Auburn ag alumna receives international Emerging Sustainability Leader Award

Published: February 06, 2017
Updated: June 20, 2017
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Auburn University agriculture alumna and Kenya native Esther Ngumbi recently received the Emerging Sustainability Leader Award at the sixth World Sustainability Forum in Cape Town, South Africa.

Ngumbi, along with a fellow recipient, split a $10,000 award sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute’s Sustainability Journal, an international scholarly publication covering environmental, cultural, economic and social sustainability.

The award encourages new initiatives in sustainability with the ultimate aim of transferring research to sustainable practices and societies. This goal aligns with Ngumbi’s research efforts in developing sustainable farming practices through her work as an Auburn doctoral student and postdoctoral plant pathologist.

"The award is important because it re-inspired and reenergized me to continue on with the work that I am so passionate and committed to—solving one of the most pressing global sustainability issue of our world, that of hunger and food insecurity," Ngumbi said. "I felt humbled and honored because the World Sustainability Forum appreciates the efforts, love and commitment that I have put to champion for a hunger-free, food-secure world."

Ngumbi was the first in her native community of 22,000 to receive her doctorate, completing it in entomology from Auburn’s College of Agriculture five years ago. Since receiving the degree, she has founded a model primary school in her home village of Mabafwemi, secured a $10,000 grant to build the village’s first library and works daily to teach the people of Kenya efficient and sustainably farming techniques.

"With this recognition, I hope to continue pushing for this sustainable movement," Ngumbi said. "I will keep inspiring and mobilizing people to take action against food insecurity and hunger and work to ensure a future of healthy, nutritious food for the world’s growing population. This is arguably the world’s most pressing sustainability issue."