Carolina for Kibera

Founded in 2001 by Rye Barcott , Salim Mohamed, and the late Tabitha Atieno Festo, Carolina for Kibera is a 501 (c) (3) international non-governmental organization based in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. CFK has an office and youth center in Kibera, and is based in the Center for Global Initiatives (CGI) at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill . A pioneer of grassroots participatory development, CFK leads to a community based sports program, a girls’ center, a medical clinic, and a waste management program.


Run by Kenyans and advised by American and Kenyan volunteers, CFK’s primary mission is to promote youth leadership and ethnic and gender cooperation in Kibera through sports, young women’s empowerment, and community development. Additionally, CFK works to improve basic healthcare, sanitation, and education in Kibera .


CFK’s philosophy is grounded in the concept of participatory development. Solutions to problems involving poverty are possible only if affected by it drive development. Concerned outsiders can help by mobilizing communities, advising, networking, and providing resources. Ultimately, however, the community possesses the knowledge and motivation that are necessary to solve its own problems.

Awards and impact

Time Magazine named CFK’s “Hero of Global Health” in 2005. [1] Time for Kids featured on CFK March 30, 2007 edition. [2] In 2004 Canadian Musician Sarah McLachlan concludes her award-winning music video “World on Fire”with CFK’s soccer tournaments and medical clinic in Kibera. Two years later CFK published LIGHTBOX: Expressions of Hope from Young Women in the Kibera Slum. This powerful book of narratives and photographs from the camera gives voice to the young and courageous women of CFK Binti Pamoja (Daughters United) Center. [3] In 2007 then Senator Barack Obamavisited CFK’s youth center and gave a landmark speech calling for ethnic unity and education in Kibera. [4] CFK played a crucial role in providing emergency aid during the Kenyan post-election violence in 2008, and for its efforts in the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum honored CFK as its recipient of the Reflections of Hope Award in a ceremony with the trainer ABC World News Bob Woodruff Anchor and his wife Lee. [5]


CFK was founded by Rye Barcott (then an undergraduate at UNC) to help prevent ethnic and religious violence in Kibera through a community-based sports program. In the summer of 2001, Barcott teamed up with Salim Mohamed who was managing the Information and Management Department of the Mathare Youth Sports Association in Nairobi . Tabitha Atieno Festo, a registered nurse and resident of Kibera, who has established a small medical clinic. CFK received $ 30,000 grant from the beginning of a grant from American citizensFord Foundation . A year later, two undergraduates from the United States, Karen Austrian and Emily Verellen, volunteered in Kibera with CFK and helped young women in Kibera create CFK’s third program, The Binti Pamoja (Daughters United) Center, establishing a safe space for young girls address issues unique to them. Youth in Kibera later developed the Taka and Pato (Trash is Cash) and Base of the Pyramid programs in 2005 in Kibera .

External links

  • Carolina for Kibera


  1. Jump up^
  2. Jump up^ “Time For Kids” Story Cover
  3. Jump up^ LIGHTBOX: Reflections of Hope from Young Women in the Kibera Slum © 2006
  4. Jump up^ “Associated Press,” Obama Senator Visits Nairobi Slum, August 27, 2006
  5. Jump up^ Oklahoma City National Memorial 2008 Reflections of Hope Recipient

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