SHOFCO Summer Institute

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 2.28.34 PMKennedy Odede ’12 is one of Africa’s best- known community organizers and social entrepreneurs. Kennedy lived for twenty- three of his thirty years in the Kibera Slum, the largest slum in Africa, where he experienced the devastating realities of life in extreme poverty first hand. Still, he dreamed about changing his community. He saved 20 cents and used this to buy a soccer ball and start Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO). Driven by the innovation and entrepreneurial spirits of the people of Kibera, Shining Hope became the largest grassroots organization in the slum.

Jessica Posner Odede ’09 is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of SHOFCO. Jessica is a nationally recognized social entrepreneur and activist. SHOFCO has been featured by President Bill Clinton, on NBC by Chelsea Clinton, and on five occasions by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. 

SHOFCO’s Summer Institute is an annual competitive program that takes place from mid June to mid July that provides civic-minded university students with on-the-ground experience teaching at The Kibera School for Girls (KSG) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Participants partner with college-aged SHOFCO program members to run a fun, educational summer camp for KSG students. In the mornings, Institute participants tutor students, accelerating academic performance while forming meaningful relationships. In the afternoons, volunteers take turns leading personally designed workshops on subjects of their choice. Past lessons have ranged from poetry to soccer; public speaking to yoga; volcano making to ballet. Participants are on-site at the Kibera School for Girls Monday through Friday from 7:30am – 5pm. On weekends, participants and SHOFCO youth take part in group activities, explore Nairobi, and travel outside the city. The program is self-funded and requires a $1,000 fundraising commitment to SHOFCO.

You are a match for the Summer Institute if

  • You are an undergraduate student or recent graduate
  • You are looking for a challenging, meaningful experience with real responsibility
  • You are passionate about Shining Hope’s mission and work, with a commitment to learning from local leadership and empowering women and girls
  • You are interested in interacting with and learning from people your age from other cultures
  • You are comfortable working across cultures and in an environment that lacks many “Western” comforts
  • You work well in structured group settings
  • You love young children and enjoy working with them
  • You are interested in getting a sense of what it is like to work at an international non-profit organization
  • You bring maturity, grace, and a belief that young people can change the world!

Example Schedule

  • June 16 – Arrival at NBO! Shuttle to Nairobi guest house
  • June 17 – 21 – Orientation to SHOFCO/Nairobi/Kibera. Lesson planning and preparation for time with students
  • June 23 – July 15 – Mornings: group homerooms and literacy workshops with girls. Afternoons: volunteer-led and designed workshops
  • July 5 – Day trip to Hell’s Gate, Naivasha
  • July 15 – Final ceremony and celebration at the Kibera School for Girls. Shuttle from Nairobi Guest House to NBO

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 2.35.25 PMApproximate Program Costs

  • $1,000-$1,600 – Round Trip Airfare
  • $50 – tourist visa for Kenya
  • $1,500 – room and board in Nairobi for the duration of your stay. This includes a dorm-style bedroom, shared bath, wireless Internet, transport to/from Kibera, daily breakfast, lunch and dinner most nights
  • $75 – $200 – Travel Insurance. We require proof of traveler’s insurance, including evacuation insurance
  • $400 – activities, including an all-inclusive day trip to Hell’s Gate national park
  • $1,000 – fundraising commitment. All participants are required to fundraise a minimum of for SHOFCO though our online platform. This donation is tax-deductible. A $250 deposit towards the fundraising contribution is duewithin one week of admission to the Summer Institute to secure a spot
  • Personal costs at your discretion

For the 2016 Summer Institute Application, click here.


Jennifer Roach is the Civic Engagement Fellow in Allbritton for the academic year 2015-2016. She is a recent Wesleyan alumni, class of 2014. Since graduating, she has moved to Hartford to continue developing Summer of Solutions Hartford, an urban farming internship program she worked on during her time at Wesleyan.