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 programme 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 programmes to access education at home due to the  Covid-19  pandemic. To that end, 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 television stations. Additionally, each of the thirteen thousand eight hundred secondary school students as well as the  eight hundred alumni of the Wings to Flyscholarship programme currently in technical and vocational education and training(TVET) institutions  will receive a monthly stipend for June through August to enable them  access  essential food and personal items.

 Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all academic institutions in Kenya were closed indefinitely in March and delivery of the curriculum moved to broadcast channels and digital platforms.  Nevertheless, many households (including Wings to Fly beneficiaries in TVET institutions) have faced the challenge of accessing lessons at home.  Equity Group Foundation has therefore supported the said   learners by designing a programme that is helping   them   to continue their studies at home.

 “I am really grateful for the solar lamps that you bought for us,” said Beryl Sheryl Owambo, a form four Wings to Fly beneficiary from Migori. “It has really inspired me during this period when we really need to be at school,” she added. Owambo   has been using a   kerosene lamp for her studies. Since she uses spectacles, this has been an uphill task for her because of the dim light.   

“We wanted the scholars to have an equal opportunity through continued access to their lessons during this difficult period,” said Dr. James Mwangi, the Executive Chairman of Equity Group Foundation.  “With many of them coming from financially challenged backgrounds, access to a radio for purposes of following the classroom lessons was bound to be a big challenge,” he added.   Since majority of the scholars do not have access to electricity, they have been provided with solar powered gadgets.  “We believe that the scholars are now well-equipped to keep upto date with their lessons,” he further said.

The device contains a radio and a mobile charging unit for cell phones as well as a lamp that facilitates studying after dusk.  It is estimated that the programme will reach seventy thousand learners who will also receive Covid-19 public health messages and advisories. The equipment has been distributed through Equity Bank branches and its agency network across the country. “This is an opportunity to seek and promote innovative technology-driven solutions to bridge emerging gaps and even leapfrog the capacity and quality of educational delivery across the continent,” said Daniel Hailu, Regional Head, Eastern and Southern Africa at the MasterCard Foundation.  In addition to gaining the capacity to continue studying at home, each of the students’ households will receive a stipend of Kshs 3,000 for three months. The monthly stipend will contribute to their needs for food and other essentials.  



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