In 2020, the World Food Program (WFP) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas. Other efforts of the organization was acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war.

The WFP’s current goal is to advance the world’s population toward Zero Hunger by 2030. A daunting task, and one that takes passion, dedication and a variety of skills, as well as requiring supporting digital technologies and expertise.

Earnest Wambari, a graduate of the Cisco Networking Academy, is a member of the global WFP networking team. Through its efforts to streamline and modernize the WFP operation, the work done by Wambari and his team has become increasingly important as the global COVID-19 pandemic brings humanity’s food security under even greater threat.

“With technology, the approach to Zero Hunger will be accelerated more than ever before. There is more intelligence involved in how we provide our services to make us more efficient and more impactful,” said Wambari.

Growing up in Nairobi, Wambari had little interest in technology. However, this all changed in 2002 when, following in his father’s footsteps to become an electrical engineer, he saw an advert for the Cisco Networking Academy at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and he applied.

Fast forward to 2007, and Wambari had become the first and youngest Kenyan at age 25 to achieve a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert classification (CCIE). From there, he was employed by several Cisco partners, including Seven Seas, Dimension Data, and Cisco itself, as well as establishing his own business, before subsequently joining WFP’s team of network engineers in 2019.

“I work with a team of talented network engineers, and the role involves everything from the technical aspects to project management to budgets to training to communication, and just generally ensuring that we all work together as a team. Now, we are doing a refresh of over 400 locations and deploying some new edge devices,” Wambari added.

As an African, food security is close to Wambari’s heart. His enthusiasm for what can be accomplished by WFP has been deepened further since the Peace Prize award. As a certified Cisco Networking Academy instructor, he is committed to giving back, as he inspires others to discover their own paths.

For nearly 24 years, Cisco Networking Academy has been partnering with leading educational institutions, non-profits, and governments around the world, offering technical training and professional skills development training to more than 12.6 million students in 180 countries.

Last year alone, 2.3 million students from all backgrounds and experiences participated in the free-of-charge program through 11,800 academies worldwide. In addition, 95% of students who complete the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) courses worldwide say the program helped them obtain a job or educational opportunity, with two million CCNA students finding new jobs over the past 15 years.