For the last fifteen years, 197 students in need of financial aid have been placed at some top North American universities by the Kenya Scholar Access Programme (KenSAP). The students have been picked in all the 47 counties in the country.
John Manners a cofounder of KenSAP says that out of the more than a hundred graduates today, 16 have earned or are pursuing PhDs while 35 have earned or are pursuing masters and other advanced degrees. In addition, that are more than fifty graduates who have come back to Kenya to work for various organization such as multinational corporations, international NGOs and local companies. Some of them have established their own businesses. Kenyan undergraduates now outnumber those of any other African country in these elite universities.
According to Alan Davidson, KenSAP’s executive director, when the scholars return to Kenya, they contribute a lot to the country’s socio-economic development.
With an annual budget of Kshs.15million KenSAP has generated more than 5 billion in financial aid packages granted by the universities that the scholars it sponsors to attend. Around 15-20 deserving students in Kenya are selected to KenSAP annually and assisted in gaining admission to the leading universities in the US and Canada.
Doors have however been opened to students living in Kenya who hail from Tanzania, Rwanda, Somalia and South Sudan. Once the selection process is done, the qualified students participate in two extended residential training sessions that prepare them for the American SAT exams. These exams introduce them to the American university system with its complex application procedure.
KenSAP apart from helping students be successful in university admission also assists them in the university so that they navigate life and their careers after schooling. KenSAP moreover works with about 30 companies based in Kenya who act as employment partners hiring KenSAP graduates for internship and full-time positions.
“In addition to offering guidance throughout my time in university, KenSAP provided the guidance I needed after graduation through the networks and career support system. I was encouraged and prepared to apply to some of the most competitive jobs in Kenya” says Maryanne Chege a KenSAP 2018 graduate of Harvard University.
Also central to KenSAP is an emphasis on services and a continued commitment to the community.
Eve Rotich a KenSAP alumni currently working with one of the oil marketers in the country explained that KenSAP not only seeks and obtains opportunities for the scholars to grow but has also become an organization that deeply nurtures its beneficiaries into being solution seekers for their community and country. “For me, KenSAP is a lifestyle of positive impact” he added.