwana has been honored in spheres of distinguished leadership, education development, women’s and girls’ empowerment, mental health, mentorship, and peace promotion.
In 2021, she was honored by the fourth president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, with the Order of the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) in recognition of her distinguished service to the nation.
Other entities that have honored her include iChange Nations (ICN), Women on Boards Network, DEAR Awards, COWAP Africa, County Gala Awards, AWS, International College of Peace Studies, WIL Africa and Mental Real-Of-State award, among others.
This year, she was among the great men and women of Kenya honored by the 5th President of the Republic of Kenya, HE. William Ruto during the 60th Mashujaa Day celebration which, in the spirit of devolution, was held in Kericho County, one of Kenya’s 47 devolved units.
During the national occasion, Ms. Kangwana was honored in the category of Human Rights Promotion for her immense work in promoting the rights of women and girls, the youth, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups in society.
She has been championing education development in Kenya through her Role Modeling Initiative, a platform for students’ holistic development.
Through this platform, she offers student life skills alongside addressing student issues like teenage pregnancies, early marriages, period poverty, drug and substance use, mental health, gender-based violence like FGM, and preparation for academic excellence.
Through the Gusii Women Leadership Network (GWILN), Ms. Kangwana has been pushing for women’s authentic leadership development.
The GWILN, where she is a founding member, offers a networking platform for women leaders to share best leadership practices and mentor young aspiring leaders.
She also champions mental health awareness and promotion through the Roundtable Wellness Foundation, where she is the chairperson and founding member.
More about her
Ms. Kangwana is also a seasoned banker with over a decade of banking experience and is an immediate former Kisii County Minister for Public Service and County Administration. She also served as Kisii County Minister for Trade, Tourism and Industry.
She is credited, among other things, for her excellence in county administration, especially exhibited when she steered the 2021 Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kisii County, where she played the role of the county planning committee chairperson and emergency response and management of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Currently, Ms. Kangwana is the CEO and Founder of Arise Circle KE, a leadership and organizational development entity equipping leaders and organizations with the 21st-century skills needed at the workplace and helping them handle emerging complex situations.
She believes that her greatest honor will be to witness a society and world where everyone embraces, acts, and lives life from the point of being the change one wants to see in the world.
Aligning to the theme of the celebrations, which is Universal Health Care, the President used the 2023 Mashujaa Day platform to put weight on Kenya’s Universal Health (UHC) agenda to the members of the public.
He outlined the government’s strategies and commitment to provide affordable healthcare to communities, and the use of data to capture vital information and real-time, accurate household data, providing linkage to health facilities.
History of Mashujaa celebrations
Mashujaa celebration is a national day celebrated in Kenya every 20th day of October.
It honors men and women who worked hard to contribute to Kenya’s struggle for independence and those who continue to work to contribute positively to the development of Kenya post-independence.
The Kiswahili name “Mashujaa” translates to “heroes”, and this day is dedicated to honoring the heroes and heroines whose legacies and continuous efforts in changing communities live on.
Mashujaa Day is not only a day of remembrance but also a time to recognize and award the unsung heroes of modern Kenya.
The historical roots of Mashujaa Day can be traced back to Kenya’s long and arduous journey towards independence from British colonial rule.
The Mau Mau Uprising, which began in the 1950s, was a pivotal moment in this struggle.
The sacrifices and bravery of those who fought for Kenya’s freedom are commemorated on this day.
Their courage and determination continue to inspire current and future generations.
Mashujaa Day is not just about historical figures but also about celebrating contemporary heroes.
These modern heroes include teachers who mold young minds, doctors who save lives, humanitarians who serve humanity, sportspeople who win honors and awards for Kenya, diplomats who build Kenya’s local and foreign relations, and ordinary citizens who dedicate their time to improving their communities.
Recognizing these unsung heroes is a way of acknowledging that heroism comes in many forms and is not limited to those who fought in the struggle for independence.
Another notable aspect of Mashujaa Day is the cultural aspect of celebrating Kenya’s diversity, as Kenyan communities showcase their rich traditions and heritage through music, dance, and traditional attire.
This fosters a sense of unity and national pride, highlighting the country’s multicultural tapestry.
Sports also play a vital role in Mashujaa Day celebrations. Kenyan athletes have earned global recognition in various disciplines, particularly long-distance running and athletics.
Their achievements are celebrated as a source of national pride, and their dedication to their craft is an inspiration to the youth.
The provisions for the selection and recognition of heroes, establishing of the criteria for the identification, selection and honoring of national heroes, and the provision for the categories of heroes is done by the National Heroes Council of Kenya.
Mashujaa Day is an opportunity for Kenyans to reflect on their nation’s past, appreciate their present, and envision their future.
It is a day to renew a commitment to the values and principles that have shaped Kenya’s history and continue to drive progress.
The heroes of Kenya, whether historical or contemporary, serve as guiding lights, reminding the nation of its potential and the spirit of resilience.
As Kenya moves forward, this special day serves as a reminder that heroism is not confined to the pages of history but is alive and well within the hearts of its people.
Mashujaa Day is a time for Kenyans to celebrate their collective spirit and look towards a brighter future.