President Uhuru Kenyatta Commissions the Equity Group Foundation 2015 Wings to Fly Scholars

…Expresses appreciation for private sector support in education delivery and financing

16/1…President Uhuru Kenyatta, has expressed the government’s appreciation for the ongoing support by private sector players in facilitating quality education delivery in the country.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony for the fifth class of the Wings to Fly comprehensive scholarship program, President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed that the government would continue facilitating private sector partnerships that promote education access.

The President further implored Kenyans including Governors and Members of Parliament to lend a helping hand to needy but bright students by supporting bursary programmes such as the Wings to Fly initiative.

In recent years, the quality of education, he noted, has significantly improved as evidenced by the high number of students who managed to attain a KCPE mean score of 350marks and above last year.

Based on the Wings to Fly program statistics, Equity Group Foundation Chairman, Dr James Mwangi noted that thousands of needy Kenyans, had managed to perform exceptionally well with more than 20,000 needy and qualified scholars applying for the Wings to Fly scholarships against the programmes absorption capacity of 2,000 students this year.

“In effect, this means that we have more and more children from poor backgrounds who are performing very well academically. These, are Kenyans who can play a key role in breaking the poverty cycle if they are afforded a chance to pursue their education,” Dr Mwangi said. And added: “At Equity Group Foundation, we shall continue playing our part to alleviate the plight of the needy but academically gifted students and we also call upon other institutions to join us in this journey including CDF Committees, Individuals and corporates.”

With the commissioning of the 2,000 students this year, the Wings to Fly Program will now have extended scholarships to a total of 10,377 beneficiaries in five years.

Equity Group Foundation and The MasterCard Foundation, with support from USAID, UKAid and KfW and other organizations and individuals under the Wings to Fly program have been implementing the scholarship support program for top performing yet needy - orphan or vulnerable - students in the locations across Kenya where Equity Bank has a branch.

Speaking at the same function, Germany Ambassador to Kenya Andreas Peschke confirmed that the German Government through development bank KfW will continue supporting the Wings to fly initiative as part of its bilateral support for Kenya.

The envoys message was also echoed by his American counterpart, Robert Godec and the British High Commissioner Christian Turner, who all singled out the project as a strong poverty eradication model.

Through the comprehensive scholarship, school expenses such as tuition, and other expenses associated with the cost of attending a secondary school - boarding, books, uniform, transport costs, pocket money are covered.

The pupils also have the opportunity to receive mentoring and leadership development to equip them for excellence.

President Kenyatta in his speech commended Equity Group Foundation for supporting education in the country.

“Although the government is tasked with the mandate to ensure education for all, it is through such partnerships that the children of this great nation – who are the beneficiaries – can prosper. The gains of the Wings to Fly program are not lost to us,” he said.

He went on to add that the government has pulled all the stops to ensure that schools are well equipped and managed by qualified teachers to guarantee quality education for all.

The MasterCard Foundation CEO and President Reeta Roy encouraged the pupils to take with them their good performance to their next level of education.

“You are a chosen lot and must remember that though you have had to struggle to this point, you have our support and should have the hope that you will realize your dreams one day. Education is the best gift we can present to you to help you achieve all that you have set your heart to as it is the channel through which you can shape your bright future,” she said.

Since the introduction of free primary school education in 2003, a large number of students have been able to access primary school education yet the transition rate to secondary school did not reflect the numbers.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Jacob Kaimenyi said that the Ministry of Education is committed to providing appropriate education programs for all Kenyan children in line with Kenya’s Vision 2030.

“With the support of organizations such as the Equity Group Foundation and The MasterCard Foundation we will make good progress in making education more inclusive and accessible to children who come from financially constrained backgrounds across all regions.”

Besides the support provided by voluntary welfare organizations, the community also plays an important role in helping students grow and overcoming their challenges,” he concluded.

The enrolment to primary schools dramatically increased from 5.8 million in 2003 to 8.6 million in 2008, however only 64 per cent of primary students move on to secondary school. These were the figures that motivated the inception of the Wings To Fly initiative.

 

About Wings to Fly program

Equity Group Foundation with funding support from The MasterCard Foundation, Equity Bank, USAID, UKAid & KfW under the Wings to Fly program has been implementing a scholarship support program for top performing yet needy (orphan or vulnerable) students in the counties across Kenya. In providing this opportunity to Kenyan children who may have otherwise gone unnoticed, the Wings to Fly program is in line with Kenya’s vision 2030 to transform Kenya into a middle-income economy led by well-educated and trained citizens.

The objective of the scholarship program is to provide financial support and leadership empowerment tools to such students. The scholars under this program receive support for all their needs (tuition, accommodation, books, uniform, and transport to and from school, shopping and pocket money) while attending secondary school for the 4 years. The program aims to provide 10, 000 secondary school scholarships by 2015.

About Equity Group Foundation

Equity Group Foundation was established by Equity Bank to create the financial and operational infrastructure for social programs aimed at low-income population. This innovation and creative vehicle has fully transformed the concept of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. While Equity Group Foundation champions the social economic transformation of the people of Africa and seeks partnership along six cluster thematic areas, Equity Bank provides the infrastructure of delivery hence reducing the operational cost of the Foundation and increasing the rate of return on any social investment.

Equity Group Foundation with funding support from The MasterCard Foundation, Equity Bank , USAID UKAid & KfW under the Wings to Fly program has been implementing a scholarship support program for top performing yet needy (orphan or vulnerable) students in the counties across Kenya. In partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, EGF is training a targeted 1 million youth and women in financial education. The Foundation has also been instrumental in agricultural transformation under the green revolution for Africa under its Kilimo Biashara initiative in partnership with AGRA, Government of Kenya and IFAD. The Foundation focuses on six key social thematic areas of Education and Leadership development, Financial Literacy and Access, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, Health, Innovation and environmental protection.

The MasterCard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $9 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 46 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is a separate and independent entity. The policies, operations, and funding decisions of the Foundation are determined by its own Board of Directors and President and CEO.

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