The Day The Peacebuilders Came To Kenya
What a Kenyan Slum Can Teach America About Politics
2018 Hilton Humanitarian Prize Awarded to SHOFCO
Umoja Community Music Therapy
Our Mission and Vision for Partnership with SHOFCO
Who we are.
Umoja Community Music Therapy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable Music Therapy practices in underserved communities through the empowerment and training of women. With a focus on female leadership, Umoja partners with community organizations to train women as community Music Therapists, who will go on to pioneer, implement and sustain Music Therapy services as a means to unite, heal, and serve their communities.
What is Music Therapy?
Music Therapy is the specialized application of supportive music intervention to address therapeutic, and global health outcomes across virtually all domains of functioning; including social, communication, emotional, physical, cognitive, sensory and spiritual needs. Music Therapists develop individualized treatment for people of all ability levels throughout the lifespan and work in a variety of health and community settings as members of an interdisciplinary team.
Within the global setting, Umoja promotes Music Therapy as an evidence-based, accessible, and cost-effective modality for individualized and group therapy, which highlights community and culture-centered approaches. Research by Stige (2016) supports culture-centered Music Therapy as a practice that highlights how humans develop their capacities through participation in society, where culture operates as a resource for action. We believe this paradigm is in alignment with SHOFCO’s mission to empower unified action. Within our partnership with the SHOFCO Women’s Empowerment Project (SWEP), we will champion music, and the Music Therapy profession as a cohesive, culturally rich and powerful tool for social change.
Our organization operates as a collective of four women who work as healthcare professionals in the United States within medical, education, and community settings. Practicing as Music Therapists, our expertise is informed by education and training in the areas of music and theory, psychology, psychotherapy, human development, group dynamics, research, clinical implementation and neuroscience with implications for rehabilitation and wellness. Throughout the past five years, Umoja has traveled throughout East Africa to provide educational in-services and sample sessions to all who are interested in learning how to implement Music Therapy services and develop programs within their communities.
Across the world, women play a vital role in the societal and familial structure of their communities. According to the World Health Organization, one in three women worldwide are victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Within vulnerable communities, women and girls face issues such as gender bias, limited resources, and oppression stemming from prevailing cultural and societal norms surrounding the status of women. In many cases, these issues are compounded by a lack of financial security. Umoja believes in “the girl effect,” or the notion that when a girl has self-belief and is supported by her family and community, when she is empowered with skills, ideas, and knowledge, when she has access to services, role models, and other girls, when she is visible and vocal – she can demand to stay in school, to get health care, and to get married and have children when she chooses.” Through participating in therapy groups and training programs, we hope to provide others with a platform for agency and control, and to inspire community leaders to take the reigns and innovate, in order to design services from the lens of the needs of the community and to utilize Music Therapy as a healing and transformative tool for empowerment.
Plans for SHOFCO:
Cara Smith will be integrating Community Music Therapy training program with the marvelous leaders of SHOFCO while partnering with community advocacy programs, and education and leadership development efforts for women and girls. We will be designing music therapy programs for SHOFCO’s Women’s Empowerment Project (SWEP) and working with the leaders of this program as well as their women’s safety shelter in Kibera, and the Gender-Based Violence education staff.
We accomplish this by connecting local women musicians, teachers, and caregivers or enrolling community leaders interested in becoming community music therapists into our Trauma-Informed Music Therapy Training program. These individuals will participate in an ongoing training and collaboration project with the Umoja team to create the right service for the women and girls who need it and the leaders who implement it. The end goal is to help create sustainable music therapy services for the powerful survivors of violence and trauma and empower women to hone this new found skill in bringing healing and wellness to their community.
Umoja will also be working closely with music teachers at several of SHOFCO’s schools for girls in Nairobi’s slum communities – pioneering music therapy programs that provide a platform for creative emotional expression and empowerment opportunities for teachers and students to utilize music as an engine for community strength, cohesion, and leadership.
This October two executive members of Umoja will be visiting different SHOFCO sites within Nairobi to begin the collaboration process, build relationships, conduct workshops, training and demonstrate music therapy interventions for the girls and women SHOFCO serves. We hope to not only introduce an effective therapy for survivors of trauma but provide a platform for learning and empowerment for those who wish to learn this skill and provide this service.
We thank SHOFCO for their commitment to building long-term female leadership and are beyond humbled to embark in collaboration
Stige, B.(2016-01-21). Culture-Centered Music Therapy. In the Oxford Handbook of Music
Therapy. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 6 July. 2018, from http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/978199639755.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199639755-e-1.
First Lady makes a historic tour of Kibera, commissions girls’ school
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Friday toured the interior of Kibera and commissioned a Girls’ School funded by Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), a Non-Governmental Organization based in Nairobi.
The school, situated in the Gatwekera area of Kibera, is geared towards empowering the girl child through education…
Education Shines Hope for Girls in Kenya’s Largest Slum
A post penned by Kennedy on the importance of global education and SHOFCO’s role in promoting that in Kibera, Mathare and beyond.
NYT-Women in the World Praises Eunice’s Poem!
Women in the World in association with the New York Times spotlights Eunice’s powerful delivery of her heartfelt poem “My Dream” in front of thousands at the 6th Annual Women in the World Summit.
“Finding Love in a Hopeless Place” – an interview with Kennedy and Jessica on the Leonard Lopate Show.
Fast Company Spotlights Jessica and Kennedy’s Leadership
In How Two Broke Students Opened a Girls’ School in a Kenyan Slum Fast Company shines a light on the potential of young leaders to create positive change.
Mashable Highlights SHOFCO’s Feature in A Path Appears
In The activists working to transform Africa’s largest slum, one girl at a time Mashable celebrates SHOFCO’s journey to build urban promise and our feature in the PBS documentary, A Path Appears.
Kennedy Writes Second CNN Op-ed
Kennedy writes CNN op-ed about the promise of women and youth in Africa’s Surprising Future
NYT-Women in the World Presents Kennedy and Jessica’s Journey
Women in the World in association with the New York Times details SHOFCO’s exciting evolution.
Forbes Features SHOFCO’s Innovation
Forbes features SHOFCO’s Ashoka Changemakers Award: 2 Innovations Bringing Simplicity Back to Health Care
Kennedy Named One of Forbes’ 30 Under 30
Kennedy Odede Named One of Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30: Social Entrepreneurs”
Kennedy Writes Op-Ed for Project Syndicate
Kennedy Odede writes an op-ed about the challenges of urban poverty for Project Syndicate: Africa’s Urban Challenge
Nick Kristof Highlights Kennedy as Aspiring Mandela on NPR
In NPR broadcast, Nick Kristof highlights Kennedy as one of the “aspiring Mandela’s” across the world: Who Is the Next Mandela?
Chelsea Clinton Shares SHOFCO Story in Blog Post
Chelsea Clinton shares SHOFCO’s story in a blog post for MSNBC’s Rock Center: On Assignment: Couple’s love story leads to life-changing school in Kenyan slum
Chelsea Clinton Reports on SHOFCO for Rock Center
Chelsea Clinton reports on Shining Hope for Communities for MSNBC’s Rock Center: Couple’s school becomes a lifeline in Kenyan slum
Kennedy Writes CNN Op-Ed
Kennedy Odede writes CNN op-ed celebrating Nelson Mandela: In an African slum, talking to Mandela
Nick Kristof Features SHOFCO in NYT “Holiday Giving Guide”
Nicholas Kristof features SHOFCO in his New York Times 2012 Holiday Giving Guide: Gifts that Change Lives
VOGUE Features Jessica Posner
VOGUE Magazine features Jessica Posner. Read the full article on Scribd: Vogue – Up Front with Jessica Posner of Shining Hope for Communities
NBC Nightly News Features SHOFCO
Nick Kristof Shares SHOFCO Story in NYT Op-Ed
Nick Kristof shares the story of SHOFCO’s impact in his New York Times Op-Ed: Just Look at What You Did!
The Lancet Highlights SHOFCO
The Lancet features Shining Hope for Communities: Grassroots Project Shines Hope on Nairobi Slum Life
Kennedy Writes Op-Ed for the New York Times
SHOFCO Founder, Kennedy Odede, writes Op-Ed for the New York Times: Slumdog Tourism
An ingenious way to bring clean water to a slum
The BBC interviewed our CEO and co-founder Kennedy Odede on the aerial water piping system that supplies residents of Nairobi’s Kibera slum.
The 431-mark Gloria Omondi from Nairobi slum who beat all odds
The daily nation published a story of Gloria Royal Otieno, the top student at Kibera School for Girls with 431 marks in the 2018 KCPE.
The Day The Peacebuilders Came to Kenya
Pentair Expands Efforts To Increase Access To Sustainable, Safe Water
After a successful aerial water piping system in Kibera, with support from Pentair, we will replicate the aerial piping system to connect five water kiosks that will deliver low-cost clean water to a projected 21,000 individuals annually in Mathare. It will also provide clean water to the Mathare health clinic – a key component of SHOFCO’s holistic approach to help build empowered, healthy generations.
How I got Beyonce to fund my war on poverty
Kennedy Odede shared SHOFCO’s story with The Standard. Here is the story.
Why A Fearless Dad-To-Be Was Scared Of Fatherhood
Our co-founder and CEO Kennedy Odede shared his story with the National Public Radio (NPR).
I spent 21 years of my life angry before I realised we in the slums must lead change
Kenya is on the rise. Those living in slums such as Kibera will only share in the progress if urban solutions come from our community
SHOFCO co-founder and CEO wrote an op-ed in The Guardian.
From homeless kid to hero of Africa’s biggest slum
Kennedy Odede grew up in Kibera in Kenya – Africa’s biggest slum. He thought his future prospects were either death or prison, then he read a book that would be a turning point.
Turning the tables: global poverty conference to be held in a slum
Social entrepreneur Kennedy Odede, who was raised in the slum of Kibera, in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, has founded the event to bring world leaders and policymakers together to “change the dynamic” of the way the big global issues are discussed. He said it was about making “worlds collide”.
Africa’s largest slum to host inaugural world poverty forum
Kibera slum, Africa’s largest slum located in Kenya will be hosting the inaugural World Poverty Forum (WPF) in January next year. Founded by Kennedy Odede, one of Africa’s best-known social entrepreneurs, the forum is taking place on the 11th and 12th of January 2020.
Clean water a right, not luxury – Odede
Aerial piping changes narrative of water supply woes in Kibera