Our mission is to improve public health and economic prosperity in informal settlements.


History of CFK


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CFK Africa is a registered non-governmental organization headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya and a 501(c)3 nonprofit in the U.S. 

We improve public health and economic prosperity in informal settlements by partnering with communities to strengthen systems, reduce inequalities, and improve access to quality health care, education, and economic opportunities. 


It all started with $26, an unlikely connection,
and a strong commitment to community service.

Tabitha Atieno Festo

Unemployed nurse turned clinic founder

Tabitha Atieno Festo was an unemployed nurse and widowed mother when she started CFK Africa’s first medical clinic out of her 10×10-foot home with just $26.

Tabitha saw patients 24/7 and did not turn anyone away, regardless of their ability to pay. Her dedication to community service laid the foundation for CFK’s Primary Health Care work, which now serves more than 50,000 patients every year. Though Tabitha passed away in 2004 after a short, abrupt illness, we continue to carry on her legacy of “sacrificing for success” and her commitment to improving maternal and child health in informal settlements.

Salim Mohamed

Community organizer turned participatory development champion

Salim Mohamed was a founding member of the Mathare Youth Soccer Association (MYSA) before co-founding CFK Africa in 2001.

He led CFK’s initial sports and youth development programs and served as our Executive Director, championing participatory development and community-centred programming. Salim has since completed a Master’s degree in Organization Management and Implementation of Development Projects and worked as a consultant for global organizations, including Save the Children and the World Bank. He is an Eisenhower Fellow and led a Tedx talk on the importance of locally-led change in the NGO space. 

Rye Barcott

Student turned social entrepreneur

Rye Barcott first traveled to Kibera as a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) to study ethnic violence among youth.

While there, he met Tabitha and Salim who inspired him to do more than research. After returning to the U.S., he co-founded CFK Africa (originally “Carolina for Kibera”) as a nonprofit organization, forming a lasting connection between UNC-Chapel Hill and Kibera. Rye served five years of active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps before pursuing an MBA and MPA at Harvard University. His memoir, It Happened on the Way to War, details the foundation and early work of CFK and juxtaposes military service and social entrepreneurship. Rye remains involved on CFK’s Board of Directors, currently serving as Board Chair, and is a strong advocate for peace, participatory development, and public service.   



Time Magazine and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation named CFK Africa a Hero of Global Health in 2005.

CFK Africa was named the CDC’s lead implementing partner for WaSH in Kenya.

CFK Africa was featured as the cover story on an issue of TIME Magazine for Kids, titled A Higher Goal: Soccer is Helping Kenyan Kids Get Set for the Future.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum honored CFK Africa with its Reflections of Hope Award in 2008.

CFK Africa Logo

CFK Africa co-hosts one of the largest overseas population-based infectious disease surveillance programs operated by the CDC, KEMRI, WSU, and AMREF, supporting data collection to inform health policy formulation in Kenya and beyond.

CFK Africa Executive Director, Hillary Omala, served as a Gratitude Network Fellow in 2019.

CFK Africa co-founder Rye Barcott named ABC News Person of the Year in 2006.

CFK Africa was the lead partner in the development, inception and piloting of the ‘Girl-Centered Program Design’ & ‘Safe Spaces’ program in Kenya in collaboration with The Population Council.

Harvard Business School profiled CFK Africa as the focus of the school’s first multi-media case study.

Millions lack access to quality health care and
education in kenya's 1,400+ informal settlements