COVID-19: Equity, Mastercard to give over 14,600 students monthly stipend, learning devices


COVID-19: Equity, Mastercard to give over 14,600 students monthly stipend, learning devices
Equity’s Enterprise Branch Wings to Fly champion Joyce Wachira (left) demonstrates to guardian Richard Onguti (centre) and a beneficiary of Equity’s Wings to Fly scholarship program Khadija Addala (right), how the solar-powered lamp cum transistor radio is recharged using a solar panel.  PHOTO| COURTESY

Equity Group Foundation and the Mastercard Foundation have partnered to support over 14,600 students in the Wings to Fly and Elimu scholarship programs to access education at home during the current COVID-19 lockdown.

Secondary school Scholars have been provided with a solar powered device to ensure continued access to their lessons currently being aired on Government-owned radio and TV stations.

The device contains a radio, and a mobile charging unit for cell phones as well as a lamp that can allow studying after dusk.

“With many of the scholars coming from financially challenged backgrounds, access to a radio for purposes of following the classroom lessons was going to be a big challenge. Additionally, with the majority of the Scholars not having access to electricity, we opted for solar powered gadgets. We believe that the Scholars are now well-equipped to keep up to date with their lessons,” said Dr. James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group.

Additionally, each of the 13,800 secondary school students and 800 alumni of the Wings to Fly scholarship program currently in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) will receive a Ksh.3,000 monthly stipend from June through August to enable access to essential food and personal items.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all academic institutions in Kenya were closed indefinitely in March 2020 and delivery of the curriculum moved to broadcast channels and digital platforms. Many families faced the challenge of accessing lessons at home.

According to Daniel Hailu, Regional Head, Eastern and Southern Africa at the Mastercard Foundation, advancing equitable and inclusive access to education remains a top priority for the Foundation.

“The impact of COVID-19 requires us to be intentional about how we ensure the pandemic doesn’t exacerbate existing gaps in education. In fact, this is the opportunity to seek out and promote innovative technology-driven solutions to bridge emerging gaps and even leapfrog the capacity and quality of educational delivery across the continent,” said Hailu.

Beryl Sheryl Owambo, a Form Four Wings to Fly Scholar from Migori said, “I am really grateful for the solar lamps that you bought for us. It really inspired me during this period when we really needed to be at school. Actually, I was using kerosene lamp for my studies and at times we had no kerosene so I could not study after dusk. In addition, I use spectacles, so it was very hard to study with the dim lights of the kerosene lamp.”

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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