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SHOFCO’s holistic approach celebrates 20 years of community empowerment

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Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) marked its 20th anniversary on June 6, 2024, with a vibrant event attended by numerous dignitaries.

Founded by Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner in 2004, SHOFCO has been at the forefront of addressing the challenges faced by people living in informal residents.

Currently operating in 40 counties across Kenya, SHOFCO impacts over four million lives annually.

In 2018, it became the youngest-ever recipient of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest humanitarian prize awarded to non-profits that have made extraordinary contributions to alleviating human suffering.

SHOFCO’s approach to community development is holistic, addressing multiple dimensions of poverty and inequality to create lasting change.

Its programs focus on education, healthcare, water and sanitation, economic empowerment, community mobilization, and youth development, all aimed at improving the well-being and opportunities for residents in urban slums and rural areas.

“I’m delighted to see what SHOFCO has achieved in the past 20 years. It began with a soccer ball and 20 cents in Kibera, and the organization has now spread its wings across Kenya, touching the lives of over four million people yearly,” said Kennedy Odede.

“We could not have done it without the support of our donors and the communities we serve. It has been an amazing journey and we look forward to more fruitful years ahead.”

Under its education program, SHOFCO runs two schools, Kibera School for Girls and Mathare School for Girls, with a student population of 580.

The students are fully sponsored from grades one through eight and receive vital services such as healthcare and water, along with their families.

Additionally, the organization sponsors 125 students in secondary school and 30 in universities in Kenya and the United States through its Future Education Programme.

SHOFCO pioneered aerial water piping systems in Kibera to combat vandalism and theft of pipes, ending water contamination.

These pipes terminate at 57 water kiosks in Kibera and Mathare slums, serving over 200,000 residents daily.

The organization also supplies water to 47 schools and five health centres in Kibera and Lang’ata sub-counties for free.

The organization operates three Level 3 health centres in Kibera (2) and Mathare (1), serving over 600 patients daily.

“Our clinics were started from the idea that no one should die because of lack of healthcare. Our health centres treat people both within and outside of the slums,” Odede stated.

SHOFCO’s healthcare outreaches in Nairobi, Mombasa, Siaya, and Kakamega counties have reached 467,087 individuals as of 2023.

Through its Sustainable Livelihoods program, SHOFCO has reached 76,614 vulnerable women, training them in various skills such as tailoring, handicrafts, and other soft skills to support their economic empowerment.

As of 2023, SHOFCO had supported 15,000 gender-based violence survivors, running safe houses in Kibera and Mathare and helping victims get justice and empowerment.

SHOFCO Sacco provided loans worth Ksh 272 million in 2023, an 83 per cent increase from the Ksh 148 million disbursed in 2022.

Founded in 2015, the Sacco currently has 18,000 members and allows residents of informal settlements to access credit without collateral, provided they have savings as low as Ksh 1000.

At least 86 per cent of the Sacco’s members are women. Since its inception, SHOFCO Sacco has given out loans worth over Ksh 1 billion.

In 2022, SHOFCO’s community-driven change model became a benchmark for global NGOs following a case study by Bridgespan Group, which highlighted SHOFCO’s effective community-driven approaches and lasting impact.

SHOFCO continues to embody its commitment to transforming lives and creating sustainable, community-driven development in Kenya.

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