Please join a discussion hosted by the International Development and Africa Discussion Groups with Eddy Gicheru Oketch, Founder and President of Ongoza, a Kenyan based organization focused on building resilient communities of locally engaged youth business leaders.
This event is discussion-based with a brief presentation by Eddy regarding his experience working in Kenya with his organization, Ongoza, promoting inclusive economic development and peaceful coexistence among youth in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Eddy grew up in a village outside Migori, a town of about 40,000 in southwestern Kenya. Although several small businesses line the main highway that crosses Migori, economic opportunity is limited in this relatively isolated community, as is political representation. Like much of the rest of Kenya, it is home to people of different tribes and has long seen ethnic tensions. Concerned that these dynamics exposed young people to risks of socio-political conflict and criminal activity, in high school Eddy set out to form an organization that would positively engage his youth peers. He envisioned a platform that would provide them access to economic opportunities, foster mutual understanding among ethnic groups, and invite constructive participation in democratic processes.
After the post-election violence in Kenya during 2007-2008, Eddy ramped up his efforts to build and scale PAD for Kenyan youth to have a vehicle to become positively engaged and empowered in their community. Within months, PAD had reached 11,000 youth; it had become a recognized peacebuilding initiative devoted to healing and reconciliation. It has since increased its activities aiming to address what it sees as the root cause of conflict: youth economic is empowerment. Today, PAD works with 10 youth group enterprises across 3 counties; within 3 years, we hope to expand to 150 youth groups across 15 counties.
Eddy graduated from Trinity College (Hartford, CT) in 2014 and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Global Affairs at Yale University. He has spoken at the World Economic Forum, the Clinton Global Initiative, the African Leadership Network, the G8, and the Harvard Business School Africa Business Conference. Eddy has been recognized as a Global Changemaker by the British Council; won the 2012 Impact Award from the Kenya Diaspora; and in 2013 was named Top 30 Under 30 Most Influential Young People on the African continent in 2013.
419 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
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