March 30, 2011
A Compelling Social Enterprise Story
The Community Development Law Clinic that I supervise recently represented Carolina for Kibera (CFK), a nonprofit organization that focuses on public health and community development in Kibera, a sprawling slum just outside of Nairobi, Kenya. (For those who are curious, we performed a standard legal audit for the organization and determined that it is in fine legal condition.) CFK was founded a decade ago by a UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate, Rye Barcott, with a decidedly grassroots approach. Residents of Kibera told Rye and his collaborators that young people in the community needed healthy activities, so they founded a soccer league that has grown into an important institution. Soccer provided a way into the lives of young people and their families, and today CFK is a thriving, million-dollar-a-year NGO that runs several heralded programs including an extremely successful health clinic. As CFK grew, Rye became somewhat of a social enterprise celebrity. It did not hurt his reputation that he entered the Marines after graduating from Chapel Hill and continued to act as a principal of the organization while he was on active service in Iraq.
Now Rye has written a book, It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine's Path to Peace. Available on Amazon, the book is being advertised as the next Three Cups. I have not yet read the book, so I cannot endorse it (I hope it has more literary merit than Three Cups), but I can tell you that Rye's story is compelling and that, if he comes through your town to do a reading or a CFK fundraiser, it would be worth the trip.
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