Cecilia Murugi Mwangi remains one of the most memorable beauty queens Kenya has ever had.
The former model was thrust into the limelight when she was crowned Miss World Kenya in 2005 and went on to represent the country in Miss World 2005, which was held at the Crown of Beauty Theatre in Sanya, People’s Republic of China, that year. The spotlight shone on her once again in 2007 when she became the face of the anti-jigger campaign championed by Ahadi Trust Kenya.
Her passion for modelling started when she was in Form Three at State House Girls’ High School when she vied for Miss State House Girls’ and was the second runner-up. The following year, she participated again and won the crown. She went for the crown again the following year and got it. After completing her KCSE in 2002, she put her modelling ambitions aside and only reconsidered them after being convinced by a friend to participate in a photoshoot. Thereafter, she dedicated herself to modelling and in 2005 was crowned Miss World Kenya on her second attempt. In 2007, Mwangi was among a group of Kenyan celebrities invited for a workshop organised by the newly formed Ahadi Trust Kenya. The organisation’s main aim was to combat jigger infestation in the country, a clarion call to which she readily responded. She became the project ambassador for the anti-jigger campaign and since then has worked persistently towards bettering the lives of thousands of people in rural Kenya who could not work, go to school, or even perform simple daily tasks due to jigger infestation. Working with Ahadi Trust, the model has been able to establish several centres in different parts of the country to rehabilitate those affected by jiggers.
This is done by engaging them in different activities like basket-making, beekeeping and other entrepreneurial activities that help them earn a living and fend for their families. Mwangi also works closely with youths in slums through charitable activities and is passionate about empowering the girl child.
She initiated a beauty pageant in one of the slum areas where she works – the Miss Mukuru Crown, in Mukuru Kayaba. Noticing that many of the girls living in slums grew up with low self-esteem, she dedicated herself to mentoring and changing their attitudes so as to instil in them the belief that beauty can also be found where they are from. Other institutions which have benefitted from Mwangi’s projects are: Shangilia Mtoto wa Africa, Machos Community School and Wema Centre.
Due to her contribution as project ambassador for the anti-jigger campaign, Mwangi won the Young Achievers Award, sponsored by the Women Students Welfare Association of the University of Nairobi. In 2009, Ahadi Trust Kenya was awarded the Leadership & Management Award in Global Health, which is an initiative of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). In the same year, she received a Service Award from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT) as the Youngest Distinguished Alumni of the institution. Mwangi also received a Head of State Commendation for her humanitarian work in eradicating jiggers. Additionally, Kenya has been ranked among the top six African countries working towards achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2015 through the anti-jigger campaign. Apart from her work with Ahadi Trust, Mwangi works for Interstat Limited, a Nairobi
IT company. She graduated from JKUAT in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Technology, with a specialisation in satellite communications. Her work revolves around computer software, hardware and networking, and she urges girls not to be afraid to go into the scientific field as there is no career reserved exclusively for males or females. Currently, Mwangi is focusing all her efforts on her work in IT, the anti-jigger campaign and raising her young daughter. She continues to urge other public personalities to join her in eradicating jiggers and hopes to have impacted the lives of people affected by jiggers all around the country by 2018.