Ida Odinga, biography

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Ida Odinga’s biography is not just a chronicle of her achievements but a blueprint for aspiring change-makers.

Ida Betty Odinga, a name synonymous with resilience and empowerment, has carved a niche for herself as a formidable force in Kenya’s socio-political landscape. Born Ida Anyango Oyoo on August 24, 1950, in Migori, Kenya, Ida’s journey is one of triumph over adversity, a testament to her indomitable spirit.

Early Life and Education

Ida’s early years were marked by the loss of her father, Nehemiah Oyoo, when she was just six. Despite this, she pursued her education with vigor, attending Ogande Girls for high school and later the University of Nairobi. It was here that she earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1973 and met her future husband, Raila Odinga.

Career and Activism

Ida’s professional life began in the classroom, where she shaped the minds of young Kenyans at The Kenya High School. Her role as an educator extended beyond academics; she was a mentor and a guide, influencing future leaders like the late Governor of Bomet County, Joyce Laboso.

The political turmoil of the 1980s saw Ida’s husband, Raila, imprisoned, and she faced the daunting task of raising their children alone. Her resilience shone through as she balanced her career and family life, even after being expelled from her teaching position due to her husband’s political stance.

In 1991, Ida founded the League of Kenya Women Voters, advocating for women’s participation in politics. Her activism didn’t stop there; she championed causes for health, education, and the eradication of societal ills like breast cancer and fistulas.

Business Leadership

Ida’s foray into the corporate world was marked by her becoming the managing director of the East African Spectre in 2003, a milestone that made her one of the first women to head a major Kenyan company. Her leadership and vision earned her recognition as one of Kenya’s most powerful women in 2010.

Personal Strength and Influence

Ida’s influence extends beyond her public roles. She is a mother and a partner, navigating the complexities of life with grace and strength. Her advocacy for education is personal, as she believes in the power of knowledge to uplift and empower, especially for women.

Legacy and Future

As we look at Ida Odinga’s life, we see a narrative of courage, dedication, and unwavering commitment to bettering the lives of others. Her story inspires many, and her legacy will undoubtedly influence generations to come.

Ida Odinga’s life is a reminder that with determination and a heart for service, one can indeed make a significant impact. Let us honor her by continuing the work she has so passionately carried out and by ensuring that her legacy of empowerment and change lives on.

Ida Odinga Children

Ida Odinga and her husband Raila Odinga have been blessed with four children: two sons, Raila Odinga Junior and the late Fidel Odinga, and two daughters, Winnie Odinga and Rosemary Odinga. Unfortunately, their firstborn son, Fidel, passed away in 2015. The Odinga family is well-known in Kenya, not only for their political involvement but also for their contributions to society.

What Are Some Of Ida Odinga's Achievements?

Ida Odinga has made significant contributions in various fields. Here are some of her notable achievements:

  • Educational Advocacy: As an educator, she taught at The Kenya High School and mentored many, including the late Governor of Bomet County, Joyce Laboso.

  • Political Activism: She founded the League of Kenya Women Voters in 1991 to promote women’s participation in politics.

  • Health Campaigns: Ida has been a strong advocate for the prevention of breast cancer and fistulas, as well as the eradication of the chigoe flea.

  • Corporate Leadership: She became the managing director of the East African Spectre in 2003, becoming one of the first women to head a major Kenyan company.

  • Community Service: She has served on the board of directors for an organization that aids paraplegics and has been involved in mentoring schoolgirls.

  • Philanthropy: Ida is the founder of the Ida Odinga Trust foundation, which focuses on women’s rights, and she supports several groups including the Freedom from Fistula Foundation, the Kenya Women’s Medical Association, and the Kenya Breast Health Organisation.

These achievements reflect her dedication to improving the lives of others and her commitment to social and political progress in Kenya.

Ida Odinga Net Worth

Ida Odinga’s net worth is reported to be approximately $1.5 million. This estimation reflects her success as an entrepreneur and her involvement in various projects and campaigns that contribute to health, education, peace, and women’s empowerment in Kenya.

What Are Some Of Ida Odinga's Business Ventures?

Ida Odinga has been involved in several business ventures, reflecting her entrepreneurial spirit. Here are some of her business engagements:

  • East African Spectre: Ida became the managing director of East African Spectre, a company that manufactures liquified gas cylinders, in 2003. This position marked her as one of the first women to head a major Kenyan company.

  • Educational Development: She has shown a commitment to educational development through her plans to build a state-of-the-art library, research, and innovation center at Ogande Girls High School in Homa Bay county. The project, described as catering to the needs of budding future leaders in Kenya, is projected to cost more than Sh300 million.

  • Kango Enterprises: Alongside her husband, Raila Odinga, Ida Betty Odinga co-owns Kango Enterprises.

These ventures not only highlight her business acumen but also her dedication to social development and empowerment in Kenya.

Controversy And Activism Of Ida Odinga

Ida Odinga is well-known for her activism and has been involved in various controversies and political movements. Here are some key points regarding her activism and controversies:

  • Activism: Ida Odinga has been a staunch advocate for women’s rights and political participation. She founded the League of Kenya Women Voters in 1991, which promotes opportunities for women in the political arena. She has also been vocal about health issues, including the prevention of breast cancer and fistulas, and the eradication of the chigoe flea.

  • Support for Constitutional Amendment: In November 2018, Ida Odinga endorsed Bill 2018, which aimed to amend the Constitution of Kenya to guarantee the nomination of female candidates and MPs to Parliament. She appeared in Parliament to support sitting women MPs during the debate. However, the bill failed to pass in the National Assembly in February 2019, despite vocal support from Ida Odinga, President Uhuru Kenyatta, and other prominent politicians and activists.

  • Controversy: Ida Odinga has expressed her opinions on various matters, including the role of church leaders in society. For instance, she suggested that the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) should ensure church leaders go through training to provide quality service to the congregation.

Her activism and involvement in these issues demonstrate her commitment to social change and her willingness to engage in public discourse for the betterment of society.


Ida Odinga’s biography is not just a chronicle of her achievements but a blueprint for aspiring change-makers. It’s a story that resonates with the ethos of Kenya and the spirit of its people. As we celebrate her life, we are reminded of the power of one person’s resolve to make a difference in the world.