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New Standard Chartered investment strategy targets the youth

Futuremakers seeks to build on the community impact and achievements of Seeing is Believing/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 6 – Standard Chartered Bank today launched its new community investment approach called Futuremakers by Standard Chartered. The initiative focuses on helping the next generation learn, earn and grow.

Futuremakers by Standard Chartered seeks to build on the community impact and achievements of Seeing is Believing.

The programme aims to empower young people with education, employability and entrepreneurship opportunities. “More than 20% of Kenyans are youth, yet the economic opportunities to finding decent work or starting a business, are dismally low.

“This is just not good enough. Standard Chartered Bank must be part of supporting and finding solutions that bridge inequality and drive sustainable growth,” said Kariuki Ngari, CEO Standard Chartered Bank. “Through our Futuremakers programme, our global ambition is to raise US$50 million and we will empower 500,000 adolescent girls, support 100,000 youth towards employability, and build the entrepreneurship capability of 50,000 micro, small businesses,” Kariuki added.

For the past 15 years, the Bank has been championing tackling avoidable blindness and visual impairment – through its programme, Seeing is Believing. Last year, the Bank achieved its global target of raising USD 100 Million towards Seeing is Believing, two years ahead of target.

The Seeing is Believing initiative has supported over 170,000 surgical eye interventions, trained over 2000 health workers, screened more than 6 million people locally, upgraded more than 10 eye health facilities and supported development of Peek Acuity – a mobile app engineered by eye experts to allow anyone to check visual acuity (eye sight) using only an Android smartphone.

This app can be downloaded for free from an Android app store. “Seeing is Believing and Standard Chartered have played a key role in raising nation-wide awareness and action on avoidable blindness and visual impairment. Private sector needs to do their part, like Standard Chartered, to positively impact communities for the long term,” said Dr. Gichangi, Head of Ophthalmic Services Unit, Ministry of Health.

National and global studies from leading organisations, like Twaweza East African and Oxfam International in recent reports published in 2018 and 2017 respectively show that inequality continues to rise in Kenya and these reports urge for urgent more concerted action to address the inequality gap.

The Bank already has existing programmes in place supporting education, employability and entrepreneurship. In 2018, the Bank engaged over 3,000 girls in life skills capability building, provided more than 250 young women with employability and entrepreneurship opportunities, and trained 9,000 youth with financial capabilities.

In partnership with Strathmore University, the Bank incubated 20 women-led startups with business and technology skills and awarded five of these enterprises with Kshs.1 million each as seed-funding.

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At the launch, the Bank also called on its stakeholders to continue supporting The Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon. “The Marathon is how we engage well-wishers to Run For A Reason and raise funds to support our community initiatives. This year and going forward all funds raised will go to supporting youth,” said, Peter Gitau, Chair of the Bank’s Marathon Local Organising Committee.

Last year, the marathon raised over Kes 35,000,000 from more than 18,000 people who registered to participate. All marathon proceeds go to the Bank’s community programmes.

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