How Akothee's philanthropy is changing lives

Turkana University College staff join Akothee (right) in distributing food in Turkana County.

Photo credit: Photo I Pool

What you need to know:

  • Singer's book, Akothee Sibuor Madhako Quotes, covers projects in Turkana and Migori counties.
  • Through her foundation, she partners with different organisations to support the needy in society.

Esther Akoth Kokeyo, known by her stage name Akothee, is a musician, entrepreneur and founder of tour company Akothee Safaris. She also owns real estate firm Akothee Homes, marketing agency Aknotela and Akothee Foundation.

Her passion for societal refinement has been steadfast and unrelenting, profoundly changing many lives in the process. Her talent has crystallised into service to the needy in her home town of Rongo in Migori County, and Turkana County.

In 2019, a persistent wave of drought in Turkana County hampered production of milk and beef – residents’ staples and source of income. Akothee initiated the Turkana Rescue Drive, and expedited the humanitarian cause to save lives.

Through Akothee Foundation, in collaboration with Unga Limited and Silverstone Air, she identified five villages that gravely needed urgent nutritional assistance. They were Nandoket, Engol, Nakoret, Kangarise and Napetet.

She channelled funds into supporting residents, ferrying truckloads of foodstuffs and other products through Lodwar to the affected areas. By the time Covid-19 broke out in Kenya in April 2020, the foundation had been buying and donating maize flour, cooking oil, sugar, rice, beans, green grams and porridge flour to support over 1,800 families.

The foundation also donated water tanks of different sizes. By extension, Akothee helped install sanitation facilities in the five villages. In Napetet, the foundation learnt that over 300 people were living with HIV/Aids. They informed Akothee that before her food distribution drive, they avoided antiretrovirals because the drugs would trigger excruciating stomach pains due to malnutrition. They preferred to await their death than use the medication.

Through her charity network, Akothee has relentlessly raised funds and channelled them to the destitute in society. In Rongo, her foundation has been building water reservoirs and sinking boreholes.

In her book, Akothee Sibuor Madhako Quotes, she provides positive affirmations that give her the courage to focus on her goals and overcome a barrage of obstacles. Using her own resources and joint efforts, she has been able to support and inspire penurious villages.

Singer Akothee's book, Akothee Sibuor Madhako Quotes.

Photo credit: Photo I Pool

Another of Akothee's plans is to build a dispensary to improve healthcare in Rongo, a town with four inadequately maintained dispensaries – Rakwaro, Kochola, Kitere and Ndege Oriedo. She's raising funds for its construction, alongside that of a cultural centre.

The cultural centre will help schoolchildren and the local community to harness, diversify and expose their music, poetry and drama talents. Akothee's generosity was motivated by the high number of rural children walking for over two kilometres to and from school.

She initially sponsored over 300 students from underprivileged families through high school and tertiary education. With many children unable to afford basic education, she later launched a bursary fund under her foundation to facilitate education for more children.

In 2022, the bursary idea birthed a more ambitious project. She acquired land for construction of a primary school – the first phase of a programme by her foundation to build schools in rural Migori County for destitute children, complete with dining halls, where beneficiaries would take breakfast and lunch.

She further intends to build a wing consisting of an exquisitely furnished library, which, among other things, will have books on the arts, content creation and inspiration. A section will be for music and drama classes.

Athi Steel Plant Limited and Kenya Pipes and Fittings Company have been donating building materials for construction of the first phase of the school project.

In an effort to inspire children to stay in school, her foundation has also collaborated with Rosy Tissue to donate sanitary products and toiletries to schools around Rongo town, eradicate period poverty and promote menstrual hygiene.

She has also started a campaign that donates shoes to boys and girls to restore the dignity of children and motivate them to find inspiration in the arts and sporting careers, besides their academic work.

Akothee’s desire to do all this is further inspired by her childhood experience. Her education ended prematurely and she became a victim of child marriage at the age of 14.

The writer is a novelist, a Big Brother Africa 2 Kenyan representative and founder of Jeff's Fitness Centre (@jeffbigbrother).