Co-Founder of Shining Hope for Communities
Kennedy Odede lived in Nairobi’s Kibera slum for 23 years and experienced extreme poverty first hand. With Echoing Green’s support, he launched Shining Hope for Communities to give back to his community.
Driven by the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of the people of Kibera, SHOFCO is the largest grassroots organization in Kibera. SHOFCO provides critical services for all, community advocacy platforms, and education and leadership development for women and girls.
The oldest of eight children, Kennedy became a street-child at the age of ten. Influenced by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, Kennedy imagined how he could change his community. In 2004, he had a job in a factory earning $1 for 10 hours of work. He saved 20 cents and used this to buy a soccer ball and start Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO). Since launching, SHOFCO has provided water to nearly 20,000 annually, has trained more than 1,000 rising entrepreneurs, and has helped 96 percent of students pass the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam. Kennedy is a senior fellow with Humanity in Action, an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow, a Young Global Leader (YGL) at the World Economic Forum, and an Obama Foundation Africa Leader. He is a 2010 Echoing Green Fellow.