The Equity Bank airlift program to global universities has this year reached a value of Kshs 11.13 billion, with 465 scholars having secured admissions to universities abroad, including Ivy League institutions.
The 64 beneficiaries joining the program this year have been admitted on full scholarships to leading varsities in the world. Since its inception, the airlift program has seen top Kenyan students join such prestigious institutions as Harvard (22 scholars), University of British Columbia (13), Yale (13), Stanford University (7), Princeton (7), Duke (14), University of Pennsylvania (14), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T) (6), Amherst College (10), Brown University (7), Cornell University (15), Dartmouth College (8), Michigan State University (9), University of Toronto (15), University of Edinburg (5), University of California, Berkeley (9), Carnegie Mellon (3) and African Leadership University (12) among others.
The Bank further extended a stipend of between Kshs 100,000 and Kshs 200,000 to each of the 64 scholars leaving the country, totaling to Kshs 11.4 million for their travel and other essentials.
Speaking during the send-off ceremony, Equity Group CEO and Executive Chairman of Equity Group Foundation Dr. James Mwangi advised the scholars to exploit the extraordinary opportunities for academic excellence, leadership training, networking and global exposure that the scholarships offer.
“This global experience is only available to a select few and will shape your mindset and set you on a path to influence your community and contribute to the socio-economic transformation of our country. Take advantage of the numerous opportunities to build global networks and get a world-class all-round education. You will inspire other secondary school students back here in Kenya to believe that they can realize their dreams and compete on the global stage with other scholars from around the world,” said Dr. Mwangi.
The 2018 cohort are part of a larger group of 12,236 scholars in the Equity Leaders Program (ELP). The students have already gone through a year’s mentorship and a paid internship program at the Bank, which is fashioned as an advanced leadership development training. ELP is run by Equity Bank and coordinated by Equity Group Foundation which is the social investment subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings Plc.
To prepare the scholars for their arrival in universities abroad, the Bank facilitated 33 ELP scholars already in international universities to come home for the Global Summer Internship Program (GSIP) run by Equity Group Foundation to mentor the 2018 applicants.
GSIP is an opportunity for ELP scholars studying in global universities to intern with Equity Group during their summer holiday. The program ensures scholars studying abroad maintain the connection to their communities in Kenya. It aims to create a community of transformative leaders who work together across borders and across sectors to drive sustainable economic growth and social progress in Africa.
The Equity Leaders Program (ELP) starts as a transition pre-university program for the top performing students in all the counties. These include the ‘A’ scholars from the renowned Wings to Fly Program for academically gifted but financially challenged children executed by Equity Group in partnership with Mastercard Foundation with support of USAID, UKAID, KfW and other partners.