Editor’s note: “The Next List” features innovative people each Sunday. This week, the CNN show profiled Daniel Ogola, a health care advocate in Kenya. Check out these two videos to see how Ogola is using heath to promote wealth.
(CNN) — Born into poverty, Kenyan entrepreneur Daniel Ogola has devoted his life to bettering his community – both in the notorious Kibera slum in Nairobi, where he lived as a young man, and in his hometown of Ukwala in Western Kenya.
But Dan is more than just a hero. A true agent of change, he’s employing his unique personal experience to engineer game-changing solutions on a societal scale.
Despite decades of poverty-fighting programs in Kenya – many fostered by outside interest funneling millions of dollars to hard-hit areas – the problem remains entrenched. Years living and working in poor areas of Kenya have taught Dan that the key to productivity is health. And today he’s using that “tool” to create jobs – and new opportunity - in one of Kenya’s poorest regions.
Founded in 2006 with support from Kaiser Permanente in California, Dan’s Matibabu Foundation is a community health care initiative serving more than 60,000 people each year. At the heart of the operation are some 800 local health aids who live and work in the community, visiting their fellow Kenyans in their homes to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, proper infant care and other health issues. And in January of this year, Dan and his team opened a state of the art hospital, the community’s first.
Dan’s community now enjoys some of the best health care the country has to offer and property values in Ukwala are soaring. According to Dan, average per-acre land prices have skyrocketed from 40,000 Kenyan shillings ($490) in 2009 to 240,000 ($2,880) today. The town is booming with new businesses and a hotel opening near the hospital.
Innovation comes in many forms. In today’s Kenya, a country plagued by poverty, nothing is quite so innovative as a happy, healthy community capable of sustaining itself.