Elkanah Odembo

Synergos Senior Fellow & Former Ambassador, Republic of Kenya to the United States

Elkanah Odembo is Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to the United States. He previously served as Kenya’s Ambassador to France.

Mr. Odembo was the founding director of Ufadhili Trust (Centre for Philanthropy and Social Responsibility), a Kenyan institution that seeks to promote the spirit of giving, philanthropy, and the use of local resources to improve people’s lives through corporate social responsibility, cross-sector partnership, technical assistance and policy research.

Prior to joining Ufadhili, Mr. Odembo served as a consultant to the Ford Foundation’s Coordinator of Africa Philanthropy Initiative; the East Africa Representative for World Neighbors; and as Research Officer for the African Medical Research Foundation. He was also Chairman of the Kenya Community Development Foundation, lead facilitator for the Kenya Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper Consultation Process, and a member of the selection committee for the UNDP Africa 2000 Project. He was also founding member of the NGO Coalition for East Africa, a member of the National Advisory Committee for Health Research, a member of the NGO Co-ordination Board of Kenya, Chairperson of the Kenya National Council of Non-Governmental Organizations, and member of the National Committee for Social Dimensions of Development.

In addition to being a Synergos Senior Fellows, Mr. Odembo is a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative.

Mr. Odembo has a Bachelors degree in Biology and Sociology from Bowdoin College, and a Masters degree in Community Health (Epidemiology) from the University of Texas.

Mr. Odembo is passionately committed to bringing development to the rural and underprivileged in society. He believes that businesses could contribute immensely if involved in social development through developing their corporate social responsibility policies and programs. Of his appointment to ambassadorship to France, Mr. Odembo reflected, “I am both humbled and honoured, and do look forward to continuing my service to Kenya -- albeit in a new and different capacity! ”