Empowering Kenya's slums

Kennedy Odede, Founder, Shining Hope for Communities

SHOFCO works to transform the lives of the urban poor.

  • Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO1) is a grassroots non-profit that empowers urban slum dwellers in Kenya by providing essential services such as health care, clean water and education; linking these to a community-led advocacy platform; and investing in the next generation of female leaders.
  • In Kenya, 56% of city dwellers live in slums2 – more than four-million people – and the country is rapidly urbanizing3 which presents problems including unemployment, insecurity and unmet demand for housing and infrastructure4.
  • Kennedy grew up in Kibera – Africa's largest slum – and became a street child at the age of 10. He taught himself to read and write and was inspired by Dr Martin Luther King to become a community organiser. He saved 20 cents from his 1USD a day factory job to buy a soccer ball that he used to start SHOFCO by convening youth to talk about community issues.
  • Today SHOFCO is the largest employer in Kibera with more than 500 full-time staff, most of whom live in slums. SHOFCO says it has directly impacted more than 300,000 people across nine Kenyan slums: It operates seven health clinics, two primary schools, and supplies almost 20,000 households with water. Some 15,000 people joined the advocacy platform, with more than 8,000 enrolled in peer-to-peer lending groups5.
  • In 2018, SHOFCO became the youngest organization to receive the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize6, the world's largest prize awarded to organizations judged to have made extraordinary contributions to alleviate human suffering. Kennedy is a World Economic Fund Young Global Leader7 and an Echoing Green Fellow8, has been recognized on Forbes' 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs list9, and won the Dell Social Innovation competition.

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Shining Hope for Communities works towards these UN Sustainable Development Goals:

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