Founded in 2004 by Kennedy Odede, the grassroots organization works to catalyze large-scale transformation in urban slums by providing critical services, community advocacy platforms, and education and leadership development for women and girls. Growing up in Kibera — one of the largest slums in Africa — Odede saw firsthand the consequences of living in informal urban settlements and sought to transform his community by working with his neighbors to advance demand-driven community-led efforts. In 2007, Odede met Jessica Posner, then an American student studying abroad, and they collaborated on what became SHOFCO's model — which includes programs focused on health care and the sustainable delivery of clean water and today reaches more than two hundred and twenty thousand people in six Kenyan slums.
"The jury's selection of SHOFCO to receive the 2018 Hilton Humanitarian Prize really speaks to the power of local actors and signals a nod to the next generation of humanitarian and development leaders," said Hilton Foundation president and CEO Peter Laugharn. "SHOFCO is a remarkable example of citizen-led change, created by people living in very challenging conditions. As Africa and the world urbanize and more informal settlements are created, SHOFCO provides an inspiring example of local creativity and solutions."
"We are thrilled and honored to receive the 2018 Hilton Humanitarian Prize," said Odede. "We will use this tremendous opportunity to start an endowment to ensure the long-term financial health and sustainable growth of our work. This will allow SHOFCO to remain driven by community needs and leadership, not donor demands, now and in the future. The endowment will strengthen our work in partnership with community leaders and help us expand our investments to transform urban slums."
(Photo credit: Audrey Hall)