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Kennedy Odede


Kennedy Odede is an internationally recognized community organizer and social entrepreneur. He was born and raised in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. As the oldest of eight children, he assumed responsibility for his family at the age of ten. The first time Kennedy ever had extra money—20 cents in 2004—he bought a soccer ball and started Shining Hope for Communities. As President and CEO of Shining Hope, Kennedy started The Kibera School for Girls, the slum’s first tuition free school for girls. Under Kennedy’s leadership, Shining Hope has gone on to open and run a community health clinic, has built eco-friendly toilets, and operates a community center from which the organization runs extensive community programming such as health care and education outreach, gardens, gender violence support groups, microenterprise and entrepreneurship, literacy/computer training and the creation of hundreds of jobs. Kennedy was awarded the 2010 Echoing Green Fellowship, which is awarded to the world’s best emerging social entrepreneurs. He won the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition, wrote an Op-Ed that appeared in the New York Times, and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. Kennedy speaks six languages, and is one of very few people from Kibera to ever attend an accredited four-year college—Wesleyan University—from which he recently graduated. Kennedy is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow and has been featured on CNN and NBC Nightly News.


Updated October 2012

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