The 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 by providing them with a solar device.

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 solar device contains a radio, and a mobile charging unit for cell phones as well as a lamp that can allow studying after dusk. Because each household contains 5-6 students, it is estimated the program will reach 70,000 learners with curriculum as well as COVID-19 public health messages and advisories. EGF distributed the equipment through the Equity infrastructure of branches and its agency network across the country.

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 monthly stipend for June through August to enable access to essential food and personal items.

As a 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. However, many families faced the challenge of accessing lessons at home. For scholarship recipients in the Wings to Fly, TVET and Elimu program in partnership with the Government of Kenya, this meant a return to households that could not provide access to learning. EGF moved to support learners by designing a program that would equitably help students and their families to continue their studies at home.

Beryl Sheryl Owambo, a Form Four Wings to Fly Scholar from Migori, had this to say, “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.”

Dr. James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings, had this to say, “We wanted the Scholars to have an equal opportunity through continued access to their class lessons during this difficult stay-at-home period. With many of them 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.”