Friends of Utah: John Kariuki

Mr. John Kariuki is the CEO of the icare School of First Aid and a community volunteer with the Nucleus Children’s Trust. Through his positions, Mr. Kariuki has worked with communities impacted by disaster, gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS, orphans, vulnerable children, women, and the indigent. He has initiated projects to end gender-based HIV and AIDS discrimination including a Community Based First Aid and Disaster Reduction program, and sustainability programs to aid underserved and vulnerable populations in Kenya.

Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy International Visitor Leadership ProgramJohn directing icare volunteerism in Kenya

Through the State Department’s invitation, and hosted by Meridian International Center, Mr. Kariuki visited Utah in April 2019 to receive training specific to social entrepreneurship. He commented that “the trip was full of wealth of experience and enthusiasm,'' before adding “Utah being [his] choice for change and great impact.” IVLP participants tour various cities across the United States, so we are thrilled that his experiences in Utah had such a landmark impact. Mr. Kariuki attributes this fortune to the “donations from friends unlike other states we visited”, demonstrating “Utah is unique and blessed.” Although IVLP participants are not guaranteed donations, it is a gracious gesture to receive financial support for the harrowing issues attendant to one’s cause.

East and Horn of Africa Conference Utah Council for Citizen DiplomacyJohn, wearing the orange top, attends African Conference on legal aid in Nairobi

Mr. Kariuki equally praised The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their humanitarian appendage fittingly named Helping Hands. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, the faith-based organization is involved in countless humanitarian efforts and is a cultural highlight for many international visitors. Upon his return home, Mr. Kariuki joined forces with church members in his native Kenya to clean up a local school in Muji. He was “strengthened by the commission for citizen engagement and volunteerism in Utah”, ultimately creating that driving force to more fully participate in volunteer opportunities back home. Mr. Kariuki also has plans to partner with additional resources in Kenya to “extend home health care services.”

Latter days Saints helping hands utah council for citizen diplomacyJohn with Helping Hands to clean Muji school

Thanks to the outstanding and remarkable experiences from his trip to Utah, Mr. Kariuki says others look to him as a “leader” since his knowledge has increased traveling to the United States. Investing time and energy learning about NGO management in the United States will complement his efforts in Kenya to bring the necessary improvements to his country.