Professor from Liverpool led health project nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Professor Dan Pope and Dr James Mwitari meeting Professor Were to discuss the national training program on household air pollution prevention for community health worker training being led by CLEAN-Air(Africa) in Kenya

Professor Miriam Were, Community Engagement and Involvement lead for the Liverpool led CLEAN-Air (Africa) Global Health Research Group, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2022 for her work in public health.

CLEAN-Air (Africa) is led by research experts, physicians and academics from the universities of Liverpool, Moi and Ghana; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Douala General Hospital (Cameroon) and Kintampo Health Research Centre (Ghana). It is sponsored by the National Institute of Health Research in the UK to provide evidence for policies to address the burden of infectious and chronic diseases from household air pollution.

The CLEAN-Air (Africa) Group is conducting a program of mixed-methods research in Cameroon, Ghana and Kenya to support communities adopt clean household energy alongside national government policies to scale household use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to reduce the negative impacts on health, deforestation and climate of reliance on solid fuels and kerosene for cooking.

The Group is also conducting a program of capacity building engaging with the health systems (ministries of health, health authorities, WHO country offices) to provide training for community health work forces to raise population awareness of household air pollution as a major risk factor for disease and to promote prevention strategies through clean household energy and harm minimisation.

Professor Were 

Born and raised in Western Kenya, Professor Were’s career in public health has spanned over 50 years and she has been one of the strongest advocates for Kenya’s community health workforce – key to the countries aspirations for Universal Health Coverage. She previously worked as chief of health and nutrition with Unicef Ethiopia, as well as providing input into the World Health Organization as a key representative. Prof Were is the chairperson of the Kenya National Aids Control Council and serves on the Lancet Covid-19 Commission and has also been chancellor of Moi University.

In 2021 Professor Were agreed to join the CLEAN-Air (Africa) Global Health Research Group as its Community Engagement and Involvement lead.

Delighted and humbled

Professor Dan Pope, Director of CLEAN-Air (Africa), said: “We were delighted and humbled when Mama Miriam agreed to join our Global Health Research Group to offer her wealth of experience and extremely valuable insights into our strategy of community engagement as we seek to expand CLEAN-Air(Africa) in East Africa.

“We are extremely excited to be able to be guided by her as we seek to understand how best to address the global public health priority of household air pollution through community transition to clean household energy.  Professor Were’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize is testament to her lifetime of promoting community health and advocating for community empowerment and we are thrilled she has received this recognition.”

Peace and health

Responding to the nomination, Professor Were, said: “Peace and health are the foundation for the well-being of humanity and the planet.

“I believe in the community approach as the modality for promoting both peace and health by empowering individuals and communities to lead in solving their problems including those articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals.”


Each year the Norwegian Nobel Committee receives several hundred nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. There are 343 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 out of which 251 are individuals and 92 are organizations.

After all the qualified nominations have been discussed, a short-list of the most interesting and worthy candidates is created. The candidates on the short-list are then subject to assessments and examinations done by the Nobel Committee’s permanent advisers, together with other Norwegian or international experts.

As a rule, the Committee reaches a decision only at its very last meeting before the announcement of the year’s laureate(s) at the beginning of October. The Committee seeks to achieve consensus in its selection of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

More information about the nomination process can be found here

More information about CLEAN-Air (Africa) can be found here

More information about Professor Miriam Were can be found here