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Standard Group CEO lauds life-changing projects

Standard Group CEO Sam Shollei looks on as a teacher at Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) helps a pupil during tour of the community-based project in  Kibera. (Photo: David Gichuru/Standard)

The Standard Group has promised to continue supporting worthwhile community-based initiatives aimed at changing people's lives.

Speaking during a tour of the Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) projects in Kibra, the group's CEO Sam Shollei noted that the project had changed the lives of many people in the slum.

Among Shofco's projects that Mr Shollei visited included education, health, micro-finance and youth leadership programmes.

Shofco was founded by a young couple, Ken and Jessica Odede, and has grown over the years to serve 120,000 residents through its various programmes.

Odede has won a number of international awards as well as the inaugural Transform Kenya Awards, which was spearheaded by the Standard Group.

Shofco's health facility, located in Gatwekera, gives primary care to about 650 people on a daily basis.

In 2015 alone, 277 people, mostly women and girls, were assisted at the gender development centre. Most cases stemmed from domestic violence, rape, defilement, physical assault and sodomy.

Odede said the organisation had changed the lives of many young people in the area by offering them opportunities to serve the community.

In fact not far from Shofco centre stands a library which was built after residents razed a bar and a brothel.

Shofco has a borehole in the heart of Kibra and a purifying plant which can clean 14,000 litres of water per hour.

"We are planning to start bottling water as a means of ensuring sustainability of the project," said Odede.

Shofco has a comprehensive system of registering members and can be used to track the services offered to the residents.

Mr Shollei said Shofco urban network is a success example that can be emulated as it has grown members savings from Sh2.5 million three years ago to Sh35 million this year.

Also present were staff from Riara University led by Prof Abel Kinoti, the dean School of Business, who said what Shofco is doing is a practical example of how livelihoods can be changed one step at a time.

He said Riara University was exploring ways of getting involved in the development of Kibra, which the lies in the neighbourhood of the institution.