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Meet Stella Aura: The First Female Director of the Kenya Meteorological Department

When Kenya's rain got 'stuck' in Tanzania in April last year, Stella Aura was unknown to many Kenyans. She, however, trended on social media.


This was after Ms Aura, who by then was the acting director Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD), explained to Kenyans why the prolonged rains were 'sitting' in the neighbouring country as Kenya was left dry.


Today, the laidback but tough KMD director laughs at how Kenyans sauntered her with funny memes, with majority of the citizenry urging President John Magufuli to 'release' Kenya's rain.


Seventeen months later, Ms Aura, Kenya's first female KMD director who is also Permanent Representative of Kenya with World Meteorological Organisation, laughs at how Kenyans made her 'famous'.


"Yes! The rains were stuck in Tanzania, the cyclones had moved all the moisture, but the way it was put! I trended on social media. I had explanations to make, it was a tough period," Ms Aura says.


Ms Aura stresses on the importance of weather forecasts.


"I still remember how I trended on social media. But let us work together to ensure we have a reliable forecasts that will inform development decisions," Ms Aura urged more than 100 climate scientists, researchers and development partners, who met in Mombasa last year during the 54th meeting of the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum.



"I am used to being the sole woman at the high table, even at the university, we were only two in a class of 16. All along, I have been alone, it has never bothered me but I am glad things have changed. The university currently has a 50-50 share," Ms Aura explains.

While schooling at Mumias Primary, she desired to be an engineer but after joining secondary school, she changed her mind and picked mathematics and physics.


"You know for us, when you got to Form Two, you had to choose the subjects you wanted to pursue for Form Four; you would be given a sheet to take home so that your parents help you decide," she says.


She had the conversation with her parents, her father, a former civil servant, and mother a businesswoman, were supportive of her education. Her late mother is her role model.

"They helped me in selecting mathematics, chemistry and physics. After my first year at the University of Nairobi doing math and physics, I went into meteorology," she says.


The KMD director has a Master's degree in Oceanography from McGill University in Canada and a Bachelor's of Science in Meteorology from the University of Nairobi.


While studying at the University of Nairobi, they were only two women in a class of more than 16 men.


"If your heart is into something, just do it, do not discriminate careers. At some point, people disregarded art subjects but things have changed," Ms Aura says.

While growing up, she had big dreams.


"I envisioned myself being big someday and look at me now... Anyone should aspire to greatness. People tell me I look young because of my outlook to life, I don't see problems, I see challenges and I tackle them head-on," she says.


Source: Nation

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