Operations & Sponsorship Officer
Julia is the Operations & Sponsorship Officer at Shining Hope for Communities. A recent graduate of The Chapin School, one of SHOFCO’s partners, she is taking a gap year to work in our U.S. offices before heading off to the University of Chicago in the Fall of 2014. Julia spent her high school junior year abroad living in Beijing and traveling to the remotest parts of China through School Year Abroad (SYA), where she discovered a passion for learning about and experiencing cultures around the world. As president of her high school Model United Nations club, a politics writer for her school’s newspaper, and an active leader in Chapin’s Gay Straight Alliance, Julia works hard to foster equality in her school, local, national, and international communities.
Grants & Data Officer
Bea is the Grants & Data Officer based in SHOFCO’s U.S. headquarters in New York City. She obtained her Masters in International Political Economy and Development (IPED) from Fordham University in 2013. She recently traveled to Jerusalem as a Fordham International Peace and Development fellow to assist in the peacebuilding and food security programs of Catholic Relief Services in Palestine. After graduating from college with a degree in Applied Mathematics in 2009, Bea worked as a Jesuit Volunteer responsible for streamlining social welfare and advocacy programs for a small church-based NGO in the Philippines, and then as a data analyst at Citigroup. Fueled by the hope of building just and gender-equitable societies, Bea undertakes fundraising and data management to help SHOFCO grow and reach more vulnerable women and children.
Director of Community & Outreach
Lexi is Director of Community & Outreach at SHOFCO’s U.S. headquarters in New York City. In 2013 she graduated NYU’s Center for Global Affairs (CGA) with a Masters in International Development and a gender specialization. While at CGA, Lexi traveled to rural Kenya to investigate changing gender norms among the Massai. Her documentary, Warriors of Knowledge, reflects the challenges of a transforming traditional culture and champions education as a tool of empowerment for girls. Prior to her Masters, Lexi received a BA in International Relations and Spanish from the University of Virginia. Afterwards, while working in public health in Washington, DC, she volunteered in Haiti as an EMT to perform disaster recovery after the 2010 earthquake. Lexi’s idea of a vacation is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. She brings this tireless energy and passion for international development to support SHOFCO’s operations and vision.
Human Resources Manager
Edna is SHOFCO’s Human Resources Manager and is responsible for all Human Resource functions at SHOFCO. Her main areas of responsibility include employee relations, payroll management, employee records, recruitment and staffing, HRIS management, benefits & compensation, learning and development. She has a strong administrative background as well as excellent Human Resource Management skills. For Edna, working with and managing people is the most fulfilling aspect of her career. Working with SHOFCO has given her the opportunity to make a positive change in the lives of women and children. Edna hopes the change that SHOFCO has brought to Kibera will be felt in other parts of the country within the next few years.
Clinic Operations Manager
Caroline is the Clinic Operations Manager of the Johanna Justin-Jinich Community Clinic. This position means that Caroline oversees most aspects of the clinic and ensures that all is in order. She also works on HIV testing and counseling. She comes from Nyanza, a place with a high prevalence of HIV positive individuals and so feels strongly about working with this population. Caroline enjoys giving back to the community in this capacity. Caroline loves when she can tell somebody their HIV status and help them ‘live positively with being positive.’ Additionally, Caroline likes when she can solve conflicts within the clinic because this helps her get to know people better. Caroline finds joy outside of work in listening to gospel music, reading gospel books, traveling, and having fun with her children. She hopes to see the rate of HIV infection in Kibera reduce over the next two years. For SHOFCO, Caroline would love to see peer education surrounding reproductive and sexual health increase greatly, giving youth the knowledge to make better choices to allow them more opportunities in life..
In Kibera, George is a well-known and respected community organizer and activist. After graduating from high school, George continued to educate himself, despite his families’ inability to afford further education. He attended seminars in community health, organizing, and development. He has organized around issues of labor injustice, unemployment, and the government’s denial of services to the people of Kibera. In 2004, George began working with Kennedy Odede to help start a grassroots organization founded and run by the people of Kibera. George has since led slum-wide sanitation and anti-violence campaigns. In 2006 George founded Kibera’s own grass-roots security organization to protect and serve residents, as the police do not work inside the slum. George’s work has received widespread acclaim, even attracting the attention of Prime Minister Raila Odinga. George believes that the uplift of women is central to changing Kenyan society and the lives of all people in Kibera. He also believes that for such change to take place men and women must work together for equality, education, and justice. He lives in Kibera with his wife and two children.
Peter is Shining Hope’s Operations Manager; he oversees much of what goes on with the organization and makes sure that everything runs smoothly. Peter has a serious love for computers and technology and takes it upon himself to be Shining Hope’s resident IT tech. Peter started at Shining Hope as a youth coordinator and acted as the link between Kibera youth and Shining Hope management. Peter excelled in this leadership position and proved what an asset he is to the organization. Being the Operations Manager at Shining Hope is a dream come true for Peter, as he’s always wanted to work with computers. Peter obviously loves the electronic side of his job but also immensely enjoys working with the Kibera community. He hopes to see Shining Hope become one of the biggest organizations in Kibera, providing quality education and healthcare to the community at large. He would also love to see Kibera be able to offer its residents what’s available in the rest of the country: a healthy environment with good options for education.
Lydiah is the Finance Manager for Shining Hope. She received training through a Kenyan accounting course and is a CPA. Lydiah chose to pursue accounting because she loves working with figures and dealing with logic. Her favorite part of the job is balancing budgets and knowing that she has accounted for everything. Besides dealing with numbers, Lydiah enjoys music and playing games. She hopes for SHOFCO to become an international organization and hopes for the Kibera community to be in a position where they can sustain themselves and reduce their own poverty.
Vice President of Programs
After graduating from Bard College in 2006, Jordyn joined Do Something, a New York based national non-profit that inspires and supports young people changing the world. As Do Something’s Chief Program Officer she provided young people with the funds and training to start and grow their own community action projects and non-profit organizations managing the distribution over of 400 grants annually, including the Do Something Awards, a televised awards show on Vh1 (Jessica was the 2010 Do Something Award grand prize winner). In the fall of 2010 Jordyn left Do Something and traveled to East Africa to consult on metrics and evaluation and program development for several non-profit organizations, including Shining Hope. She currently divides her time between NYC, where she is pursing her MSW at Columbia and Kenya. Jordyn is managing the design and build out of our metrics and evaluation system, the development of our Kenyan operations and management systems and overseeing the continued development of the KSG curriculum.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Kennedy is an internationally recognized community organizer. Kennedy was born and lived for twenty-three of his twenty-six years in the Kibera slum, 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 & 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 also opened a community health clinic, built eco-friendly toilets, and currently operates a community center from which we run extensive community programming such as health care and education outreach, gardens, gender violence support groups, microenterprise for HIV positive women, literacy/computer training, and hundreds of jobs. Kennedy is a 2010 Echoing Green Fellow, won the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition, wrote an Op-Ed that appeared in the New York Times, and was recently honored by President Bill Clinton. He is a senior fellow with Humanity in Action and a senior at Wesleyan University. Kennedy is twenty-seven-years-old and speaks six languages, and is one of very few people from Kibera to ever attend an accredited four-year college.
What inspires you? What do you believe in?
“I believe that the world is a mirror. In the face of terrible injustice and inequality, we must reflect to the world the change that we would like to see. Whatever we do in this world will be reflected back to us, and so we must fight and fight hard for what is right. If the world is going to change, we must recognize that we must all play our parts. It is not sustainable to live in a world where 20% of the population consumes 80% of the world’s resources. I hope that one day no other child will have to suffer as I did and I believe that as a global community we must come together to make this possible. We must never give up. There were many times in my life that I was sure I would die, that there was no hope for me, but I never allowed myself to be daunted by the great odds I faced.”
Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer
Jessica is the co-founder of Shining Hope for Communities, a non-profit that combats extreme poverty and gender inequality in Kibera—Africa’s largest slum. Shining Hope runs the Kibera School for Girls—the slum’s first free school for girls, as well as a community health clinic, clean toilet initiative, youth and community education, and economic development initiatives. Jessica is a nationally recognized social entrepreneur and activist. She won the 2010 Do Something Award and was named “America’s top-world changer 25 and under” live on VH1. Jessica also received the prestigious Echoing Green Fellowship. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University in May 2009 with honors in African-American Studies. She is twenty-four-years-old and fluent in Swahili.
What inspires you? What do you believe in?
“Kennedy always inspires me because he fought against all odds to create remarkable change in both his community and his own life. I am always moved to action by the resilience of our students and community members who face daunting odds, but hang on to their dreams of a better life. I will never forget August 18th, 2009: the day we dedicated the Kibera School for Girls, along with the community, demonstrating a collective belief in the power of hope. I believe strongly in always cultivating awareness of the challenges in your path. Then, I believe in moving forward not in spite of, but because of these great challenges. Things happen when we keep going while everyone around us tells us to give up. I think there is magic in what others might call crazy, that there is always the possibility for rupture when we dive in headfirst, and don’t look back.”