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.
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:
- Must be Academically Promising – Prospective scholars must be in the top 5 percentile performing students in their District in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination.
- Must be a bona fide Orphan or Vulnerable Child (as defined below);
- Children who have lost one or both parents and have no guardian or sponsor to provide for their education; OR
- Children whose parents are physically or mentally disabled and are unable to educate their children; OR
- Children whose parents are living with HIV/AIDS or other chronic debilitating illness and are unable to educate their children; OR
- Children from families affected by natural disasters such as flooding, drought, and famine or civil conflict and are unable to educate their children; OR
- Children who have suffered neglect and/or abandonment; OR
- Children with parents living under extreme poverty and are unable to educate their children.
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.