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Equity spends Sh180m on bright Kenyans

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – Two hundred and fifty top performers in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary School Examination (KCSE) will have their university fees paid by the Equity Bank University Sponsorship, Leadership and Mentorship programme.

The top boy and girl in the 2010 KCSE in every district that Equity Bank operates will benefit from the Bank’s internship programme, meant to nurture and develop them to become future transformational leaders.

To date, 1,050 students have benefitted from this programme since its inception in 1998.The students get the rare chance for internship with Equity Bank before proceeding to university for studies.

This year, Equity Bank will spend Sh180 million towards the programme at a cost of Sh720,000 on each of the 250 students, which will support their university education and upkeep.

The launch of this year’s programme by Equity Bank is momentous as it comes hot on the heels of the launch of the Wings To Fly scholarship fund, a nine-year joint initiative between the Equity Group Foundation and The MasterCard Foundation to assist disadvantaged, but academically gifted Kenyan students pursue secondary school education. The Sh4 billion partnership covers tuition, books, uniforms and pocket money and shopping for 5,600 students who could not have proceeded to secondary school. This year, 1200 children received their scholarships and 400 of them joined national schools.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s programme, Dr James Mwangi, the Equity Bank Managing Director and CEO said:  “The achievement of quality education for Kenyan students should no longer be seen as an end in itself. Education should be holistic, imparting students with the right skills, values and mindset aimed at making them responsible and accountable citizens of this country.”

He added: “The ultimate aim of the Equity University sponsorship, leadership and mentorship programme is to nurture and create social transformational leaders who will act as change agents from the grassroots to the national level.”

Dr Mwangi, who is also the chairman of Kenya’s economic blueprint Vision 2030 Delivery Board  said the  programme was one among the several interventions that the Bank had come up with to compliment the government’s efforts in its crusade to enhance development of skills that are relevant to the growth of the economy and achievement of Kenya’s Vision 2030.

Dr Mwangi said the Equity Group Foundation would also assist the beneficiaries apply for scholarships in “Ivy League” institutions like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Stanford. Already, 10 of the beneficiaries of last year’s programme have joined Harvard, Yale, MIT and London School of Economics. An additional four scholars have received admissions to Amherst College, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania and Williams College in the US while one won the President’s UK scholarship Award tenable in several top UK universities.

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Upon completing their university education, the scholars have an opportunity to join the Bank for permanent employment where they get a chance to utilize their skills and knowledge.

The scholars are  trained in not only all aspects of the banking which will form their major pre-occupation,  but also on other aspects like leadership, interpersonal skills, mentorship, communication and work ethics.

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