Tag Archive for Jessica Posner ’09

SHOFCO Recipient of Hilton Humanitarian Prize

Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner ’09, center, are directors of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) in Kibera, Kenya. On Aug. 22, SHOFCO received the Hilton Humanitarian Prize by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. SHOFCO’s mission is to build urban promise from urban poverty. (Photo by Audrey Hall)

Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), a grassroots nonprofit organization directed by Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner ’09, has been awarded the 2018 Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Hilton Humanitarian Prize. Selected by a distinguished panel of independent international jurors, SHOFCO will receive $2 million in unrestricted funding, joining 22 other notable organizations that have received the Hilton Humanitarian Prize over the last two decades.

Based in Kibera—one of the largest slums in Africa—SHOFCO was founded by Odede as a teenager in 2004 with 20 cents and a soccer ball. The organization describes its mission as catalyzing large-scale transformation in urban slums by providing community-wide critical services and advocacy platforms, as well as education and leadership development specifically for women and girls. In 2007, Odede met fellow Wesleyan student Posner, who was studying abroad. Together they devised the model that SHOFCO utilizes today.

Kenyan School, Founded by Posner ’09, Odede ’12, on NBC Rock Center

Jessica Posner '09 on NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams.

Jessica Posner ’09 on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams.

Wesleyan alumni Jessica Posner ’09 and Kennedy Odede ’12 appeared on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams on Jan. 17 in a report titled “Couple’s School becomes Lifeline in Kenyan Slum.” Watch the report, hosted by Rock Center Special Correspondent Chelsea Clinton, online here.

Posner and Odede are co-founders of Shining Hope for Communities, an organization working to combat gender inequality and extreme poverty in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya.

In August 2009, Shining Hope for Communities founded The Kibera School for Girls, the first tuition-free school for girls in Kibera. By providing a superior education, daily nourishment, uniforms, and schools supplies all free of charge, Shining Hope is able to give the brightest and most at-risk girls the power of hope and education.

Students, Alumna Mentor Children in Summer Institute in Kenya

Emily Weitzman ’14 hugs one of her students at the Shining Hope for Communities Summer Institute. Weizman says many of the girls want to be teachers, pilots and doctors when they grow up.

Six Wesleyan students and one alumna spent part of their summer in Nairobi, Kenya as volunteers in Shining Hope for Communities Summer Institute. The institute brings college undergraduates and recent graduates together with students from the Kibera School for Girls.

Institute participants provided tutoring and mentoring during the mornings and helped run a summer camp at the school in the afternoon. The volunteers also worked on other Shining Hope projects, including the Johanna Justin-Jinich Community Clinic, a clean water project, toilet access project, community center, and a garden project.Shining Hope for Communities was founded three years ago by Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner ’09.

Their inaugural project was the Kibera School for Girls (KSG), a day school set in the Kibera slum in Nairobi,

Posner ’09 Brings “Do Something Award” to Wesleyan

From left, President Michael Roth, Jessica Posner ’09 and Shining Hope for Communities board member Rob Rosenthal, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. (Photo by Bill Burkhart)

On Nov. 1, Jessica Posner ’09 met with Wesleyan President Michael Roth and Rob Rosenthal, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, and the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, to share her “Do Something Award.”

On July 19, Posner was declared the top world-changer among all Americans under 25 by VH1. She received a trophy and a $100,000 award for Shining Hope for Communities, an organization she co-founded in August 2009 with Kennedy Odede ’12. Shining Hope created the first free school for girls in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum.

The award ceremony is featured online here.

Posner ’09 Receives $100,000 “Do Something Award”

Jessica Posner ’09 at the Do Something Awards.

Jessica Posner ’09 was declared the top world-changer among all Americans under 25 in the ‘Do Something Awards,’ at a live broadcast on July 19  from the Hollywood Palladium on VH1. She received $100,000 for Shining Hope for Communities, an organization she co-founded that last August with Kennedy Odede ’12 and that created the first free school for girls in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum.

A Denver resident, Posner was selected among five finalists by voting on the Internet.  She also has started a gardening program, a library, an Internet-ready computer center and introduced ecologically friendly latrines. In August, Shining Hope will open Kibera’s first accessible community health center.

Read more in the Denver Post and the Hartford Courant.

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Students to Create Health Care Clinic in Kenya Slum

A student-created health care clinic in Kibera, Kenya, named for Johanna Justin-Jinich, receives grant from Newman’s Own Foundation

Last year, two students from Wesleyan founded the first tuition-free school for girls in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, located in Nairobi, Kenya. This year, they’ve teamed with three more Wesleyan students and medical experts to create a health care clinic on the same site.

Pictured in center, Kennedy Odede '12 and Jessica Posner '09 operate the non-profit organization Shining Hope for Communities in Kibera, Kenya.

The Johanna Justin-Jinich Memorial Clinic of Kibera will be the first community-driven clinic in Kibera that specializes in women’s health. The student-created Shining Hope for Communities non-profit organization will preside over the clinic’s construction and daily operation.

Johanna Justin-Jinich was shot and killed off campus during her junior year at Wesleyan in May, 2009.

More than $37,000 in construction seed-funds has been provided to Shining Hope for as part of a $53,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation in support of The Johanna Justin-Jinich Memorial Clinic of Kibera. Additional funds from the grant will also fund an on site Green Bio-Latrine Center.

“When I first heard Kennedy Odede and Jess Posner speak about Shining Hope’s work in Kibera, I immediately knew this was the type of program we should look at, and Kennedy and Jess were the type of committed young people we want to encourage,” said Bob Forrester, president of Newman’s Own Foundation. “We are proud to support Shining Hope.”

Shining Hope for Communities also operates the Kibera School for Girls and the Shining Hope Community Center. The Kibera School for Girls was also the recipient of a 100 Project for Peace grant in 2009.

Designed to initially serve 5,000-6,000 Kibera residents annually, the Johanna Justin-Jinich Memorial Clinic will be a community-driven initiative staffed by a Kenyan nurse five days a week in tandem with community health workers and a full-time administrator. A physician will also maintain hours at the clinic one day a week. The clinic is scheduled for construction this summer.

Shining Hope for Communities’ senior administration consists of Executive Director and Kibera native Kennedy Odede ’12; Managing Director Jessica Posner ’09 and Wesleyan students Leah Lucid ’10, Ari Tolman ’10, and Inslee Coddington ’10.

The land and medical permits for the clinic are in hand and the students are now working to secure funding for the future sustainability of the project.

One of the primary health care concerns the students hope the clinic will affect immediately is the issue of reproductive health.