Kenyan NGO, SHOFCO (Shining Hope for Communities) was announced this week as this year’s recipient of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize. SHOFCO will be honored at this year’s Hilton Humanitarian Symposium and Prize Ceremony, which will take place at The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018.
Shofco is the first organization focusing on slums to be awarded the prestigious award and will receive $2 million in unrestricted funding—an amount greater than any one of the six Nobel Prizes.
Kibera is a sprawling slum in Nairobi with an estimated population of 170,000 to 1 million people—it is the largest slum in Africa. In Kibera, water is scarce, expensive and can often be contaminated. About two-fifths of Kenya’s 46 million people rely on unclean water sources, such as ponds, shallow wells, and rivers, particularly in rural areas and slums, the charity organization Water.org told to Reuters.
About SHOFCO (Shining Hope for Communities)
SHOFCO (Shining Hope for Communities) is a grassroots movement that catalyzes large-scale transformation in urban slums by providing critical services for all, community advocacy platforms, and education and leadership development for women and girls. Growing up in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa, SHOFCO’s founder Kennedy Odede experienced extreme poverty, violence, lack of opportunity, and deep gender inequality. Now, SHOFCO is focused on building solutions to urban poverty by addressing those core obstacles. For more information, please visit www.shofco.org.
I believe change can only come from the community itself. I started asking people I grew up with, what they would do if they could do anything? One day someone said they would put the [water] pipes in the air, says Kennedy Odede, who grew up in Kibera, and went on to found Shofco as an adult.
Shofco’s aerial water network consists of overhead pipes supported by wooden poles that connect to 10 water kiosks throughout Kibera, allowing clean water to flow through pipes in the air without fear of tampering by cartels who divert water to private vendors. Effectively, the new system cuts the price of a 20-liter jerry-can of potable water by 60%, from five Kenyan shillings to two. The design can be implemented quickly as it does not involve trench digging and underground pipe laying, Quartz Reports.
Shofco is not the first organization to try and improve water access in Kibera. So far, Shofco’s aerial piping system services reach over 11,000 people.
About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance use, helping young children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic Sisters. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.6 billion in grants, distributing $114.9 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2017. The Foundation’s current assets are approximately $2.8 billion. For more information, please visit www.hiltonfoundation.org.