Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) is a grassroots movement based in Nairobi, Kenya, in urban slums providing services, community advocacy platforms, and education and leadership development for women and girls. SHOFCO serves more than 350,000 urban slum dwellers in 10 slums across three cities in Kenya.
The organization currently operates in 10 slums across Kenya: Kibera, Mathare, Mukuru, Korogocho, and Kawangware, in Nairobi; Bangladesh, Mashimoroni, and Maweni in Mombasa; and Obunga and Nyalenda in Kisumu. Most of their work in these areas is based on the SHOFCO Urban Network (SUN), which is the primary driver of new growth for SHOFCO in these slums.
SHOFCO was founded by Kennedy Odede, a Kenyan, who grew up in extreme poverty, witnessed violence, deep gender equality and scarcity of opportunity. He founded the organization in 2004 with just 20 cents and a soccer ball. The founder was inspired by icons like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Marcus Garvey, and women like his mother who suffered persistent abuse but remained strong and focused.
Kennedy believed and recognized that people from the slum wanted something different for themselves. Something different from what they are used to.
The organization has amazing arrays of programs catering to the needs of the communities they serve.
The SHOFCO Health Program: This program provides slum dwellers with access to healthcare. Services provided in these clinics include primary health and preventative care, pre and postpartum care, child immunizations, comprehensive HIV care, family planning, cervical cancer screening, gender-based violence response, and child nutrition. In 2018, six SHOFCO clinics were operational – five spread across the densely populated Kibera and one in Mathare. SHOFCO reached 289,258 clients, including providing malnutrition screening for 12,874 children and enrolling 850 of these in their malnutrition programme, as well as fully vaccinating 91.9% of children who attended their clinics against diseases.
The SHOFCO Sustainable Livelihoods program: SHOFCO has been able to provide more than 4,807 beneficiaries with employability, entrepreneurship, and business training, placing 672 youths with internships with 222 employers and training 2,014 with job readiness skills. The program placed young people in the following sectors: non-profit, hospitality, education, information and communication technology, retail, beauty, and fashion design. To enhance the youths’ information technology skills, the program also trained 913 youth from both Kibera and Mathare on basic computer literacy skills and programs.
SHOFCO Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Program: The organization operates 24 water kiosks across Kibera. 23 of the kiosks now have cashless payment systems, which work to challenge and undermine the water cartels previously operating in the area to provide clean and affordable water for the community. These water kiosks provided 19,979 individuals with water for themselves and their families. A total of 2,207,420 litres of water were distributed throughout the community.
Gender Based Violence Program: The organization is raising awareness and addressing sexual and gender based violence cases (SGBV) in four urban slums: Kibera, Mathare, Mukuru (Nairobi) and Bangladesh (Mombasa). More than 20,000 households were reached with services including information on SGBV prevention, response initiatives, and legal support and referrals. SHOFCO’s SGBV team handled 1,210 cases, including sexual gender-based violence, domestic violence, and child abuse. 514 cases were successfully handled and closed. 103 SGBV clients were provided with temporary safe house accommodations. 11 cases were reported and taken to court, with all perpetrators sentenced to life in prison.
The SHOFCO Urban Network (SUN) Program: The SHOFCO Urban Network (SUN) has reached over 75,240 community members. SUN continued to facilitate community groups and peer-to-peer savings networks to create an entrepreneurial investment fund for businesses, and micro-life insurance to mitigate the risks of unexpected death that can devastate family finances. SUN also united 801 social welfare groups, issued scholarships to 64 secondary school students and memberships to SUN SACCO membership rose to 1,500 actively saving members, with loans worth KSh 22.3 million (USD $223,000) issued.
Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) continues to develop and implement strategic programs that are responding to the issues faced by the population they serve. The organization’s unique local approach to the issue is astounding and directly addressing root causes of inequality faced in the communities they serve.
Original content authored by Philanthropy Circuit.