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Celebrating Kenyans who made impact in 2018

As we mark the  beginning of a New Year, we remember people, whose kind deeds last year  had a positive ripple effect on the community

Evelyn Makena @evemake_ g

young man relentlessly fighting poverty and gender inequality in slums and a lady running a football club that empowers girls in North Eastern; these are just two charitable Kenyans that are helping tackle local problems and inspiring change in the society.

The dedication and sacrifice of these individuals has illuminated hope in their communities and impacted lives in a way that made them stand out in 2018.

Kennedy Odede

Shining Hope For Communities (Shofco), a charity organisation started by Kennedy Odede in 2004 in Kibera has been improving the lives of people living in slums by giving them access to crucial social amenities. What started as an initiative to change the narrative of hopelessness in Kibera where he grew up has grown to impact on over 220,000 people in six slums countrywide.

Shofco runs programmes to provide clean water, promote education, improve healthcare and empower women. Last year, his organisation became the 23rd recipient of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Humanitarian Prize, one of the largest humanitarian awards in the world.

Nice Nailantei.

The award came with a cash prize of Sh204m that Shofco will use to expand their programmes to other parts of the world. Odede runs the organisation with his wife Jessica Posner.

Douglas Mwangi

Just like many other children growing up in Mathare slums, life for Douglas Mwangi was a struggle for survival. He had to contend with lack of food, decent shelter, access to education and insecurity.

But through Oasis Mathare, an organisation he founded in 2013, Douglas is slowly changing the economic landscape of the informal settlement and giving hope to its residents by fighting illiteracy and poverty. The community centre has been transforming lives of young people, by offering access to learning facilities and entrepreneurial training to unemployed youths.

The efforts of the 28-year-old earned him the 2018 queen’s young leaders, award which recognises exceptional young people aged 18-29 from commonwealth countries who are making outstanding contribution to their communities.

Fatuma Adan

The founder and executive director of Horn of Africa Development Initiative (Hodi) has put tireless efforts to ensure that peace prevails in her conflict prone home, Marsabit County. During the conflicts fueled by ethnic rivalries, women and girls were the ones adversely affected.

It’s while trying to find a solution to diffuse the recurrent tensions and instability that Fatuma established Hodi, an initiative that uses football to foster peace.

She uses the game as a platform to advocate for education, gender equality and fighting ethnic rivalry. Hodi received Fifa’s diversity award 2018 for their efforts in promoting diversity and using football to break social barriers.

Nice Nailantei Len’gete

Nice managed to escape female genital mutilation(FGM), ritualised in her culture as a rite of passage. In her adulthood, Nice took a bold step and negotiated with village elders to have alternative rites of passage for girls. She managed to convince the elders and morans to abandon the practice.

Through her work as a project officer at Amref Health Africa, she has helped save 15,000 girls from FGM and early marriage. Nice emerged as the only Kenyan to be named in the prestigious Times list of 100 most influential people, 2018 for her work in raising awareness on FGM.

Wawira Njiru

Among the many reasons children miss school is lack of food. Food 4 Education was Wawira’s ambitious endeavor to ensure that children did not miss school due to hunger.

The organisation feeds over 1,200 school going children in Ruiru every day. Since the organisation was started in 2012, it has provided over 120,000 meals and improved children’s performance and attendance. Wawira was honoured with the 2018 Global Citizen prize for youth leadership.

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