Empowering greatness in the world's most underserved areas.
Empowering greatness in the world's most underserved areas.
The Somo Project invests in social entrepreneurs and provides the training and tools to help them build enterprises that change their communities from within. By investing in the right people, we help break the cycle of poverty and can help bring long-term stability to urban slum areas.
Growing sustainable ventures from within
Growing sustainable ventures from within
AfriKnit Dolls designs and manufactures dolls out of recycled fabrics. Susan and Meshack saw a lack of African dolls for Sale in Nairobi and wanted to create dolls with African hairstyles and Kitenge fabrics that Kenyan children can identify with. The AfriKnit dolls are softer, more affordable, and more durable than plastic dolls.
Abraham has seen how smoke from burning of charcoal briquettes in homes can have serious health implications for residents in his community. He has found an alternative source of energy for heating and cooking in homes, producing a briquette from waste materials that is both smokeless and odorless. Along with the positive impact of these briquettes on individual families, Abraham is contributing to the movement to reduce deforestation by creating this renewable source of energy.
Michelle and Thomas' Habari Kibra is a platform that allows youth to engage their passion for journalism. The training first teaches youtha wide range of skills, from writing to photography to TV/media production, so that they will be able to reach their ambitions in an ever challenging and diversifying industry. Once graduated these youth either will be set-up with income producing journalism jobs or join the Habari Kibra team to sell content to local media hubs in Nairobi.
Esther started Hadassa to provide a better alternative to the high cost, chemical filled diapers found in Nairobi. These reusable diapers are pocket friendly, safe, and great for the environment. Hadassa diapers are one size fits all! Adjustable buttons allow parents to find the perfect fit as their children grow.
Rose started Bounty Nut to produce peanut butter in Mathare. Her mission is to provide an affordable and delicious protein Source for low-income households while creating jobs for her community.
Rose has witnessed dangers Kibera women experience when they journey to the marketplace early in the morning or late at night. Rose runs a farm where she grows fresh fruits and vegetables locally that are both affordable and accessible. Rose has now built a greenhouse and created sack gardens, allowing her to farm in any season. As well, Rose is creating a fish farm to help create organic fertilizer for her produce.
Elkanah is a Web designer from Kawangware who started DoubleServe to train youth there in Web design skills. His mission is to form a team to Sell Web design services to businesses in Nairobi.
Seth and Purity grew up watching their family produce honey and as adults were inspired to carry on the family business. Honey is an important staple as it can be used as a natural Sweetener. As well it can be used to treat a variety of conditions, from dandruff and allergies to Coughs and burns to blood pressure reduction.
Mwangaza candles makes candles from recycled materials in Mathare and sells them at affordable prices. Josephine uses recycled materials such as yogurt containers and wine bottle tops to shape the candles. She is building her business to enable women from her community to become financially independent.
Lillian's Yo-Toto is a working mother of three who has witnessed the nutritional choices and sacrifices that many parents in Kibera are forced to make. She produces a low-sugar, full-fat, nutritional yogurt that helps improve the health and learning of Kibera’s children. Lillian’s yogurt provides families and schools with a healthy alternative to fast and often poor-nutrition foods. She is looking to partner with schools and daycares to provide her yogurt.
Bernard discovered his passion for singing and creating music as ateenager in Kibera. He is starting Vessels Music School to teach voice, piano, guitar and other instruments, but also to use the "universal language of music" to bridge divides in his community, create employment, and empower youth to embrace their creativity.
Steven is working to provide a clean water delivery in Kibera, eliminating the burden of water collection and reducing the incidence of waterborne diseases. Along with the delivery of water his customers will receive public health and sanitation information through a mobile application.
Joseph teaches computer skills to Kibera community members, providing scholarships to orphaned girls. As well, he has opened both a physical and e-learning library to provide a place for kids to study after school.
Allan, is the founder of Portable Voices podcasts, which produces interactive weekly podcasts focused on Nairobi's informal settlements, enabling community residents to express themselves creatively. They are now also piloting the production of African literature audio books.
Joshua started his cafe and catering service to serve nutritious food and educate the population of Kibera on healthy eating. As well, the cafe provides a safe, clean place for holding meetings, bringing business into Kibera that would not otherwise not be there.
Antony started Chicbanda to both sell chickens and teach poultry farming in his community, providing both a source of income and protein. He works with schools to teach them how to chicken farm, creating a avenue of sustainability for low-income schools.
Carol founded WeeCare to teach early childhood education and educate young mothers on the importance speaking and reading to their kids early. Carol works with multiple women’s groups to help them implement educational activities with their kids into their hectic schedules.
Stanley is working to teach youth in Kibera high-level computer programming languages in their own community. His graduates have had the opportunity to find freelancing jobs through platforms such as Elance, Upwork, and iWriter and be hired by large companies like Samasource.
Mary's K-Pads is focused on producing a reusable sanitary towel for women that will be sold at affordable prices (at less that $3 for a 6 month supply). Sanitary products are currently unaffordable for many women and girls in Kibera, forcing them to miss work and school during their periods. K-Pads creates sustainable, reusable and affordable sanitary pads that will be produced in partnership with local women’s groups.
Amelia is co-founder and executive director of the Somo Project. She conceived of Somo while working summers in a school in Kibera, and launched operations and the initial training cohort while still a student at University of California, Berkeley. After graduating with a concentration in development studies and global poverty, she moved to Nairobi full-time in 2016. Her passion for justice and economic opportunity for under-resourced populations dates back to her youth advocating for women’s rights and participating in homeless relief missions on the streets of New York City.
Stella was born in West Pokot and raised in rural Western Kenya. She studied sociology, project management and urban anthropology at Moi University, and is the founder and editor of Lalona Women’s Magazine, an online magazine focused on women’s empowerment. She is also co-founder of Creatives Piazza, a hub for Kenyan women that provides a platform to address gender equity, inclusion, and diversity in the creative space. Stella believes in and works to create sustainable growth in underserved areas.
Loreen’s social impact journey began in 2013 while she was still a first-year student and chose to volunteer at Nafisika Trust, which runs prison rehabilitation programs in Kenya. She developed a passion for creating better and sustainable communities and was served four years as Programs Coordinator at Nafisika Trust. She was awarded an Associate fellow for The Royal Commonwealth Society in 2016, holds a degree in Sociology and Psychology and is currently pursuing postgraduate studies in Social Innovation Management at Amani Institute.
Justus was born and raised in Githurai, an informal settlement on the eastern outskirts of Nairobi. After receiving a journalism degree at the Technical University of Kenya, Justus looked to find a way to give back to his community. With a passion for photographing daily life in his community, he started Gizzim, an organization that teaches refugee and street children the art of photography, giving them a way to both tell their own stories and earn a living.
Irene grew up in Kibera, and witnessed first-hand the immense amount of aid flowing into her community that had very little long-term impact. With a passion for economic empowerment, she pursued a degree at Egerton University, studying economics and history. She worked as an Mpesa sales agent, boosting sales in her region by 70%, and at the national cohesion and integration commission, crafting plans for a cohesive and peaceful coexistence within Kenya.
Steven was born and raised in Kibera, and experienced firsthand the inadequate supply and distribution of water in the community. He started working on creating a business focused on water – working on a solution that is both affordable and sustainable long-term.
After graduating Somo training in 2016, he founded WaterMark Springs. He has also joined Somo as a trainer, sharing his passion for economics and building enterprises.
Joshua was born and raised in the Kibera slums, where he has witnessed his community suffer from diseases like cholera, typhoid, high blood pressure and even loss of lives due to inability to access healthy meals affordably. He started Nutrition Palace, a participant in Somo’s pilot training cohort, as a healthy alternative to the unhealthy, unhygienic offerings of most food kiosks in Kibera. Joshua is also the co-founder of K-Shoes, a social enterprise that partners with skilled artisans from Nairobi’s informal settlements to produce customized footwear, targeting local and international markets and re-investing in the community. Joshua leads Somo’s efforts working with the Kibera community, and supports trainings, outreach and local fundraising initiatives.
Kagure Wamunyu currently works as the Senior Director in Strategy for East Africa for Bridge International Schools, a social enterprise that seeks to provide access to quality education to the low income in Africa and Asia. In her role she focuses on Policy and Government Relations, Partnerships, and PR. She is very passionate about education and its ability to transform people's lives. Previously, Kagure served as the country manager for Uber in Kenya where she joined company right after launch and grew it to a major transportation option in Nairobi. Kagure Wamunyu is currently pursuing a part-time PhD at University of Oxford. She holds a Masters in City Planning from UC Berkeley, a BSC in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State and a BA in Mathematics from Meredith College.
George is a co-founder of the Somo Project, and the founder of Raba Capital, an investment firm focused on partnering with bold thinking entrepreneurs in emerging markets. He was previously a Managing Director at Glynn Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, an associate at Goldman Sachs and an enterprise technology software strategist at General Electric. George has a BS from the University of Connecticut.
Edel is a Consultant at Dalberg Advisors, providing strategic advice to social impact initiatives in Africa with a focus on education and youth employment projects. Previous to joining Dalberg, Edel was a Research Fellow at IBM Research Africa and has worked with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE). Edel has a BSc from Strathmore University.
Eskor is the founder of Marigold Investments, a London based real estate company. Prior to founding Marigold, Eskor was with BizCorp, a consulting firm focused on working with small and medium sized enterprises in Kenya and prior was an investment advisor at BestInvest in London. Eskor has an MBA from Kellogg School of Management.
Sebastian is a portfolio manager at Genesis Investment Management where he is focused on investments in India, Indonesia, and Russia. Prior to Genesis, Sebastian was a research analyst at Praesidium Investment Management and prior an analyst at Wachovia Securities. Sebastian has an MBA from Columbia Business School and degree in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University.
Tom was most recently CEO of Dstillery, a machine-learning-based data analytics company. Prior to Dstillery, Tom was a director at Google where he pioneered new uses of Google data for ad analytics. Previously, he was a venture partner at Insight Ventures, CEO of Deja.com, the original media chief for Starwave (creators of ESPN.com, NFL.com, ABCnews.com and NBA.com), and founding publisher of Spy magazine. He is on the boards of Tilofy, Midnight Run and ELiTE, and has a BA from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford.
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Invest today. Grow tomorrow.
Invest today. Grow tomorrow.