, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday launched a Sh300 million scholarship and mentorship programme under the Raila Odinga Foundation to support education in East Africa.
The foundation has been operational since 2006 offering mentorship programmes to under privileged children.
“We are now formally establishing the Raila Odinga Centre (ROC) to mobilise resources and extend integration among the students in the East African Community; in other words we want to expand the scope and give children in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania holistic education that enables them to achieve their potential,” said the PM.
He said the centre will seek to build partnerships with the private sector to run the mentorship programme for the children.
Odinga said the effort was in line with
Vision 2030 that envisages accessibility of education to all children in the country, adding that the aim is to provide students even in rural areas with holistic education that will make them competitive in the international job market.
Former Attorney General Charles Njonjo who was among the guests at the launch said; ” to support what the PM has done we should all commit ourselves and say that we are going to give something to this worthy cause.”
The Centre which currently supports 1,000 students has established a representative board to recruit staff across the East African community to mobilise resources and strengthen regional integration.
ROC Programme Director Jamila Ellison said the centre was still developing its leadership programme which when completed will mould the youth into open minded and proactive leaders that inspire society.
“We will leverage on such associations to promote mentorship programmes amongst leading industrialists, businessmen, entrepreneurs, and other professionals,” she said during a fundraising breakfast meeting for the centre that was attended by the diplomatic corps and private sector.
The centre which is located in Langata constituency will from the year 2014, enrol learners from nursery school level to Form Four. It will also encourage out-of-school children into the education system.
The centre has partnered with CISCO, a company that develops computer programs, and will forge such several partnerships for the benefit of the students.
“This upgrade will be a turning point in youth education and will produce academically excellent and well-rounded students,” Ellison said.
Odinga said he was following in the footsteps of his father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga whom he described as “a great philanthropist.”
Equity Group Foundation, Education pillar general manager Christopher Khaemba described the programme as the fastest vehicle to the integration of the East African region.
“Bringing change means investing in the youth of the region, and helping them to achieve their potential through mentorship programmes,” he said.