Elkanah Odembo, World Council vice president of the African region.
MADISON, Wis. — Elkanah Odembo, former ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to the United States, has been named vice president of the African region for World Council of Credit Unions. Odembo 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 and CEO. "We are privileged to have Elkanah's extensive experience in strategic leadership, advocacy and community development within the region."
World Council President and CEO Brian Branch meets with Elkanah Odembo during a reception at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington, D.C. Photo by Larry Glatt.
Odembo has led a wide range of community development projects based in Africa. He most recently served as the ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to the United States, 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 United States. 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, Odembo served as a consultant to the Ford Foundation's Africa Philanthropy Initiative; the East Africa representative for the international NGO, 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 (USA). Odembo joins World Council based in Nairobi, Kenya.
World Council has confirmed that none of its employees stationed in Kenya were injured from a recent terrorist attack at a popular mall in Nairobi. However, almost all staff members were impacted by the tragedy that injured and took the lives of friends and family.
"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."
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 56,000 credit unions in 101 countries serve 200 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.