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.