MADISON, Wis. (10/3/13)--
Elkanah Odembo is World Council of Credit Unions' new vice president of the African region. (Photo provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
Elkanah Odembo, former ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to the U.S., has been named vice president of the African region for World Council of Credit Unions. One of his first acts was to provide updates about World Council employees in Kenya related to the Nairobi mall terrorist attack last week.
Odembo, who will be based in Nairobi, oversees World Council's strategic initiatives for its organizational members and the donor community in the region.
"World Council's member organizations throughout Africa face unique trends and key issues," said Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO. "We are privileged to have Elkanah's extensive experience in strategic leadership, advocacy and community development within the region."
From left, World Council of Credit Unions President/CEO Brian Branch meets with Elkanah Odembo during a reception at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington, D.C. (Photo provided by Larry Glatt)
Odembo has led a wide range of community development projects based in Africa. He most recently served as Kenya's ambassador to the U.S. and previously to France. As ambassador, Odembo advocated on behalf of Kenya's credit unions, known as savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), for improved legislation. He supported the founding of the first Kenyan SACCO to serve the Kenyan diaspora in the U.S.
Odembo was also the founding director of Ufadhili Trust, a Nairobi-based organization that promotes philanthropy and the use of local resources for social development through corporate social responsibility, cross-sector partnerships, technical assistance and policy research. Prior to that, he served as a consultant to the Ford Foundation's Africa Philanthropy Initiative; the East Africa representative for the international non-governmental organization, World Neighbors; and as a research officer for the African Medical Research Foundation.
Odembo earned a master's degree in public health from the University of Texas. He holds a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology from Bowdoin College in Maine.
As to the recent terrorist attack at a popular mall in Nairobi, World Council confirmed that none of its employees stationed in Kenya were injured. However, almost all staff members were impacted by the tragedy that injured and took the lives of friends and family. Gunmen stormed the mall on Sept. 21, killing at least 67 people.
"Kenya has just been through a most challenging moment, and it is not over yet," said Odembo. "Through it all, however, Kenyans have demonstrated incredible resolve and goodwill. With World Council's help, we will continue working together to build an even stronger community that stretches beyond our country's borders."