Some 92 scholars from the Equity Leadership Program (ELP) comprising of Wings to Fly alumni beneficiaries as well as those who topped the 2019 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination in their respective sub counties have received admission to 43 global universities.
The 43 institutions are across five continents in different countries including the United States, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda and South Africa.
A statement to newsrooms indicates that with this year’s admission ( the largest single year cohort), the total number of scholars who have so far gained admission to global universities under the Equity Leaders Program is 633.
The global scholars will benefit from undergraduate scholarships valued at over USD 18M (slightly over Sh2 billion) and would receive a stipend of Sh16 million to facilitate their preparation and travel to their host countries.
Commenting on the admissions when releasing Sh16 million for air tickets, Equity Group Foundation (EGF) Executive Chairman, Dr. James Mwangi noted that despite the prevailing global pandemic, EGF through its Education and Leadership Development pillar has been able to coach and mentor bright, promising youth, to deliver the highest single year admissions and scholarship for airlift in search of higher education.
“We are proud of our ELP scholars for the hard work that they have put into this. Their dedication, consistency and perseverance has seen them gain admission into some of the best institutions of higher learning in the world including the Ivy League Universities,” said Dr. Mwangi.
Of the 92, 19 scholars have been admitted to Ivy League Universities in the United States including Yale (2), Harvard (4), University of Pennsylvania (3), Princeton (3), Cornell (1), Dartmouth (2), Columbia (2) and Brown (2).
“We have equipped our ELP scholars with the knowledge and skills to navigate new cultures and to thrive in any environment they are placed in. We challenge them to go and conquer the world by excelling in their academics and taking up key leadership roles and contributing to changing narratives about Africa as well as transform lives,” added Dr. Mwangi.
ELP provides a paid internship to top performing secondary school scholars including Wings to Fly alumni beneficiaries. The program aims to educate and provide mentorship and exposure to Kenyan youth and create a generation of value-based leaders, who would bring about positive change in the community by driving sustainable economic growth and social progress in Kenya and globally.
Maxwell Ojiambo, a Wings to Fly alumnus and an ELP scholar who is set to join Stanford University to pursue Electrical Engineering said, “My experience in Wings to Fly and ELP has taught me that tough times don’t last forever. Equity took a chance on me and they turned me into a promising young man with big dreams and a great vision for the future. I am truly grateful for the experience.”
Another ELP scholar, Joanne Nekoye who is set to pursue Computer Science at Brown University said, “I am excited to start a new chapter in my life. I joined ELP as a top KCSE performer and the experience has been unique. My application process to Brown was seamless and I also learnt a lot about leadership, responsibility and giving back through my internship at Equity. I hope to come back home to share my skills and newfound knowledge. I sincerely appreciate Equity and its partners for believing in me and other young people in our country.”
Since inception in 1998, ELP has supported 6,713 paid internships by Equity Bank at a cost of approximately Sh3 billion. Of these, 633 have been coached and mentored to secure admission and scholarship to enable their transition to global universities while the majority study locally in leading universities. Some 33 per cent of the ELP interns are continuing scholars, while 67 per cent have graduated from various institutions and have become productive members in community building.
The first ELP scholar, Samuel Kirubi, has since scaled up in his professional career to become the Managing Director of Equity Bank Uganda.
ELP global scholars do return to Kenya during their summer holidays to team up with their colleagues in local universities and spend their time mentoring the incoming ELP scholars on how to apply for college admissions, as well as preparing them for life in universities locally or abroad.