Jessica Posner Odede
Jessica Posner Odede first came to Nairobi with dreams of volunteering with a theater program, but her experiences in the slums of Kiberia drew her to co-found Shining Hope for Communities, creating a girls’ school as a hub for social services ranging from medical aid to clean power and water initiatives. While a student at Wesleyan University, Posner Odede travelled to Kenya in 2007 where she began working with Kennedy Odede, a local community leader, on the root problems facing residents of the slums. She returned to Kenya in 2008, graduated from Wesleyan in 2009, and helped Odede fulfill his own dreams of higher education when he graduated Wesleyan in 2012. Together the couple founded Shining Hope for Communities, which combats the poverty of Kenya’s slums through girls’ schools connected to holistic community services including a maternal and child health program, latrines that generate methane for cooking and electricity, and clean water initiatives, among other projects. Jessica and Kennedy have also co-authored Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in an African Slum, published in 2015. In 2019, Posner Odede became the CEO of Girl Effect, a non-profit that aims to use media and tech to improve the lives of girls around the world.
Jessica Posner Odede is a grantee of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York (JWFNY), and is featured as part of a partnership between JWA and JWFNY spotlighting Jewish women social entrepreneurs.