About The Writer

Kennedy Odede

Kennedy was born in and lived in the Kibera slum for the first 23 years of his life. In Kibera he saw the lives of many women crushed like his mother’s and sisters’, and dreamed of changing the position of women in his society. As the oldest of eight children, he assumed responsibility for his family at the age of ten. In Kibera he became a certified HIV/AIDS counselor, was a community health worker, and ran several slum-wide AIDS education campaigns. In 2004 he founded SHOFCO, one of the largest community-based organizations in Kibera founded and run by residents of the slum itself.  Kennedy is now the co-founder and Executive Director of Shining Hope for Communities, a non-profit that works in Kibera to combat gender inequality and extreme poverty.  Kennedy has received widespread recognition for his work.  He is a senior fellow with Humanity in Action, Echoing Green 2010 fellow and recently wrote an Op-Ed that appeared in the New York Times. Kennedy is twenty-five-years-old, speaks five languages, and brings his extensive experience in grass-roots organizing as well as passion for social justice and poverty alleviation to his work with Shining Hope for Communities. Kennedy is the first person from the Kibera slum to attend a four-year college: Wesleyan University where he is now a junior.

You can also follow Kennedy on twitter:http://twitter.com/kennedyodede/

About Shining Hope for Communities

Shining Hope for Communities won the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition, and won the 2010 Do Something Award. Shining Hope for Communities is currently building a desperately needed community health center.  We also just opened a bio-latrine center providing residents with clean toilets.  Shining Hope also finished constriction of our expanded community centre offering vital services to thousands of Kibera residents.  Shining Hope also expanded the Kibera School for Girls by 48% in just one year.  Shining Hope has also recently been featured on CNN, and in Fast Company Magazine.

To learn more about his organization visit: http://www.hopetoshine.org/


8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by kathy on June 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I presented on Shining Hope for Communities at our Dining For Women this month and was left so inspired by your work and passion. Several of us would like to see about sponsoring a little one at the Kibera School for Girls. I shared many of the statistics about Kibera with the audience and they were indeed shocking. We look forward to helping make a difference with you through our support with DFW.


  2. […] from poverty. Thanks to my buddy, Chris Marshall, for the heads up on the article. The author, Kennedy Odede, lived in Kibera slum in Nairobi for 23 years. Take a look at things from his […]


  3. hey man big ye up ya efforts did sprout so amazing…..kp up.


  4. Your story is moving and I believe it has changed alot of people who have read it. I was moved by your article ‘I am the roots of the grass” where you point out on people who raised you, they were extremely poor in materials, but their wealth could not be defined by the dichotomy of rich and poor as we so often understand it. They were generous in their hearts, wealthy in their kindness, and deep in their knowledge of human connection. Wish you all the best in your future plans and its my hope that we will be a poverty free country soon..Thanks for your good work and God bless.


  5. Posted by Jack Odundo on February 16, 2012 at 10:31 am

    happy for you man. keep on keeping on.


  6. Posted by Jack Odundo on February 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

    iko fiti endelea kuchangamka


  7. Posted by emily on March 29, 2012 at 9:37 am

    That’s a cool article Ken, sincerely speaking am very proud of your work and effort to prove that one can change his/her situation no matter how difficult it may seem or look. Determination always lights the way, continue uplifting yourself as well as helping those who are unable


  8. hope and empowerment comes in handy through passion, desire and burden.


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