By donating to the Wings To Fly program today, you will support a bright, deserving child to access secondary school education and ultimately to change their destiny and that of their families forever.
It costs an estimated KSH 600,000 (approximately $7000 USD) to educate one student through four years of secondary school. Investing in the youth is investing in the future.
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In 2011, the Equity Group Foundation launched the Wings To Fly program with the generous support of The MasterCard Foundation with the aim of granting over 10,000 comprehensive secondary school scholarships and leadership training to academically gifted yet economically and socially marginalized young Kenyans. The program defines social and economic vulnerability to include students who have lost of one or both parents, students whose parents are living with HIV or chronic illnesses and who are unable to educate their children, and families affected by disaster such as famine
The Program has been designed to give hope to bright, deserving children by giving them the opportunity to obtain an education and resultant benefits including better educational outcomes, improved chances of success in life, increased gender equality in secondary education, new opportunities for students from rural areas to access education and greater social integration among students.
In addition to a focus on academic excellence and achievement, the program's curriculum places an emphasis on skills development and networks to help students succeed in secondary school and beyond. Upon graduation, scholars with high academic achievements will be selected for internships with Equity Bank. They will be part of an alumni program that hosts annual conferences and facilitates networking with industry leaders.
Potential scholars are selected through a transparent and community owned selection process. District Scholarship Selection Boards (DSSB) are constituted in all recruiting districts under the coordination of the Equity Bank branch in the locality.
Students who rank in the top 5th percentile in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations are identified and screened based on factors of social and economic vulnerability. Local community partners who comprise the DSSB are responsible for the selection and interview process
The DSSB comprises of the following:
District Education Officer (Chairman), Equity Bank Branch Growth & Development Manager (Secretary & Coordinator), District Social Development Officer, a Bishop/Pastor/Sheikh/Imam, CDF Chairman, District Women leader, District Youth leader, Kenya Secondary School Heads Association Chairman, Kenya Primary School Heads Association Chairman, KTDA Zonal Director (for Tea Zones), Mayor/Chairman Council, and 2 Equity Agents Representatives (Lady & Gentleman).
The Wings To Fly program targets high achieving yet needy (orphan or vulnerable) students identified by assessing their performance at the nationally administered Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations (KCPE).
EGF, through the District Scholarship Selection Boards (DSSB), uses the following selection criteria for the scholarship:
In order to reach as many deserving students as possible in each participating district, Equity Group Foundation, leveraging on the infrastructure of Equity Bank, creates wide and deep awareness of the program using various avenues of communication. These include making announcements in public forums such as religious gatherings in churches and mosques, public barazas in villages, use of mass media including radio, posters mounted in public places such as towns, market centres, academic institutions, and letters to key opinion leaders such as the local administration, religious leaders, head teachers of schools as well as availing the information online.
One of the defining features of the Wings To Fly initiative is the transparency and inclusivity of the selection process. The program is gender and region balanced. Application is open to any student who comes from a financially disadvantaged family background and has scored among the top five percentile in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations in the participating districts.
Scholarship application forms are available at Equity Bank branches and Equity Agents as soon as the KCPE results are announced. Rigorous selection is then conducted by the District Scholarship Selection Boards (DSSB). The DSSBs have been institutionalized and serve as auxiliary organs of Equity Group Foundation. Their mandate includes selection of the program beneficiaries as well as tracking the academic performance and the general welfare of the scholars
Upon receiving applications from the candidates, the DSSBs review, shortlist, interview and select students to receive the scholarship using predefined criteria. Each DSSB is chaired by the District Education Officer (DEO) and coordinated by the Equity Bank branch manager(s) in that district. The Board comprises of a minimum of 13 local representative stakeholders including Heads of Primary & Secondary Schools Associations; District Social Development Officers; religious leaders; Constituency Development Fund (CDF) chair; local Women & Youth leaders; Equity Agent representatives, provincial and civic administration
The DSSB remains a crucial link in ensuring objectivity in the selection process, making it possible to verify the case put forth by the applicant. The wide representation of society in the DSSB makes the process widely accepted in the community as a transparent and inclusive process. To undertake its tracking and student welfare role, the DSSB holds at least two mentorship meetings with scholars in a year during school holidays during which scholars have an opportunity to share their academic performance, leadership and conduct at school.Home Visits
Candidates who meet the required criteria in order of merit during the interviews are then visited at their homes by the DSSB members to ascertain the information on level of need shared in their application forms and also during the interviews. A criteria for home visits guides DSSB members in all districts to ensure uniformity in the selection and identification process.District Flag Off Ceremonies
Once the scholars have been selected and named, each district organizes a Flag Off Ceremony to send the scholars to Nairobi for their induction and subsequent commissioning of their scholarship program. The ceremonies are organized by the DSSB and the forum is used to bring the scholars together, introduce them to each other, and provide some initial mentoring. This first encounter is critical to becoming the cohort, building camaraderie and cohesion, and creating a network amongst themselves, a relationship which they keep throughout their secondary school education, sharing experiences and encouraging one another.
As part of our commitment to the development of the individual, scholars in the Wings To Fly program participate in an intensive leadership and mentorship program throughout their secondary school education.
This culminates every year in an annual congress that brings together all Wings To Fly Scholars. Known as the Annual Education and Leadership Congress, the two-week session at Kenyatta University is the highlight of the leadership, mentoring and social transformation of the scholars under the Wings To Fly program. During the forum, the students get the opportunity to hear from, interact with and draw inspiration from leading luminaries from an array of fields including among others academia, the IT sector, media, civil society, government and captains of industry. The scholars also have an opportunity to renew their bonds and receive academic mentoring from big 'sisters' and 'brothers' who are scholars of the Equity Bank University Sponsorship Program.
The Wings To Fly scholars hold great leadership promise for Kenya. Many of the scholars continue to maintain exemplary performance and are demonstrating leadership capability by taking up roles such as school prefects, games captains, and club leaders while upholding discipline and focus on their academic pursuits. Many are role models both in their schools and in their communities. The students are making good use of the mentoring, coaching and counsel they receive every August during the Education and Leadership Congress. They have had the privilege of interacting with a wide range of renowned Kenyan and international personalities, including leaders, captains of industry, influencers and scholars, and motivational speakers.
We are very hopeful that the first cohort of Wings To Fly beneficiaries who sat for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams in 2013 will perform exemplary well in line with the promise that was seen in them at the beginning of their Wings To Fly journey.
A: Application forms are available at Equity Bank Branches and Equity Agents immediately after the release of KCPE results. Students can pick up and submit completed application forms at an Equity Bank branch or Equity Agent in the District where they attended primary school.Q: What are the criteria for qualification?
A: The program targets high achieving yet needy (orphan or vulnerable) students identified by assessing two main criteria based on academic performance at KCPE and social-economic vulnerability as follows:
A: Yes. Scholars are selected from all 47 Counties in Kenya. They are selected through a transparent and community-owned process conducted by a District Scholarship Selection Board (DSSB) comprising of 13 local representative stakeholders, two of who must be women, including chiefs, educators, civil society leaders, Equity Bank and Agent representatives and religious leaders.Q: What is the scholarship package?
A: The program offers a comprehensive scholarship package that includes tuition, books, uniforms, transportation and pocket money for all four years of the student’s secondary education. Scholars also receive leadership development, career guidance and mentoring to ensure they achieve their full potential.Q: Can the marks be lowered from 350 to below 300 as there are many needy kids who do not reach 350?
A: The program targets students who have achieved the top 5% in their District with a benchmark of 350. This ensures that the top students who may not have been able to attend secondary school are provided an opportunity to move from the poverty that hitherto defined their lives to leap into a bright, more prosperous future for themselves, their families, communities and the country.Q: Does the program sponsor children with a disability or chronic illness?
A: The Wings To Fly programme does not exclude any student on the basis of disability or illness.Q: Does the program provide medical support?
A: The Wings To Fly programme provides medical support for emergency cases and on as-needed-basis for eyeglasses.Q: Does the program support the families of the students they take?
A: The Wings To Fly program does not support the families of beneficiaries. It is a secondary school scholarship program that supports students to attend secondary school for the full four years.Q: Can non-Kenyan children apply for scholarships?
A: Only Kenyan children are eligible for the scholarship.Q: Does Wings To Fly select the schools that the scholars attend?
A: The Wings To Fly program does not select the schools for beneficiaries. The programme supports them in the schools they have been admitted to by the Ministry of Education.Q: How is my contribution used?
A: All contributions received for the Wings To Fly scholarship program will be utilized by Equity Group Foundation to provide scholarships to selected students. Equity Bank will continue to provide in-kind contributions, as well as financial support, to EGF to ensure that donor funds are used effectively and efficiently to support as many students as possible while maintaining high standards for the services provided each Wings To Fly scholar.