Agnes Kariuki, founder and lead of Kenya’s Kibera Day Care Centre for the Elderly

Tribute to Agnes Kariuki


It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Agnes Kariuki, founder and lead of Kenya’s Kibera Day Care Centre for the Elderly and a stalwart champion of the rights and wellbeing of older people.

A journey of service

Agnes Kariuki was a remarkable woman who led the Kibera Day Care Centre for the Elderly (KDCCE). Her vision, compassion, and unwavering dedication profoundly impacted the lives of older people in the Kibera informal settlement, in Kenya and beyond.

Agnes Kariuki’s journey began in 1985 while working with the Kenya Water for Health Organisation (KWAHO) as an Extension Field Officer. Her work in health sanitation, hygiene promotion, and income-generating activities for women and youth groups revealed the plight of older people in the community. They faced neglect, abuse, lack of medical care, and unmet basic needs. In response, Agnes took on the challenge of creating a haven for older people and set up the KDCCE.

Foundation and growth of KDCCE

Registered with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection on October 25, 1989, KDCCE started with just 17 older people. Under Agnes’ visionary leadership, the organisation has grown to support over 3,200 older people through 31 Older Persons Associations (OPAs).

Her dedication to improving the lives of older people is evident in all her initiatives, from providing meals and conducting home visits, to organising medical camps and recreational activities. Agnes’ efforts have ensured that older people in the Kibera informal settlement receive care and attention as equal rights holders in society.

Impact through partnerships and programmes

KDCCE’s partnership with HelpAge International has been instrumental in delivering a multitude of impactful programmes. It began with Age International’s previous ‘Adopt a Granny’ programme which supported 75 grandmothers, enabling them to receive income to boost their businesses and improve their livelihoods.

Her commitment to social protection was further demonstrated through the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) Inua Jamii 70+ cash transfer programme, where KDCCE played a crucial role in the mobilisation, recruitment and sensitisation of beneficiaries to the importance of social pensions.

Advocacy and empowerment

Agnes was a strong advocate for the rights of older people. Through the Age Demands Action campaign and various advocacy programmes, KDCCE rescued older men from deplorable conditions, providing them with better livelihoods.

In 2022, KDCCE partnered with the Akili Bomba Organisation for intergenerational dialogue, addressing mental health, drug abuse, crime, and violence within families. The initiative promoted inclusivity on the principle of ‘Leave No One Behind,’ ensuring that youth and older people were engaged in addressing the development initiatives in the community.

Agnes participating in a gender workshop with HelpAge network members and team in Kenya.

A beacon of hope

Agnes Kariuki’s legacy is one of hope, compassion, and relentless dedication. Her work has improved the lives of older people in Kibera and inspired countless others to join the cause. Her vision for a community where older people are respected, cared for, and included remains a guiding light for KDCCE and HelpAge International.

In Memoriam

“As we honour Agnes Kariuki, we celebrate her life and the indelible mark she has left on her community,” said Carole Osero Ageng’o, HelpAge International’s regional representative for Africa. “Her work has transformed the lives of many, and her legacy will continue to inspire and drive positive change. We are proud to have partnered with KDCCE and will continue to uphold Agnes’s mission of creating a world where every older person leads a dignified, healthy, and secure life.

“Rest in peace, Agnes Kariuki. Your spirit and dedication will live on in the hearts and lives of all those you have touched.”