Dr. Utheri Kanayo

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DR. UTHERI KANAYO (née Susan Kiragu) is Principal and Co-Founder of Children In Freedom School. She is a Kenyan and holds a B.Ed (Kenyatta University), M.Ed (University of Nairobi), and MPhil and PhD (Education) from the University of Cambridge. After her studies in the UK, she worked as an academic researcher at The Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, and later as a Research Manager for Camfed International. In 2014 she resigned from her well-paying job and relocated back to Kenya with her husband to establish an international NGO called Children in Freedom. CIF offers scholarships and mentorship to African children, encouraging them to love their African heritage, and use their talents to innovate solutions for their communities. In 2016, CIF’s Afrocentric ‘Mentorship for Freedom’ programme received recognition from President Uhuru and Margaret Kenyatta. In 2018, three years after her return to Kenya, Utheri and her husband Oku co-founded the first Afrocentric school in East Africa, Children In Freedom School (CIFS). CIFS has grown to be a gifted and talented centre, dually grounding children to embrace their Africanness (who they are) and preparing them to be global leaders – just as good as their peers abroad, if not better. Utheri aims for CIFS to be a gold standard of what education should be for the black child and hopes that in future the CIFS model will be absorbed by other schools in Africa and the world. Utheri is well published in the social sciences and well exposed to Africa’s educational landscape, having carried out research in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, and Swaziland. She is an Independent Consultant for The The Beacon Scholarship, an outstanding leadership programme for gifted African children; and also a Metis fellow.