Charlene Ruto
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Charlene Ruto

Charlene Chelagat Ruto
CEO, Smachs Foundation

Charlene Chelagat Ruto is a dynamic youth champion and PR practitioner whose influence reaches beyond traditional roles. As the third-born daughter of Kenya’s President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto, Charlene has earned her place in the 5th list of 100 Most Influential African Women in 2023 by Avance Media. Her commitment to youth empowerment, climate action, and community development has set her apart as a transformative leader.


Charlene is a highly educated and well-rounded individual, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Daystar University and a Master of Business Administration in Hospitality from Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Her international exposure includes being a foreign exchange student at Northwestern College from August 2012 to January 2013, showcasing her dedication to academic and cultural enrichment.


As a Youth Champion, Climate Action champion, and youth mobilizer for development, Charlene champions transformative, actionable, and agenda-driven leadership. Her endeavors include empowering youth in agribusiness, promoting mental hygiene, and leading anti-FGM campaigns. Charlene is the patron of the SMACHS Foundation, a Kenyan non-governmental charity focusing on smart and mechanized agriculture, beekeeping, and climate action. Her commitment extends to supporting youth, women, marginalized communities, and persons with disabilities, evident in her involvement with various initiatives and functions.


Charlene Ruto stands out for her role as a youth champion, actively contributing to the advancement of the youth agenda in Kenya. With a strong focus on climate action, she leverages her position to advocate for youth involvement in smart, mechanized agriculture and climate action. Her commitment to fostering environmentally-conscious leadership aligns with the pressing challenges of climate change, making her a notable figure in the advocacy for a sustainable future.


Charlene’s dedication to youth empowerment is evident in her extensive engagement with government representatives, officials, and stakeholders. Holding 31 official meetings in just a month showcases her commitment to ensuring that the voices and concerns of Kenyan youth are heard at the highest decision-making levels. Her advocacy extends to the private sector, where she actively promotes youth participation, collaboration, and opportunities within the business community.


As the founding patron of the Smart Mechanized Agriculture and Climate Action for Humanity and Sustainability (SMACHs) Foundation, Charlene Ruto leads initiatives to equip young individuals with skills for smart, mechanized agriculture. The foundation addresses unemployment challenges among the youth by promoting sustainable and innovative agricultural practices, showcasing Charlene’s commitment to youth empowerment across various sectors.


Charlene’s dedication to environmental stewardship is evident in her pledge to plant and support the growth of 30 million trees, announced on her 30th birthday. This commitment, organized into three thematic areas—Youth in Action, Youth & Society, and Climate Change and Agriculture—demonstrates her passion for combating deforestation, mitigating climate change, and preserving Kenya’s natural resources.


Charlene Chelagat Ruto’s recognition in Avance Media’s 2023 100 Most Influential African Women list is a testament to her multifaceted leadership in youth empowerment, climate action, and community development. Her dynamic approach, international exposure, and commitment to sustainability showcase her as a transformative force shaping the future of Kenya and the African continent. As a youth champion and PR practitioner, Charlene continues to inspire positive change and contribute to the advancement of a more inclusive and sustainable society.

Photo Credit: Sydney Opera House