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, as well as support services based at the Center for Global Initiatives (CGI) at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A pioneer of grassroots participatory development, CFK leads a community based sports program, girls' center, medical clinic, and waste management program.

At its core, Carolina for Kibera (CFK) believes that community problems require local solutions run by local leaders. To that end, their staff in Kenya is made up of sixty full and part time staff – all are Kenyan and many are from Kibera. In the US, CFK employs only one full-time staff. In addition, hundreds of dedicated volunteers and board members support their Kenyan staff in whatever ways they can with no thought of reward.

Creating and Sustaining Holistic Change

CFK creates sustainable, positive solutions. We seek out local leaders to champion change and partner with individuals and groups both inside and outside of the community who believe in a better future for Kibera.

Effective change is change that continues. CFK ensures lasting and widespread impact through an idea we call “cascading leadership.”

CFK staff members do not simply deliver good and services to Kibera. Instead they collaborate with community leaders to create ambitious and wide-reaching programs that reach thousands of residents. Through direct involvement, community members become ambassadors of positive impact for their families and friends. As older participants assume leadership roles, they multiply impact by growing programs, engaging their personal networks and inspiring the next generation of leaders.The positive impact of these local leaders spread, or ‘cascades,’ through the community.

A Three-Tiered Approach:

Poverty is complex – its solutions are never easy. The best strategies are both specialized and integrative, addressing the needs of a whole person. Our three-priority areas reflect our dedication to creating sustainable, far-reaching change.


Access to information and high-quality health care ensures a higher quality of life for people of all ages. CFK works to provide all Kiberans comprehensive medical services and the resources and education to keep themselves and their families healthy.


Educated, socially responsible leaders are fundamental to building a strong community. CFK fosters gender and ethnic understanding and provides educational scholarships for bright and needy students. We build self-confidence, develop leadership skills and promote community service through a wide variety of programs.


Advancing locally-owned businesses requires a supportive network of mentors, investors, and innovators. CFK offers training in financial literacy, business skills and entrepreneurship for residents of Kibera.

We provide healthcare. We give scholarships. We empower through soccer and jump rope. We clean up trash. We give girls a place to express themselves. We give HIV tests and anti-retroviral drugs. We nurture entrepreneurs. We teach peace.


  • Visit to Carolina for Kibera!

    The private taxi made a sudden turn from the shaded, leafy suburbs of Kilimani into the sunny and dusty slums of Kibera, and ours very quickly became the only car on the road. We slowly proceeded deeper into the heart of the largest urban slum in Africa, the paved road giving way to red dirt. Tiny shops set in corrugated metal shacks filled both sides of the street, selling everything from clothing to charcoal. Nairobi is well-known for its extremes of wealth, but the sudden shift from embassies and estates to shanties was a shock. It was only the first to occur. I volunteer with Givology, a young, all-volunteer social enterprise that partners with and supports grassroots education nonprofits around the world. Among the organization that we sponsor is Carolina for Kibera, a locally run community organization that serves the inhabitants of Kibera, a large settlement that has been entirely neglected by the Kenyan government. Kibera--which has an unknown population of between 170,000 a...

16 Students and Projects