Nairobi News


All about Shofco CEO Kennedy Odede’s meeting with US Senator Elizabeth Warren

February 23rd, 2024 2 min read

What would you talk about if presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet with a powerful political personality from the world’s most powerful nation?

Well, for Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) CEO and founder Dr Kennedy Odede it was all bout the small talk when he recently met with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

According to Dr Odede, one subject that was at the center of their discussion was his first name Kennedy, which he shares with the 35th president of the United States of America, the late John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who was simply known as J.F. Kennedy.

Dr Odede, who shared pictures of his meeting with Senator Warren in Boston, said he has always admired the Senator.

“It’s good to be in Boston, and meeting the senator. We spoke about Kenya, and stories of my namesake J.F. Kennedy. At the Senate, she sits on the same chair that President Kennedy sat on,” Dr Odede said.

Assassinated in office

Dr Odede is on record for stating that his mother named him after the American president who was assassinated in 1963 while in office.

“I was named Odede, which means ‘after the drought’. I was also named Kennedy after America’s President John F. Kennedy whose airlifting programme with Tom Mboya took many bright young Kenyans to study in the US,” Dr Odede once wrote on his Facebook page.

In the run up to the 2020 US Presidential election, Senator Warren was among the top four Vice Presidential choices for the then Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, along with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Representative Val Demings, and Senator Kamala Harris.

Biden eventually settled on Senator Harris and went on to trounce then President Donald Trump, to become the 46th president of the US.

Born and raised in Kibera, Dr Odede experienced poverty and hardship firsthand.

Limited opportunities

Despite facing numerous challenges, including violence, lack of access to education, and limited opportunities, he managed to overcome these obstacles and pursue his dreams.

In 2004, he founded Shofco, a grassroots movement that aims to eradicate poverty and inequality by providing essential services such as education, healthcare, and clean water to slum residents across Kenya.

The organisation also focuses on community organising, women’s empowerment, and advocacy for social justice.

Shofco is currently operating in more than 33 counties in Kenya, impacting over three million lives.

In 2018 Shofco became the youngest-ever organisation to receive the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest humanitarian prize awarded to non-profit organisations that have made extraordinary contributions to alleviate human suffering.