Students for Education, Empowerment and Development (SEED)
SDGs Supported: #4 Quality Education, #10 Reduced Inequalities
Summary: Aouki Patrick Odongo grew up in Kibera, one of the most economically impoverished areas in Kenya—and the world. He saw how unreliable access to food, water and a stable home created a path fraught with obstacles, especially for the children living in the Nairobi neighborhood. And now he’s using that experience to change the narrative.
As director of Students for Education, Empowerment and Development (SEED), this determined changemaker is helping transform life for youth in marginalized communities through education. That includes establishing the first SEED School in Kibera, which offers primary school education to more than 70 children annually. Through Hours for Impact, Odongo and his team members are pledging hours to support U.N. Sustainable Development Goals 10, to reduce inequality, and 4, to help “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
The institution provides more than education, though. “One major thing we do is to offer a feeding program for the children,” Odongo says. “This supports them to be able to grow intellectually and physically to be able to concentrate on their learning.”
Though a lack of resources has plagued the organization, Odongo and his team have found some creative solutions. For example, to finance the SEED School’s two-meals-a-day program, leaders enlisted students’ parents to make beaded jewelry for sale.
“Volunteering enables me to gain credible expertise and experience to apply in the real-life activities,” Odongo says. “It also enables one to have diverse ideas from team members and other experts who have experiences in multiple fields.”
Using an agile approach and setting realistic, measurable goals for different phases of the projects has helped maintain momentum, Odongo says. And now the team is looking for new ways to expand the organization’s reach—and impact. SEED plans to build another school in a rural area of Ugenya and is considering developing a vocational center to support Kenyan youth.
Project leaders also recognize the need to provide more resources for children living in areas of extreme poverty as they reach their teen years.
“We are currently looking at sponsors to support children through high school, as many girls especially get into early marriages and the young boys get into criminal activities if they’re not checked or effectively engaged,” Odongo says.
Odongo says he hopes to pledge more hours through Hours for Impact, especially as SEED continues to increase the number of children supported through its services. “We have reached the unreached within our communities within the marginalized areas and the slums of Nairobi,” he says.