One of Africa’s best-known social entrepreneurs is launching a new global forum designed to tackle world poverty and will hold the event in a girls' school in Kenya's Kibera, the continent's largest urban slum. PHOTO: Supplied

Johannesburg - One of Africa’s best-known social entrepreneurs is launching a new global forum designed to tackle world poverty and will hold the event in Kenya's Kibera, the continent's largest urban slum.

The inaugural World Poverty Forum (WPF), founded by Kennedy Odede, will take place on January 11-12 in a location chosen to give a real voice to poor people so that they can participate in creating solutions to their problems.  

It will will be one of the first events in a plan announced during the recent United Nations General Assembly to respond to the urgent need to accelerate concrete progress towards meeting sustainable development goals in 2020 and beyond, organisers said.

"It is sometimes forgotten that any programme to improve lives can only be successful it if works with the grain of individuals – and the bundles of talent, hope and fear that make up their unique experiences," Odede, who also founded Shofco, a catalyst for transforming conditions in urban slums, said in a statement.

"We will bring leaders to a place where they can feel both the unforgiving reality of poverty alongside the hope that an institution like Shofco can create."

Video: Kim Kay/African News Agency

He said the forum would bring leading politicians, CEOs, non-governmental organisations, entrepreneurs and thinkers together "with those who are delivering solutions on the front line of global poverty."

"This will be a fearless debate happening in the thick of the community together with the people we seek to help – rather than in a western five star hotel.  We want to reverse the usual power dynamics of development conferences and release the energies that genuine collaboration can bring," said Odede.

Nearly 600 million people - eight percent of the world’s population - live in extreme poverty, defined as earning less than US$1.90 a day. 

While many regions are making good progress with poverty reduction, almost all of Africa, especially the sub-Saharan region, is off-track for ending extreme poverty, with 13 African countries expected to see an increase in the absolute numbers of extreme poor between now and 2030.

The WPF will take place in a girls school in the heart of Kibera, which organisers hope will shine a much needed light on how to transform education where it is most needed.

African News Agency (ANA)