Barclays Bank of Kenya has today launched a three year scholarship programme which will provide bright but needy university students with fees and upkeep money.
The bank has set aside Kshs.65 million to support the fund in the 2017/18 academic year. Each student will receive Kshs.150000 which will cover tuition and accommodation fees, laptop purchase and upkeep money.
The Scholarship will primarily benefit students who are orphans or are from single parent households. To drive diversity and inclusion, the bank will ensure that beneficiaries meet a 50:50 gender split and that at least 4% of the beneficiaries will be persons living with disabilities. Beneficiaries will be drawn from all the 47 counties.
“This programme gives us a chance to impact the lives of young Kenyans who excel academically but are financially disadvantaged. It will support young people, who otherwise would not be able to pay university fees, access quality education and therefore contribute positively to the growth of our economy,” said Jeremy Awori, Managing Director, Barclays Bank of Kenya.
The Scholarship is part of a Kshs.12.5 billion Pan African initiative which is being steered by Barclays Africa’s Group CEO, Maria Ramos to support the Education and Skills pillar of the shared growth agenda. The Scholarship will run for the next three years and will cover the ten countries that Barclays Africa operates in. In 2016 by Barclays Africa, the shared growth agenda, which is anchored on three key pillars: Education and Skills; Enterprise Development; and Financial Inclusion, takes the view that for the bank to prosper, society must prosper.
“This is the culmination of a journey that has seen our citizenship programme, evolve from philanthropy to the current strategic business approach under our shared growth agenda. The shared growth approach is about making decisions and doing business that provides our clients, customers, shareholders and the communities we serve with access to a prosperous future,” said Mr. Awori.
Barclays has partnered with the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to administer the fund on its behalf.
“HELB has in recent years embarked on external resource mobilization to supplement funding through government capitation. In the spirit of devolution and public private partnerships, interested parties who wish to partner with us in empowering the dreams of Kenyan youth through higher education students financing solutions have been engaged. HELB therefore provides a platform for those who wish to support deserving needy students pursue higher education or build capacity in certain critical cadres. HELB currently has 15 partners and is currently managing external funds in excess of Kshs 1.5 Billion outside the traditional funding sources,” said Charles Ringera, HELB CEO.
“This has led to financing over 20,000 students who would have otherwise missed an opportunity to pursue higher education or train in cadres of their choice. Among these beneficiaries, we have over 12,000 middle level health workers who have benefited from such partnerships. County governments and Constituencies have also come on board in their effort to streamline management of their loan and bursary schemes while ensuring sustainability through County and Constituencies revolving funds. We are therefore pleased to partner with Barclays Bank Kenya and bring on board our expertise in higher education student financing operations,” he added.
Barclays has in the past 5 years invested hundreds of millions of shillings in citizenship programmes designed to equip the youth with the skills they need to build successful businesses or become productive employees.
In 2016, the bank launched the ReadytoWork programme, which is a free online programme that provides students in tertiary institutions with money, life, entrepreneurship and job skills requisite to enable them make a smooth transition into the world of work.
To further drive uptake, the bank is working in partnership with the University of Nairobi, Strathmore, Care International, Shining Hopes for Communities (SHOFCO) and Ministry of ICT’s Ajira initiative to drive uptake. So far, more than 130,000 students have registered for the course.