From his hometown in Western Kenya to the mega-slums of Nairobi, Dan Ogola has blazed a trail of opportunity in some of his country’s poorest regions. Using health and education as his tools, he’s launched new businesses, created jobs and inspired a generation to better their lives by taking better care of themselves.
Raised in poverty, Dan witnessed the connection between poor health and hopelessness from an early age. Dr. Hernando Garzon, Director of Global Health services for California’s Kaiser Permanente, sees it as well. “We learned a long time ago that if you have an unhealthy community the potential for economic development is less. So if people are out, sick days, if children are not attending school because of illness and high illness rates, the chances for economic development and prosperity are less.”
As founder and director of The Matibabu Foundation, an indigenous health and education initiative serving some 60,000 Kenyans, Dan's ability to recognize the talent often overlooked in poor communities has led to an economic boom in his hometown. But for this agent of change, success is about more than money. “ I want to communicate the health situation of my people with anybody,” Ogola told The Next List. “It’s something that I love, so I don’t need to force myself to see it. Anytime I meet you, I want to share with you, I’m Dan Ogola. I come from this community. And I don’t say it when I’m shy. I say it with a lot of vigor, because I love my community.”
“We are just trying to make a difference in our own community,” he adds. “The goodwill that we have, yes, those make Matibabu truly unique.”