Kenyan Franciscan Friar, World’s Best Teacher, Receives Presidential Award

Br. Peter Mokaya Tabichi, World’s Best Teacher receiving the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear at Kenya's State House from President Uhuru Kenyatta on Jamhuri Day, December 12, 2019

The Kenyan Franciscan Friar who, in March won the US$1 million Global Teacher Prize for 2019, Br. Peter Mokaya Tabichi was Thursday, December 12 among other Kenyans conferred with Presidential Awards at the Nairobi State House, an award the 37-year-old science teacher has described as a privilege and an honor.

“I received Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) award at state house, and I feel so privileged for the honor given,” the religious brother from the congregation of the Order of St. Francis (OSF) told ACI Africa in an exclusive interview Friday, December 13, a day after he was hosted by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.

One of the orders, decorations and medals of Kenya awarded by the country’s President to acknowledge various citizens for their exemplary services to the nation and achievements in various fields of work, MBS falls under the second highest category of the awards “Order of the Burning Spear” after “Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya.”

Br. Tabichi explained to ACI Africa how he might have been identified for the recognition saying, “The person who went through my profile mentioned that what I have done with the school and community has marched qualifications that Kenya looks into so as to give such awards.”

The Friar who teaches at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Kenya’s Nakuru County, a semi-arid location of the Rift Valley added, “I can say after being the global teacher prize winner and of course receiving many other awards since then, this has put Kenya on the global map and might have made me achieve this honor.”


Since winning the Global Teacher Prize, Br. Tabichi has had other awards and recognitions, including being the first religious brother to address the UN General Assembly, being named the 2019 UN in Kenya person of the year, and being given the Dettol Soap hero brand ambassador role for 2020.

Asked how the December 12 presidential award and recognition is beneficial to him, Br. Tabichi said, “This award gives me a voice and acknowledgement in my own country; it is a recognition that makes me feel that I am accepted and my own people at home – brothers, sisters, together with the local leaders – are able to appreciate and recognize what I am doing even if it is little. So, it gives me the morale to keep doing more and do better.”

“The award will also help me move to greater heights. I thank God for that and I appreciate this great honor to me by the president,” Br. Tabichi said recalling the December 12 award and recognition, Kenya’s annual celebration that officially marks the day when the East African nation became an autonomous republic in 1963.

“I look at the awards and recognitions I have received as something not just for me but that which should inspire others in whatever they do,” Br. Tabichi said and clarified, “It is important to note that when I receive these, it is on behalf of teachers, on behalf of the community and the entire country, so to me its effect to inspire others is quite powerful.”

“Whatever comes my way I seize the opportunity to support the community and at least transform a person’s life and make him or her smile; this is the greatest blessing,” the Franciscan brother who hails from Kenya’s Kisii Diocese underscored.

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Explaining the privilege packaged in the MBS award he received, Br. Tabichi said, “The honor will help me connect with other people, partner with organizations and make it easier for me to reach out to leaders.”

He added, “Besides, the honor gives me the opportunity to attend some state functions where I can network more with others.”