kibera

Kibera School For Girls shofco.org

Kennedy Odede grew up in Kibera, one of Kenya’s — and Africa’s — largest urban slums. In this supposedly hopeless environment, he said, people are turning the thinnest threads of opportunity into hope for those around them.

People like him, the CEO of Shining Hope For Communities (SHOFCO), which works to combat gender inequality and extreme poverty in urban slums by linking tuition-free schools for girls to holistic social services.

Odede is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative community, whose members include CEOs of the world’s largest companies, leading foundations, government representatives, and prominent philanthropists.

From CNN. Story by Kennedy Odede.

Perhaps the most encouraging trend in Africa today is the growing role of women and girls in economic and social development. As Chelsea Clinton mentioned during her tour of Clinton Foundation projects last week with former President Bill Clinton, girls have nearly achieved parity with boys in primary schools worldwide.

In Kenya, girls actually outnumber boys in primary schools, although that progress isn’t sustained at later ages.

This is especially important to me as my organization, Shining Hope For Communities (SHOFCO), works to combat gender inequality. I will never cease to be inspired by the parents at our school who volunteer five weeks per year in exchange for their daughter’s free education. They believe, as I do, that with education, their daughter will not only improve her life, but she can change the lives in our community and beyond.

It’s also heartening that Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the world’s hotbeds of female entrepreneurial activity. In Uganda and Namibia, almost equal numbers of women and men are starting businesses. Leaders like James Mwangi of Equity Bank, alongside partners like the Mastercard Foundation, are making such commitments to continued and quality education real, proving change is possible.

Meanwhile, progress has been made in government, too. In fact, women are better represented in African legislatures than they are in many Western nations.

While we should all remember that there is still much work to be done to achieve gender equality, there is much reason to believe that across Africa, women are better poised to lead than ever before.

Source: African Insider