The MasterCard Foundation announced a newUS$60 million commitment for the “Wings to Fly Scholars Program” at a commissioning ceremony attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former President Mwai Kibaki in Nairobi. This commitment brings the Foundation’s total support of the program to US$100 million. The program is run by Equity Group Foundation which has leveraged previous support from The MasterCard Foundation to secure matching funds from other donors. Further matching commitments from partners will enable a total of 20,000students to pursue quality secondary school studies over the duration of the program.
“In Kenya, three out of four eligible young people are enrolled in secondary school and access to quality education remains a pressing challenge,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “I commend Equity Group Foundation for their matching efforts and call on other champions of education to join this effort to ensure secondary school access for Kenya’s young people.”
“Wings to Fly Scholars continue to surpass our expectations,” said Dr. James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Bank and Chairman of Equity Group Foundation. “They have far exceeded the national average for secondary education attainment and grades, with 94 percent of our first graduating class achieving the qualifications needed for entry into public universities in Kenya. Scholars in the Wings to Fly initiative have held leadership positions in their schools and earned early acceptance to top global universities, including Yale University, the Wharton School of Business and Ashesi University College.”
The largest program of its kind in Kenya, the Wings to Fly initiative has proven to be a highly successful education model combining transformative leadership training with high-quality, secondary education. The initiative ensures that talented students who might not otherwise be able to attend secondary school have the chance to learn what they need to become their communities’ next generation of leaders. Students who are already leading change include Abed, a young, blind man from Meru County who is pursuing his secondary studies and wants to be a legal lecturer, and Jerioth, an aspiring surgeon from Nairobi County, who believes that girls need to be educated in order to keep the country prosperous and healthy.
The MasterCard Foundation and Equity Group Foundation are the founding partners for Wings to Fly and over the five years since the program’s inception have made it possible for 10,377 Scholars to attend school, with support from USAID, UKAid and the German government.
The Wings to Flymodel was an inspiration for and is now a current partner in The MasterCard Foundation’s Scholars Program, a growing education program which has already surpassed its 10-year, $500 million commitment to see 15,000 through secondary and tertiary school.