This year 19 scholars are set to join top global universities making it one of the top university scholarships programs in KenyaKenSAP (Kenya Scholar-Athlete Project) an initiative that helps gifted, needy Kenyan high school graduates gain admission to highly selective universities in the US and Canada has announced plans to expand its programme Click To Tweet
The program has till to date secured admissions for 179 Kenyan students to top-tier universities in North America since inception, making it one of the largest scholarship in the region. Some of the highly acclaimed institutions include Harvard (19 students), Yale (12 students) and Princeton (11 students) among others, all with full scholarships from the universities.Speaking during a fundraising dinner in aid of scholarship beneficiaries traveling later this year, KenSAP’s MD, Alan Davidson said that currently the program’s ambition has grown, from placing scholars to developing future leaders Click To Tweet
This leaders can help lift the majority of Kenya’s citizens out of crippling poverty, and thereby also to lift the whole East African region, of which Kenya is the economic engine.
“In the year 2017, the program maintained 100% admissions rate which is the largest class yet. A total 19 students will be heading to North America in August this year. Since 2006, all students who have been admitted to the KenSAP program have also been admitted to a top university in North America and all with full scholarships. 75 of our 179 students have attended the official Ivy League Universities”, he said.
KenSAP’s greatest recent challenge is how to make the program financially sustainable and not dependent on the support of a single major donor. The program gained the support of more than a dozen Kenyan corporations that took part in the gala fundraising dinner where almost Kshs. 8Million was raised to support the scholarship drive.
- KenSAP holds an annual Orientation session in the US for incoming students, where experienced KenSAP upperclassmen and a few college professionals share their knowledge with the newcomers. Two additional gatherings in the US each year offer further guidance and networking opportunities. These gatherings, together with the long residential preparation sessions in Kenya, have formed the basis of what is now an extensive, tight-knit and supportive KenSAP community. Some 60% of KenSAP’s alumni – both graduates and undergraduates – now make regular monthly donations to the program totalling about $25,000 (US) per year.
- Of KenSAP’s 110 graduates to date, twelve are pursuing or have earned PhDs at eminent institutions, dozens more have earned Master’s degrees in the US, and many are enhancing their skills working for American corporations. In addition, KenSAP runs its own career guidance and networking support that has launched dozens of students on promising careers in Kenya. More than 50 of the program’s graduates have already returned to Kenya to work for Kenyan corporations, multinationals or NGOs, or to launch their own startups.
- Since KenSAP began to make its mark, three additional programs have sprung up in Kenya with aims similar to KenSAP’s – EaSEP, Zawadi Africa and Equity Bank’s Equity Leaders Programme. Several smaller programs are in the works. One result of what KenSAP has started is that at practically every top-tier American university, Kenyan undergraduates outnumber those from any other African country.
- KenSAP began in 2004 as an informal effort by Mike Boit, the famous Olympic athlete, now a professor at Kenyatta University, and Manners, an American journalist who had been a Peace Corps teacher in Kenya. They aimed to place a few gifted students from a neglected rural region of western Kenya at very best American universities – something that had never been done. The effort met with immediate success (three students admitted to Harvard), and in its second year the fledgling organization attracted the support of the Canadian entrepreneur Charles Field-Marsham, who had investments in Kenya. His support, which has continued to the present day, covered nearly all of KenSAP’s expenses and enabled the program to formalize its operations as it prepared its students for the American SAT exams and guided them through the complex university application process.
Further information about KenSAP is available at www.kensap.org. Donations to KenSAP can be made either through the website by PayPal or credit card, or through M-PESA: pay bill #600100, acct #0100003275676.