Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) has rolled out a program to empower women and youth in Nairobi County in the next one year.
Announcing the program on Saturday, September 9, SHOFCO Founder and CEO Dr. Kennedy Odede said 20,000 youth will be enrolled in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions around the city and 50, 000 women will benefit from business training and grants.
“We want to address unemployment which has really affected our youth. We are going to enrol them in TVETs so that they can acquire skills which they can use to earn a living.
“Women are also suffering due to lack of income. We know they are very entrepreneurial and they just need to be supported. Under our women empowerment program, we are going to train 50,000 women in the next year and provide them with grants to start their businesses,” Dr Odede said at Bomas of Kenya where he presided over the Shofco Urban Network (SUN) election that brought together 4000 delegates.
SUN is a grassroots movement that brings together individuals and households through social groups and is the key pillar of the organisation that ensures community-driven change is achieved.
Under SUN, community members are given a chance to elect their leaders who can represent them from the ward to the national level.
“Governance must start from the bottom. The community members must be given a chance to elect their own leaders who are not politicians, the people who can really represent their interests.
“We want community leaders who can petition the government, and the private sector and identify problems that need to be given priority in their areas,” he said.
There are over two million SUN members in Kenya.
On her part, Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris lauded SHOFCO’s commitment to address challenges facing slum residents.
“I have seen what SHOFCO has done in Kibera. I have visited women’s safe houses in Kibera and Mathare slums and witnessed what the organisation is doing for vulnerable women.”
“Their aerial water piping system is a game changer and has provided water to many residents of Kibera. What I can tell Kennedy, is, just to continue doing good work across Kenya,” Passaris, who was the guest at the SUN election, said.
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja, who sent an apology for missing the event, supported SUN members with Ksh1 million to be deposited to SHOFCO Sacco account.
Pasaris also pledged Ksh1 million to SUN members to be channelled to the Sacco account to enable members to increase their savings.
The youth program is part of SHOFCO’s 5-year plan to reach 2.2 million youth across the country in the next five years.
The launch of the program in Nairobi comes a month after the same was rolled out in Kisumu County where the organisation is targeting to enrol 20,000 young people to TVET institutions in the next one year.
SUN has worked closely with the slum population in bringing change to the community through the provision of critical services such as education, health, counselling and food distribution while assisting the local administration in issues such as addressing Gender-Based Violence (GBV), Nyumba Kumi Initiative, National Census and Covid-19 pandemic.
Odede champions community-led change that is premised on uplifting the lives of slum dwellers.
“We can no longer afford to live in a world of aid workers and beneficiaries. We must recognise the talents that exist in marginalised communities and unlock this potential to drive durable social change,” Dr Odede said in a past forum.
SHOFCO has a cutting-edge water treatment facility in the slums that can pump up to 300,000 litres of water at a time, two tuition-free schools for girls in Kibera and Mathare plus seven clinics attending to over 600 patients a day at near-zero cost.