President Ruto meets with Shofco founder Odede at State House, discuss slum upgrading

President Ruto meets with Shofco founder Odede at State House, discuss slum upgrading

President William Ruto, with Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Kennedy Odede and his wife Jessica Posner Odede at State House, Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY

  • Dr. Odede, who was accompanied by his wife Jessica Posner Odede, discussed their experiences working with the community in Kibera and how to best roll out slum upgrading project that will see up to 4054 houses being constructed in phase one.
  • The meeting on Monday came a day before the President visited Kibera’s Soweto B area on Tuesday where he presided over the groundbreaking of the project.

Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Kennedy Odede met President William Ruto at State House and discussed slum upgrading program being spearheaded by the Head of State.

Dr. Odede, who was accompanied by his wife Jessica Posner Odede, discussed their experiences working with the community in Kibera and how to best roll out slum upgrading project that will see up to 4054 houses being constructed in phase one.

The meeting came ahead of the President's visit to Kibera’s Soweto B area where he presided over the groundbreaking of the project.

“For the first time, Kenya has a President who embraces the narrative of those at the bottom of the pyramid, the story of millions of Kenyans, as his own. I have never been more optimistic that finally, our plight will be heard.  In 10 years, the urban slums of Kenya could be a story of the past,” Dr. Odede said.

In the meeting, the Shofco founder advocated for full involvement of the Kibera community in the project that he said should come along with improved infrastructure.

“We advised the President to adopt a phased approach to creating change in informal settlements. To prioritise immediate progress while planning for long-term change. To those living without water, sewage, or services, to be given dignity.

“To support the entrepreneurial strengths of our communities, while taking action to address housing, basic infrastructure, provide education, support healthcare, and solve young people’s issues,” he added.

The State House meeting was also attended by the Council of Governors (CoG) Chairperson and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru whom Dr. Odede said is instrumental in reaching out to other governors since Shofco works in slums in 24 counties countrywide.

Speaking on Tuesday during the launch of the proposed Kibera Soweto East Zone B Social Housing Project, the President said that such projects will hasten slum upgrading in the country.

The President noted that the Kibera Soweto B will construct 4,054 units. “We want all Kenyans to live a dignified life,” he said.

Dr. Odede founded Shofco in 2004 in Kibera and it has now spread across Kenya impacting over three million people directly through various causes such access to health, water, community advocacy platforms, education and leadership development for women and girls.

The organization provides critical services at the grassroots level and was cited by the Bridgespan Group as a model for other NGOs globally.

In their study, Bridgespan concluded that Shofco’s model of community-driven change has achieved impact that lasts because the community feels a sense of ownership.

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President William Ruto Kennedy Odede

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