Who We Are
SOTENI is an acronym that stands for Sustainable Opportunity Training Epidemiology Networking and Interdependence. We are a registered NGO in the United States and Kenya, established in 2003.
SOTENI International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit registered in the United States and Kenya with over 20 years of experience in sustainable development and the fight against HIV/AIDS. Our mission now includes breaking the cycle of poverty AND disease by advancing entrepreneurship, health services, and wellbeing. In 2020, we joined forces with Swazi SHEROES to empower women and girls in Eswatini, who are among the world’s most vulnerable to HIV.
Where it Started
A group of American and African volunteers created SOTENI in 2003. Passionately committed to preventing HIV/AIDS and reducing its effects, they decided to put public health theory into practice in Kenya, which had been ravaged by the epidemic. The group developed the model of SOTENI Villages of Hope (SVHs), whose goal was to establish a locally-led, grassroots community to support people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
SOTENI has a 20-year track record of successfully implementing programs in three Villages of Hope (SVHs). We are a trusted presence in each community, with an infrastructure of staff, local boards, and strong relationships with government and institutions. Our AIDS Barefoot Doctors (ABDs) are an ideal implementation partner due to their longstanding, trusted relationships with our target population. ABDS have frequent engagement with their clients and a thorough understanding of the challenges they face, making them well-suited to promote healthy living and economic independence. With training and support from SOTENI Kenya, they are able to tailor sustainable solutions according to each individual’s needs in their native language.
Thanks to a grant from the International Foundation in 2021, we began to scale our table banking practices and entrepreneurial ventures into small businesses. Nimrod Onyango Weyu, a 34-year-old widower living with HIV, used seed funding from the grant to start a small-scale vegetable farm with his Support Group. Last fall, he was eager to report that he was earning a profit and using it to put away savings to support his family and expand his business by a half acre. He says, “My friends and neighbors who are not part of SOTENI are now asking me for lessons. I believe with such training, determination, and a little capital support, we can all make a difference in our society.”
Swazi SHEROES learn the basics of economic sustainability through social enterprise as they design, produce, and market what they make. With their earnings and newfound business acumen, our cohorts achieve the independence they need to protect their health and wellbeing. SHEROES also receive mentoring and psychosocial support led by professional facilitators in a community setting. Armed with the skills and confidence they gained in the program, alumni go on to find meaningful employment, continue their education, or start their own business, breaking the cycle of poverty and disease rather than resorting to risky behaviors to make ends meet.
Programs Assistant, SOTENI Kenya
Luke has over 6 years of experience in project management and program monitoring and evaluation at SOTENI Kenya. He is highly skilled in preparing work plans, progress reports, budgets, and expense reports. Luke’s background also includes working with communities in arid and semi-arid regions to build food security through climate-resilient techniques, income-generation, and affordable, nutrient-rich foods. In addition to food security and climate preparedness, Luke’s interests include working with victims of sexual and gender-based violence, orphans and vulnerable children, people living with HIV, drug abusers, and LGBTQ+ youth.
Part-Time Business Administrator, SOTENI Kenya
SOTENI Village of Hope Coordinators
Calvin Juma Aloo, SVH-Ugunja Coordinator
Raphael Barasa, SVH-Mbakalo Coordinator
Fridah Kawari, SVH-Mituntu Interim Coordinator