Act now to alleviate suffering, donors urged at Clinton-led forum

Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) CEO Kennedy Odede. [Silas,Otieno, Standard]

Donors have been urged to fund community-led organisations in developing countries to support the realisation of the UN sustainable development goals.

Speaking at this year's Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Monday, none-State actors said empowering grassroots organisations would have an instant impact on vulnerable populations.

Leaders of NGOs and philanthropic organisations, leaders in business, labour and finance, influential youth advocates and grassroots activists, Heads of State and other global change agents urged donors to explore effective models for making lasting positive change.

The event was attended by Mayor of New York City Eric Adams, World Trade Organisation Director General Ngozi Iweala, World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Melinda Gates and New York Governor Kathy Hochul.

Former US President Bill Clinton opened the forum in which Heads of State and governments including Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley and Moldova President Maia Sandu, called for enhanced partnerships in empowering the poor in the wake of economic challenges.

Addressing the meeting, Kenya's Kennedy Odede, the CEO of Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco), urged donors and world leaders to prioritise funding to community-led organisations. He said local communities should be trusted to solve their own problems.

"Today, my call to action is, fund local grassroots organisations. That is how they will achieve sustainable and long-term impact. Let us be honest; we are not the answer! We must trust people to solve their own problems. Give power to the people," he told the more than 1,000 CGI participants.

Clinton said Dr Odede work with communities in Kenya, especially in the urban slums, had transformed lives. "Dr Odede has made a difference from almost the beginning of his very young life," President Clinton said.

The Shofco boss credited President Clinton for believing in him and supporting his efforts in Kenya. Odede founded Shofco in 2004 in Kibera, Nairobi and has now spread to 16 counties across Kenya serving 2.5 million people. He sits at USAID advisory board.

"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," Odede said.