NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – Equity Group Foundation and the Mastercard Foundation have partnered to support over 14,600 students in the Wings to Fly and Elimu scholarship programs to access education at home during the current COVID-19 lockdown.
According to the Foundations, secondary school Scholars have been provided with a solar powered device to ensure continued access to their lessons currently being aired on Government-owned radio and TV stations.
Each of the 13,800 secondary school students and 800 alumni of the Wings to Fly scholarship program currently in Technical and Vocational Education and Training will also receive a monthly stipend for June through August to enable them to access essential food and personal items.
Academic institutions across the country were closed in March to combat the coronavirus, with the government moving the delivery of the curriculum to broadcast channels and digital platforms.
Beryl Sheryl Owambo, a Form Four Wings to Fly Scholar from Migori said, “I am really grateful for the solar lamps that you bought for us. It really inspired me during this period when we really needed to be at school.”
“We wanted the Scholars to have an equal opportunity through continued access to their class lessons during this difficult stay-at-home period. With many of them coming from financially challenged backgrounds, access to a radio for purposes of following the classroom lessons was going to be a big challenge,” said Dr. James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings, and Executive Chairman of EGF.
“Additionally, with the majority of the Scholars not having access to electricity, we opted for solar-powered gadgets. We believe that the Scholars are now well-equipped to keep up to date with their lessons,”he added.
The device contains a radio and a mobile charging unit for cell phones as well as a lamp that can allow studying after dusk. Because each household contains 5-6 students, it is estimated the program will reach 70,000 learners with the curriculum as well as COVID-19 public health messages and advisories. EGF distributed the equipment through the Equity infrastructure of branches and its agency network across the country.
Daniel Hailu, Regional Head, Eastern, and Southern Africa at the Mastercard Foundation stated, “Advancing equitable and inclusive access to education remains a top priority for the Foundation. The impact of COVID-19 requires us to be intentional about how we ensure the pandemic doesn’t exacerbate existing gaps in education.”
Additionally, student households will receive a stipend of Sh3,000 per Scholar per month for three months, that will contribute to household needs for food and other essentials.
The stipends will also allow the beneficiaries to have airtime and data for mobile phone usage where possible.