Shofco CEO wins prestigious award at World Economic Forum

Kennedy Odede

Shining Hope for Communities CEO and co-founder Kennedy Odede.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Dr Kennedy Odede to join several world leaders at the World Economic Forum.
  • Shofco founder has been a champion of economic empowerment of the poor.

Renowned social entrepreneur Dr Kennedy Odede has been invited to speak at the 2022 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.  

Dr Odede has also been honoured by being named the recipient of the 2022 Social Innovator of the Year by the prestigious Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. He will receive the award at the World Economic Forum next week.  

The forum will feature heads of state and government, global CEOs and other leaders. They will discuss the critical challenges facing the world today and present their ideas on how to address them.

Dr Odede, who is the Founder and CEO of Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco), will join world leaders among them India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, UN Secretary General António Guterres and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. 

Others set to attend the forum include Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister of Israel and Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China and Marc Benioff CEO & Founder of Salesforce.

Dr Odede’s invitation comes at a time when his organization has won UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour 2021 award. 

“I’m honoured to join world leaders in Davos 2022. This year’s theme which is ‘Working Together to Regain Trust’ comes at a time when we are pushing for decolonisation of the aid system. What other place best to discuss this if not in Davos?,” Odede said.

This is the second time Dr Odede is attending the World Economic Forum, the first time being in 2020. 

A graduate of the Wesleyan University in the United States, Dr Odede has been a champion of economic empowerment of the poor.

“When I attended WEF, I could not hear the voices of the poor. We need Davos for the poor if we are serious about solving their problems. We must value local knowledge and community-based solutions,” he said. 

After attending WEF, he started a forum for the poor, especially in slum areas, to voice their issues. In March 2021, he launched the World Communities Forum in Nairobi that brought together top leaders across the globe. 

The chief guest was Samantha Power, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development. 

“We need to bring more local leaders to the table. I want to see Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) being discussed in the slums. That is why we launched Global Alliance for Communities that brings together leaders across the globe who are working to better the lives of poor people especially in slums,” he said. 

“For us to have meaningful transformation in the communities, we need to involve local actors as partners. It is about dignity; we need to respect people who have lived the experience,” he added. 

The Global Alliance for Communities, an initiative of Shofco, is a coalition of more than 150 leaders across the globe, which aims to bring a community-based perspective to the global development agenda. 

This year’s WEF will be held between May 22 to May 26 and will be attended by participants from 42 countries across the globe. 

Dr Odede’s organisation serves 2.4 million people and offers services like free education, free health care services, GBV response and prevention, women empowerment and community Sacco.

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