The Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics held an event called “Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, Hope in an African Slum with Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner Odede” tonight at 6 p.m. in Gasson 100.
The event featured the experiences of husband-and-wife duo Jessica Posner and Kennedy Odede in establishing Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), a nonprofit organization which seeks to provide girls living in urban slums with superior education, healthcare, food, and other psychosocial services.
Posner and Odede first began collaborating in Kibera, Kenya in 2007 where Posner was studying abroad as a student from Wesleyan University. Odede had long been an active community organizer in Kibera for denizens living in poverty, and worked with Posner to build a school for girls that had suffered abuse throughout their childhoods.
In October 2015, Posner and Odede released their first book, Find Me Unafraid, which tells the story of the origins of their collaboration in founding SHOFCO.
The Gavel had the opportunity to speak with Monetta C. Edwards, the Assistant Director of the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics, who opined on the decision to bring the event to BC.
“I learned about Jessica and Kennedy’s story on an excursion in Kenya through the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools,” she said. “It’s not often that you learn about such a profound, significant life experience like this, and once I heard about it, I knew I had to bring it to Boston College."
Edwards also commented on the efforts of SHOFCO in light of its extension of holistic community services beyond the families of students to the community at large—namely clean water, quality healthcare, and economic empowerment opportunities, according to the SHOFCO website.
“Young girls in urban slums have virtually no access to electricity, water, or a decent education, and many unfortunately suffer abuse at the hands of their communities as well,” Edwards said. “Jessica and Kennedy’s efforts give those girls an opportunity to take charge of their futures and access a better quality of life. The lessons that we, as part of the BC community, can learn from their experiences are tremendous.”
Jessica and Kennedy addressed Boston College’s Jenks Leadership Program in the Fulton Honors Common at 4:30 p.m. for a workshop on the logistics of establishing a nonprofit organization and the challenges of ensuring fiscal sustainability. They also discussed methods for ethical leadership in the context of performing nonprofit work.
The duo then addressed the Boston College community at 6 p.m. for the scheduled event.
Edwards hopes to bring similar events to the campus community in the future for the sake of fostering discourse on ethical leadership on campus in light of changing global conditions.
“Events such as the ‘Find Me Unafraid’ talk can be extremely valuable to the BC community, and we are excited to bring more events like these to campus!” said Edwards.