Firm ranks local group among change agents

Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) Founder and CEO Kennedy Odede speaks during the official opening of the World Communities Forum at SHOFCO Mathare.[Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Bridgespan Group, a US-based nonprofit, has ranked a Kenyan community organisation among the world’s leading non-State actors driving positive change in slums and communities.

The firm, which is guiding the philanthropic choices of many US donors, featured Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) among the most impactful community groups.

“Shofco exemplifies a global model of community-led transformation that Bridgespan research identifies as the most ambitious, comprehensive, and integrated among over 10 such organizations worldwide,” it said.

Bridgespan Group is guiding the philanthropic choices of many leading donors, including MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Shofco, which employs over 800 people in 15 counties in Kenya with plans to expand to up to 30, was among four top organisations globally world that have experienced great success through ground-up, community-driven change that were sampled alongside Mumbai-based CORO and Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action and Ubuntu Pathways in South.

Founded in 2004 by Dr Kennedy Odede as a way of uplifting his community after growing up in poverty in Kibera slums, Shofco is impacted over 2.5 million slum dwellers in Kenya through various causes such as access to health, water, community advocacy platforms, education and leadership development for women and girls.

Shofco Urban Network (SUN), a grassroots movement that brings together individuals and households through social groups, is the key pillar of the organisation that ensures community-driven change is achieved.