Shining Hope for Communities

Vision
To build urban promise from urban poverty.
Through it’s work and  that of other stakeholders contributing to the fight against urban poverty, SHOFCO envisions a future where all urban citizens can release their trapped potential.

History
Kennedy Odede started Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) in 2004 with passion, 20 cents and a soccer ball. Growing up in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa, he experienced extreme poverty, violence, lack of opportunity, and deep gender inequality. Kennedy also witnessed the palpable hope that persists in slums and recognized that people sought something different for themselves, their families and their communities. In 2007, Kennedy met Jessica Posner, an American student studying abroad. Together they devised the model that SHOFCO utilizes today. SHOFCO officially started in the U.S. in 2009 when they opened Kibera’s first free school for girls. They branched out from there, connecting the school to an array of community identified services, such as health clinics, clean water distribution centres, and economic empowerment programs. 

In our schools for girls, we focus on high quality education, believing this investment catapults girls to high-level leadership positions. SHOFCO’s primary teaching is grounded on the emphasis of high-performing leadership skills, equipping students with the tools to see systems change through. Our Girls’ Leadership Academies not only provide our students with intellectual confidence, but our methodology encourages students to critically analyze community and global issues and seek solutions.

Main programs 

  • Service Delivery in three areas:
    • Healthcare: through the provision of reliable medical treatment, infants have a higher chance of normal neurocognitive development and experience increased years of schooling; adults decrease missed wages due to illness
    • Water and Sanitation: SHOFCO places clean water distribution centers throughout Kibera, mitigating the health risks directly associated with contaminated water, while also reducing the impact of unreliable water sources and exorbitant fees.
    • Economic Development: SHOFCO links slum residents with various financial platforms and facilitate intensive skills training courses that enable individuals to become financially literate, save, start and grow a business.
  • Community advocacy: SHOFCO’s approach to service delivery does not merely address immediate inequities, but enables individuals to participate in long-term change. Through the use of our services, we build an organizing mechanism that facilitates large-scale grassroots advocacy efforts. This unified platform, known as the SHOFCO Urban Network (SUN) brings together individuals and households using our services and organizes them to actively seek tangible change in their community and society at large.
  • Female leaders of Tomorrow: Change will only be achieved and sustained if all stakeholders value an inclusive democracy and tomorrow’s leaders create and enforce just policies. Therefore, we make long-term investments in quality education for girls living in slum communities, as they understand the complexities of poverty, and have the innate incentive to instill change.

Short term vision (2017-2020): expansion to urban slums of Nairobi and Mombasa. SHOFCO will also begin to look at cities rather than at isolated slums. In each new site, SHOFCO will build its holistic suite of services connected to Girls’ Education Centers. In each city there will be one full Girls' Leadership Academy that students from all slums can attend. The Girls’ Education Centers will become hubs to reach more girls, as well as maintain our link to girls’ education in the center of social services.

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