Tom was born and raised in Nyabera village in Migori County, Kenya. Now he has developed a reputation as an award-winning social entrepreneur, a community-mobilizer,  mental health innovator, and a thought leader

brief bio

Since 18, Tom has built organizations that challenge the status quo

As a mental health pioneer, Tom started Shamiri Institute to provide world class mental health to Sub-Saharan Africa’s youths.  

As a clean energy pioneer, Tom co-founded GreenChar, aged only 18, to provide thousands of families in rural Kenya that depended on dirty wood-fuels (like Tom’s) with affordable clean energy.

As a thought-leader, Tom is leading the Cultural Agents revolution in Africa to revive the long humanistic tradition that combines arts and research in the service of civic development.


Tom Osborn is the co-founder and CEO of ShamiriInstitute, a data-driven public benefit organization that combines cutting social science and deep contextual knowledge to provide accessible mental healthcare to young people across Sub-Sharan Africa and especially Kenya.

Born and raised in poverty in rural Kenya, Tom has developed a reputation as an award-winning social entrepreneur, community mobilizer, and global mental health innovator.

At only 19, he was named on the global “Forbes 30 under 30” list for Social Entrepreneurs. At 18, he was named the youngest ever recipient of the Echoing Green Fellowship. Tom is a 2021 TED Fellow, a distinction given to doers who have shown unusual accomplishment, exceptional courage, and are creating positive change around the world. He was won numerous other prizes including Women Deliver’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year and the Donor'sCircle for Africa Energy Prize. Tom has also published >15 articles in leading scientific journals.

At 18, Tom co-founded GreenChar which provided low-income families in Kenya with affordable and clean cooking energy. He has also served as the Africa Director of CulturalAgents, a platform for academics, artists, community leaders, and active to revive a long humanistic tradition that combines arts and research in the service of civic development.

Tom is an advocate for youth inclusion in entrepreneurship and innovation as means to securing the future of Africa’s youthful population. He has given talks around the world on how locally led solutions can lift communities out of poverty and provide a future for Africa’s youthful population. He mentors African startup founders and leaders who are starting ventures that challenge the status quo.

The son of sugarcane farmers, Tom grew up in rural Kenya and his education was only possible because of $300,000 in scholarships. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (High Honors) in Psychology from Harvard University. He now lives inNairobi, Kenya. He enjoys painting and photography, watching football (soccer),and traveling.


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