Top Most Inspiring Kenyans In The Nonprofit Sector
C.S Lewis once famously said: hardships prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destinies.
In these uncertain times, hardships abound for all of us, which is why today we’ve put together a (by no means exhaustive) list on some of the most inspiring Kenyans in the nonprofit sector who have changed their communities with their passion and experiences, to uplift some spirits.
As a digital marketing agency based in Kenya, we are constantly on the lookout for engaging people and trends in Africa – so that we can bring the best of it to you. And the entrepreneurs and visionaries listed below are a part of this process.
- Juliana Rotich
An information technology professional, Rotich is co-founder and ex-executive director of Ushahidi, the nonprofit tech company that develops free and open-source software for data curation, information mapping and collection. She spearheaded the organisation into being translated into 30+ languages and a 20 million population reach.
A strategic advisor and keynote speaker, Rotich is also executive director of the nonprofit BRCK.org, which provides reliable technology to the fringes of society, as well as an advocate for literacy and Internet access for all.
Image Source: University News
As an advisor, Rotich serves the BASF council, Microsoft 4Afrika, Risk Cooperative, Waabeh Ltd., and the Lemelson Foundation.
- Luke Jakoywa
This is the Founder and Director of the Sheepcare Community. Started in Nairobi in 2002, Jakoywa’s eye-opening encounter with his neighbourhood’s children suffering HIV/AIDS promoted him to create this organisation.
The Sheepcare Community’s mission is to “touch the lives of the poor people, especially children” to get access to quality, education, healthcare, sanitation, etc.
Image Source: Sheepcare Community Center
Jakoywa shared five steps nonprofit leaders can take to ensure crowdfunding success:
- Gaining support from within the organisation
- Creating a list of potential donors
- Developing an outreach plan
- Building a donor community
- Sharing powerful messaging
- Judith Owigar
A visionary technopreneur, Owigar has founded the JuaKali Workforce and Akirachix. With an aim to upskill women into technology to develop innovations for Africa. Akirachix is a nonprofit organisation that gives women technological and entrepreneurial skills, empowers them financially, and enables them to service and lead their communities.
Image Source: GroundBreakers Medium
“My inspiration was seeing more women represented in the field of technology (STEM).” – Judith Owigar
- Fred Ndavi
Raised in a community subject to poverty and educational hardships, Ndavi acquired his MBA degree in International Business and went on to be the founder and executive director of Inspire Spaces, a nonprofit focused on education in Kenya.
The nonprofit looks for bright children from vulnerable backgrounds who are ready to go into high school, but are unable to afford it. Ndavi says: “This is where Inspire Spaces steps in to not only provide educational scholarships, but to mentor and invest in the leadership of the students.”
Through Inspire Spaces, Kenyan students are provided with resources to further their education through scholarship opportunities, training, and mentoring programs.
Image Source: The Kenyan
“I arrived in the U.S. with twenty dollars in my pocket, so I know what it means to come with nothing and what it means to come from nothing. I wanted to make sure that it didn’t stop there for me. I wanted to give opportunity to other people.” – Fred Ndavi.
You can even check out his entire interview on Inspire Spaces here.
- Wangari Maathai
“It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference.” – Wangari Maathai
Born in Nyeri in 1940, Maathai was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree (as well as many subsequent degrees). Chairperson of the National Council of Women of Kenya and creator of the Green Belt Movement, Maathai is internationally recognised for her struggle in democracy, human rights and environmental conservation.
Maathai is the recipient of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her Green Belt movement, as well as numerous other awards, publications, honorary doctoral degrees, and is listed on UNEP’s Global 500 Hall of Fame.
Image Source: Women’s Center
Having served on the boards of several organisations (including Green Cross International, the Jane Goodall Institute, and the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament), Maathai was elected to Parliament in 2002 and appointed as Assistant Minister for Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife.
- Kennedy Odede
Social entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling-author and co-founder of the Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco), Odede’s nonprofit organisation won the 2018 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian prize – set to receive USD 2 million in unrestricted funding.
Shofco has many programs focused around transforming slums in Kenya (focusing on Kibera, where Odede was born), from healthcare, sanitation, water, and education to economic empowerment for women. Water in Kibera is often scarce and contaminated. When Odede asked people he grew up with what they would do if they could do anything, the answer was: putting (water) pipes in the air. And Shofco did it.
The aerial water network is overhead water pipes supported by wooden poles, allowing the flow of clean water without fear of tampering by cartels who might divert the flow to private vendors. Odede says that Kibera’s residents use a cashless system to access the water due to their collaboration with telecom company Safaricom and M-Pesa, the mobile money platform.
Image Source: My Hero
“I believe change can only come from the community itself.” – Kennedy Odede.
Shofco’s eventual goal is to provide potable water to 84000 people in Kibera through these aerial pipes.
Inspired yet? We are.
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