Biotech Updates

Dr. Margaret Karembu Conferred Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) by Kenyan President

January 20, 2021

Dr. Margaret Karembu has conferred a Presidential award in recognition of her tireless effort over the last two decades to improve science communication and appreciation of modern biotechnology tools for national development.

In nominating Dr. Karembu for consideration of the award, Kenya's National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation (NACOSTI) cited her strong will to withstand aggressive activism against agricultural innovations by consistently engaging different stakeholders with proven scientific evidence of the technology's potential to improve the socio-economic welfare of farm families. Her passion for effective science communication and a firm belief in the power of innovations for transforming small-scale agriculture into efficient, competitive, and profitable enterprises is unmatchable. "Largely, the remarkable progress with biotech cotton approval, which will significantly contribute to the attainment of the Government's Big Four agenda's manufacturing and food security pillars can be attributed to Margaret's relentless efforts in improving the way agricultural biotechnology is perceived and communicated in Kenya," read NACOSTI's recommendation note.

Language barriers and low science literacy levels have compounded the challenge of disinformation about agricultural biotechnology, delaying policy decisions, and denying farmers the choice of new agricultural tools. Dr. Karembu's work on effective science communication has enabled access to credible scientific information to address misinformation both at the grassroots and high-level policy spheres.

According to the Kenyan Law (National Honours Act, 2013), a person shall merit the conferment of a national honor by the Head of State if the person exhibited or exhibits exemplary qualities, actions or achievements of heroism, sacrifice, bravery, patriotism, or leadership for the defense, benefit or betterment of the country;  made an exemplary contribution to the country or a county in the economic, social, scientific, academic, public administration, governance, sports, journalism, business, security or other fields; and/or brought honor, glory or pride to the Republic of Kenya.

Upon nomination, an Advisory Committee chaired by the Deputy President receives, considers, and advises the President on the suitability or otherwise of the person, body, unit, association of persons, or corporation that is proposed for conferment of national honor. The committee then proposes to the President the types, classes, or categories of national honors that should be conferred.

For more details, check out The Kenya Gazette of 18th December 2020 (Page 5103) or send an e-mail to

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