Shining Hope for Communities

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) is a non-profit organization based in Nairobi, Kenya and New York, NY that combats urban poverty and gender inequity in the slums of Nairobi. Kennedy Odede, who grew up in the Kibera slum, founded SHOFCO in 2004 with a focus on youth and gender empowerment. SHOFCO has four initiative areas: education, health, economic and community empowerment, and water and sanitation. The organization is currently active in the Kibera and Mathare slums of Nairobi.[1]


Kennedy Odede grew up in Kibera where he experienced extreme poverty, violence, lack of opportunity, and deep gender inequality. It is because of this experience that in 2004, with just 20 cents and a soccer ball, he started SHOFCO as a movement for the empowerment of urban youth, women, and girls. Odede was inspired by activists Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela, as well as by women like his mother who suffered consistent abuse but remained strong and driven.[2]

In 2007, Odede met Jessica Posner, an American college student who was studying abroad in Kenya. Together they created the model that SHOFCO uses today.[3] Odede and Posner's partnership is a unique, pioneering collaboration in the field of international development. Bolstered by grassroots knowledge, they have dedicated their lives to bringing hope to urban communities.[4]

In 2009, Odede and Posner built the Kibera School for Girls, a school that would serve as the epicenter of their programs in the Kibera slum. To this institution, SHOFCO has added a free medical clinic, a clean water tower, public toilets, an internet café, as well as economic and community empowerment programs. SHOFCO's innovation is to link girls' education to deeply needed community-wide services. This connection increases the value of girls in the community and invites both genders to participate in the solution.[5]

In September 2014, Shining Hope for Communities officially opened SHOFCO-Mathare in Nairobi's second largest slum, Mathare. This site includes another school for girls, as well as community and economic empowerment programs. A free clinic is set to follow.[6]

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation honored SHOFCO as the 2018 Hilton Humanitarian Prize recipient. The prize is the world’s largest annual humanitarian award presented to nonprofit organizations judged to have made extraordinary contributions toward alleviating human suffering and working to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people throughout the world.[7]


  1. ^ Kristof, Nicholas (2014). A Path Appears. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 136–140.
  2. ^ Kristof, Nicholas (September 28, 2011). "Just Look at What You Did!". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Clinton, Chelsea (January 17, 2013). "On Assignment: Couple's love story leads to life-changing school in Kenyan slum". NBC News.
  4. ^ Kristof, Nicholas (2014). A Path Appears. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 140.
  5. ^ Kristof, Nicholas (2014). A Path Appears. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 136–140.
  6. ^ Phillips, Craig. "Jessica Posner Odede: From New York to Nairobi". PBS.
  7. ^ "Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Announces Kenya-Based Grassroots Nonprofit as 2018 Recipient of $2 Million Hilton Humanitarian Prize". Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Retrieved 2018-10-22.

External links[edit]

Official website