Rye Barcott, Co-Founder of Carolina for Kibera
Social entrepreneur Rye Barcott is a captain from the US Marine Corps and the co-founder of Carolina for Kibera (CFK). This NGO leads a massive, community based youth program in Kibera (Kenya), the largest urban slum in Africa. CFK has been awarded by TIME Magazine and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their nonprofit work in Kenya.
Rye Barcott is the author of the award winning memoir, It Happened On The Way To War: A Marine’s Path to Peace. He is the 2006 Person of the Year from ABC World News and is a TED fellow.
Rye started CFK as an undergraduate ROTC student at UNC-Chapel Hill. He grew the nonprofit organization while simultaneously serving in the US Marine Corps in Bosnia, the Horn of Africa, and Iraq.
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Show Links for Rye Barcott
- Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder
- Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor by Paul Farmer
- The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by by
- Without a Fight: In a Slum Divided, Soccer is Survival Documentary
Show Notes for Rye Barcott
- Rye Barcott explains the concept of Participatory Development
- “The community itself must be in charge of driving the change that it seeks.” – Rye Barcott
- What Rye Barcott was doing when his daughter was born
- Carolina for Kibera is celebrating their 15th birthday
- Rye has been a volunteer this whole time for Carolina for Kibera
- Rye is now working in solar farm investments
- Kibera is the size of Central Park
- One sixth of the world lives in informal urban settlements or slums
- Slum dwellers don’t have land tenure rights
- What Rye’s first impression of Kibera was
- Why Kibera is a source of enormous talent
- “Talent is universal, opportunity is not.” – James Peacock
- Rye’s relationship to his mother
- The meaning behind Rye’s middle name
- “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason.”
- Rye’s most popular and highlighted passages in his books
- Rye spent nine years writing the book
- Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
- We are not trying to “save” the world
- Why the savior mentality will lead you to fail
- Carolina for Kibera’s soccer program that was locally led
- Organizations have to be led locally
- The power dynamics for outsiders with a different skin color
- Participatory and local leadership has been Carolina for Kibera’s success
- Being the backseat and not in the front seat
- The Executive Director must be from the community or at least a reference point to it
- The Board of Directors must reflect the community
- The community itself must be involved in the decision-making
- Post-election violence in Kibera put CFK’s medical clinic at risk. They had to decide if they were going to keep it open during the crisis. The staff members took a decision together, and these decisions are life or death.
- Letting decisions be made at a local level
- Why Rye still deliberates today on the decision he took with his colleague, Cash.
- Integrity is everything.
- It’s easier to maintain integrity when you have Maslow’s hierarchy of needs taken care of
- Rye’s take on asking for money.
- Rye sent out 600 letters in his first fundraising campaign and the surprising result
- “Find the 5% who will care about your cause.”
- Rye’s first public speech for Carolina for Kibera and how he felt
- Rye’s public speaking routine now and how he works on his craft
- How Rye’s experience in the ROTC and Marines shaped his experience in Kibera
- Integrity is about doing the right thing when nobody is looking
- Analysis Paralysis
- OODA Loop decision making
- What is was like when Barack Obama visited CFK’s project site inside Kibera
- Rye’s take on slum tourism and why authenticity matters when an organization is hosting guests
- Why CFK is able to stay so lean and punch above its weight
- Rye’s take on selling things to generate revenue for your nonprofit organization
- Exceed expectations to help with fundraising
- CFK is working with the CDC to design long-term initiatives on water and sanitation for Kibera
- Julian Rowa, the new Executive Director for Carolina for Kibera was a boxer
- Rye’s advice on writing a book