Interview: Prof. Jared Akama Onyari

* Roula Pollard talks to Prof Jared Akama Onyari, Chaplain and Peace Ambassador *

Prof. Onyari
Roula Pollard: Prof Onyari, I chose to interview you because although you do not write conventional books, you deal daily with the Spiritual Poetry of one of the best books of life, the Bible, and you act in God’s Poetry. Tell me about your childhood experiences in Kenya.
Prof Onyari: I was born on the 2nd day of October 1968 and raised in Nyasore a little village at Nyamira county, Kisii region in Kenya . I was one of twelve children born to Harrison Onyari Minyega and Eunice Mocheche Onguso. Like any other ordinary child at my time I grew with a lot of difficulties because I was orphaned at an early age but I am thankful to my late Mum the role she played in instilling Christian principles to me. She encouraged me to work hard in my education as this was the only sure way to make a difference to humanity and succeed in life. She always advised me to care for the environment , be a friend to nature and at all time support the disadvantaged and less fortunate people in our society. This has contributed and shaped me to what I am today.

Roula Pollard
Roula Pollard: You belong in a large extended Kenyan family with approximately 100 members, and have 22 siblings (brothers and sisters) in total; been among others, a chaplain, community leader, strong women's rights promoter and supporter, Environmental Impact Assessment Lead expert and a Ambassador of Peace; you remind me of the Biblical Patriarchs. Can I call you a “21st Century post-Modern Patriarch” and how do you react to this title?
Prof Onyari: Thank you for seeing me as a “21st Century post- Modern Patriarch but I see myself as a humble servant of God who lives for the sake of others.

Roula Pollard: You are also a Professor of Development Studies in Nairobi, and Counselor, top Environmental Impact Assessment Lead expert with accreditation with the United Nations Environment Program ( UNEP). What is your connection with UNEP?
Prof Onyari: As the President of Kenya Environment and Waste Management which is accredited to UNEP, this means that the accreditation grants my organization consultative status at UN Environment within the rules of procedure of the UN Environment Assembly. In practical terms, this means that in the run-up to the sessions of the UN Environment Assembly and the Assembly itself, as an accredited organization of Major Groups, I have the opportunity to receive unedited working documents of the UN Environment Assembly first-hand and at the same time as the Committee of the Permanent Representatives, and to make oral and written contributions to these meetings as well as circulate written statements to Governments through the UN Environment Secretariat and make ake oral statements during the discussions of the UN Environment Assembly..

Roula Pollard: What is your role as an Environmental Impact Assessment Lead expert?
Prof Onyari: As an Environmental Impact Assessment Lead expert, I do interpret legal frameworks for the proposed project, screen and scope to identify the likely impacts of the project to the environment. I also ensure project comply with environmental legislations and regulations and Contribute to the project appraisal processes by reviewing, analyzing, and advising on social and environmental impact risk. My other role is advice on best practices and contributing to the supervision of the projects by providing oversight on the implementation of the environmental and social mitigation and monitoring arrangements.

Roula Pollard: What is your role as a Peace Ambassador at Universal Peace Federation and as a President of Peace Society in Kenya and president for Africa Peace Foundation?
Prof Onyari: As Peace Ambassador in Universal Peace Federation, a President of Peace Society in Kenya and president for Africa Peace Foundation I stand on the common ground of universal moral principles, promoting reconciliation, overcoming barriers, and building peace. I am part of a global network representing the diversity of the human family and all disciplines of endeavor. Also promoting the cooperation beyond boundaries of religion, race, ethnicity, and nationality. And pure practice the motto of “living for the sake of others” as the guiding principle for building a global community

Roula Pollard: What is your role as promoter and supporter of Women’s rights? What have you achieved?
Prof Onyari: For instance during the “African Liberation Day” on 25th May 2018 in Nairobi I said there is need for women to be recognized and their importance in terms of involvement in peace and security issues to achieve long lasting stability. This acknowledgment stems from the efforts, to my understanding, of international organizations, national governments and civil society around the world to establish what we now know as the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. I have continued to promote women rights through Advocacy in all its forms that seeks to ensure that women, particularly those who are most vulnerable in society, are able to: Have their voice heard on issues that are important to them. My support and promotion is geared towards guaranteeing equality before the law and non-discrimination for all people in the exercise of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, across the range of social, cultural, economic, civil and political rights.

Roula Pollard: What is your role as a leader of the Green political party?
Prof Onyari: I am the head of .the party and promoter of grassroots democracy and provide leadership as well as articulating party policies particularly on the environment.

Roula Pollard: What do you do as HIV Aids Counselor?
Prof Onyari: As an HIV/AIDS counselor I perform several roles such as counseling, educating, campaign planning and policymaking. And as a counselor I assist individuals that have been infected with the virus to overcome the trauma and put in place various coping mechanisms to help the individual lead as normal a life as possible aimed at making the individuals to achieve and sustain behavior change.

Roula Pollard: Prof Onyari, among others you look after the feeding, upbringing, education and health of 51 children. Do you consider all these children part of your family?
Prof Onyari: Yes, I do consider them to be part of my family because I have given them an opportunity and to feel being part of my family. This is a result of my firm believe and knowledge that every child is of need to be love and be part of a family.

Roula Pollard: Africa has been exploited for many centuries. Are you optimistic that Africa is becoming a prosperous continent spiritually and financially?
Prof Onyari: Yes. The social and political efforts and desire of the African people is to live in a strong, stable and prosperous continent, which is not only vital for Africans but is essential for the world. Africa’s abundant resources, its most precious being its young people, rapidly-growing and often digitally native and entrepreneurial population. To achieve a ‘win-win’ partnership with Africa, the world must take Africa’s own ambitions more seriously. Africa’s development must build on its assets the most precious being its people.

Roula Pollard: Thank you for this interview and wish you success with your projects, especially with caring of the orphans, the environment and your Peace efforts.

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