We are pleased to announce the inclusion of social entrepreneur and New York Times best-seller, Kennedy Odede, in this year’s DRC Global Forum on Local Innovation in Displacement Contexts.
Odede is one of Africa’s best-known community organizers and social entrepreneurs. Growing up in Nairobi’s Kibera slum, he experienced the realities of extreme poverty from an early age. Driven and inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of the Kibera community, Odede saved 20 cents a day to buy a single soccer ball in 2014. With this ball he began an extraordinary journey and took the first steps in founding Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO).
Today SHOFCO has grown into the nation’s largest grassroots movement, tending to 2,4 million people living in urban slums across 50 sites in Kenya. SHOFCO is on the front lines of the COVID-19 response in Kenya’s urban settlements, delivering health care, WASH, food relief, and economic stability at scale. In 2018, SHOFCO became the youngest-ever organization to receive the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest humanitarian prize awarded to non-profits that have made extraordinary contributions to alleviate human suffering. Three years later Odede’s organisation won the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour. The prize was awarded for
"Being a leading example of a community-led change to eradicate extreme poverty in Kenya’s urban slums."
Odede accomplishments are furthered by being named to FORBES' “30 under 30” for social entrepreneurs in 2014 and winning the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Prize in 2014. He served on the United Nations International Commission on Financing of Global Education Opportunities In addition, he is a Young Global Leader (YGL) at the World Economic Forum, an Obama Foundation Africa Leader, a UBS Global Visionary, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council, and a 2022 Schwab Foundation Social Innovator of the Year.
In recent years, Odede has contributed to the literature on urban poverty in the New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, and Project Syndicate. His work has been featured by President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and on multiple occasions by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times. Last, but certainly not least, Odede has co-written, with his wife, the New York Times best-seller Find Me Unafraid: Love, Hope and Loss in an African Slum.
It is truly an honour to have Kennedy Odede join us on the main stage, and contribute to the discussion on localization, empowerment and innovation.