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Equity Bank academic airlifts reaches 329 scholars

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Equity Bank Group’s airlift to global universities has reached 329 scholars with a total scholarship value of Ksh8.225 billion. Sixty-four of them are from the 2016 airlift and have set off to their respective universities in different parts of the world.

The 64 are part of the 605 scholars earlier selected to join the Equity Leaders Programme (ELP) in 2015, having excelled as scholars in the Wings to Fly Programme in KCSE the previous year. The ELP programme has started recording an increase in the number of scholars gaining admission to global university annually with 2015 and 2016 accounting for 129 admissions after benefiting from the MasterCard Global Scholarship fund of US $ 500 million launched in 2014.

Speaking from Equity Centre at a ceremony to see off the class of 2016 scholars, Equity Group CEO and Executive Chairman of Equity Group Foundation Dr James Mwangi advised the scholars to remain true to their mission abroad, which is academic pursuit, leadership training, networking and global exposure.

“Be proud of your identity and your roots. You will be differentiated by your values, culture and belief systems. You will meet and interact with other global citizens from different cultures and socialisations. Always remember that they are not necessarily better than you, they are just different,” he said.

The 2016 cohort posses with Equity group's senior management.

“After you achieve your academic goals, remember to come back home and participate in building our great nation, beginning with your immediate family and local communities”

Dr Mwangi said the programme epitomizes the Tom Mboya academic airlift in the 1960’s that saw the likes of Barack Obama Snr and the late Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai get higher education.

He said that the Equity Leaders Programme has now supported 3,405 scholars since inception with the number of those studying abroad as of this year reaching 329 scholars from all over the country. About 90% of the ELP Scholars access local public universities while 10% are assisted to gain admission in global leading universities so that they get global experience and exposure.

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The scholars are exposed  and have an opportunity to build global networks and experiences , so that their training and learning, personal life and professional experiences and future goals will be aligned to their society and community goals and will help to transform education and promote social economic transformation of our country. The ELP programme is in line with Kenya’s Vision 2030 of transforming Kenya into a globally competitive middle income economy by the year 2030.

The Equity Leaders Programme is a transition pre-university programme from the successful Wings To Fly Secondary School Scholarship Programme for bright gifted but financially challenged children executed by Equity Group in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation with support of USAID, UKAID and Kfw.

The Wings To Fly secondary school programme has so far benefited 12,377 students at a cost of over Ksh12 billion (US$120 million) of in comprehensive secondary school scholarship that cover their tuition, pocket money, transport, uniform and annual congress. To date 3,400 students have completed their secondary school education while close to 9,000 are still in secondary school.

Achieving Vision 2030

“Kenya’s main potential lies in its people – their capacity, creativity, work ethic, education, knowledge, wisdom and entrepreneurial spirit and resilience….These scholars are the Vision 2030 generation. They will gain global experience and exposure and will bring those skills and competitiveness back to Kenya and support in its journey of achieving Vision 2030,” said Dr Mwangi.

To date, more than 1,029 beneficiaries are gainfully employed in leadership positions across the world and others pursuing their post-graduate studies. More than 2,376 ELP scholars are still pursuing their undergraduate degrees and will soon be graduating in various disciplines in local and international universities.

The Equity Leaders Programme also offers a paid internship programme at the bank. It is anchored as an advanced leadership development initiative which selects the top Wings to Fly scholars who attain grade ‘A’ as well as  the top boy and top girl   in the KCSE exams from all the counties, to develop them into world-class leaders.

This year, of the 64 ELP scholars set to join global universities; 53 will be pursuing their undergraduate studies, 8 postgraduate studies, and 3 will be studying post-secondary diploma at the African Leadership Academy.

Some of the leading institutions that have admitted ELP Scholars for the last six years include:

 Institution Country Number of Scholars
Harvard University US 19
African Leadership Academy South Africa 26
Ashesi University Ghana 15
University of Toronto Canada 15
Yale University US 15
University of Pretoria South Africa 16
Arizona State University US 10
Duke University US 11
University of Pennsylvania US 11
Cornell University US 9
Amherst College US 9
Williams College US 8
Stanford University US 7

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