“We are honored to recognize the inaugural class of 2023 TIME100 Impact Awards Africa honorees for their remarkable accomplishments,” said TIME Chief Executive Jessica Sibley.
The awards, featuring prominent figures, are set to take place at the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda on November 17.
Kennedy Odede speaking to a group of people
“TIME is excited to bring the Impact Awards to Rwanda for the first time with the support of our partners at Visit Rwanda.”
Among the other nominees for the award include UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Danai Gurira, author, actress, and social justice humanitarian Ashley Judd, and choreographer Sherrie Silver Foundation founder and United Nations’ IFAD Advocate for Rural Youth Sherrie Silver.
Former President of the Republic of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and African Leadership Group founder Fred Swaniker will also be awarded.
Born and bred in the Kibra slums, Nairobi, Odede, who is the eldest in a family of eight children, revealed that extreme poverty and violence forced him into street life.
At the tender age of ten, Odede resolved to street life, where he met fellow street urchins who introduced him to a street gang.
However, through the aid of well-wishers, Odede later reformed, and from the experience, having seen the struggle of slum dwellers in accessing clean water, Odede put the provision of this basic commodity on top of his wish list and thus founded SHOFCO.
“We used to walk several kilometers to get water and most of the time, we would suffer water-borne diseases because the water we got was contaminated due to the underground pipes getting mixed up with raw sewage,” Odede told CNN in one of his interviews.
Odede’s organization has also upheld women’s education, where he founded two tuition-free schools for girls in Kibera and Mathare slums.
SHOFCO has also established seven clinics in the slums and further initiated a savings and Credit Cooperative Society (Sacco), which draws its over 17000 members from Kibera, Mathare, Kawangware, as well as slums in Mombasa, Kisumu, and Kakamega.