Secondary education is compulsory for every child in Kenya under the Basic Education Act. However, many parents can barely afford to give their children this right.

Every year, as thousands await to join their respective secondary schools, there’s always the looming worry of fees that many families face. Lack of finances can get in the way of getting a good education forcing even the deserving students to settle for an average education.

However, thanks to scholarship programs, students from underprivileged backgrounds have an opportunity to achieve their dreams through a quality secondary education. lessen the financial burden of getting a secondary education. Here are some scholarships available for secondary students in Kenya and how to apply for them.

1. African Leadership Academy Scholarships

This scholarship program depends on individuals and organizations across Africa who nominate outstanding students in need of financial assistance. Students can also apply directly to join the academy. Applications reopen in reopen in June 2021 for the class of 2022. The student must be between the ages of 15 and 18 and from any background. The program is focused on students with academic excellence; leadership potential; entrepreneurial spirit; dedication to public service; and passion for Africa. The value of financial awards is based on the family’s financial means. You can apply or nominate here.

2. Ambassador Girls’ Scholarship Program

This program targets girls from underprivileged and vulnerable backgrounds. Particular attention is given to orphans, those adversely affected by HIV/AIDS, and girls who are disabled. They offer scholarships for both primary and secondary schools including examination fees, uniforms, books and materials, transportation, and essential personal supplies.

3. Canadian Harambee Education Society Scholarships

CHES is committed to offering secondary school scholarships to girls from underprivileged backgrounds. They focus on girls who have qualified for secondary school placements but need financial assistance, strive to maximize their success and support their community and build relationships with supporters and sponsors. They also assist girls with disabilities and those from vulnerable backgrounds. You can contact them here.

4. Co-operative Bank Foundation Scholarships

The foundation’s main purpose is to give secondary school scholarships to bright but less endowed Kenyan children. Selected students will enjoy a full, 4-year scholarship. Applicants should meet the following requirements:

  • have attained at least 350 marks in the final examination,
  • be from a needy background,
  • at least one parent of the child, including orphans, should be a member of a cooperative society.

Sponsorship is open for both public and private secondary schools for a sum not exceeding Ksh. 50,000. Documents required include:

  • Result slip,
  • copy of a birth certificate,
  • Form 1 admission, including fees structure,
  • a brief statement indicating why the nominee/family is deemed needy and the Co-operative Society with which the parent(s) is/ were associated,
  • any other document (e.g payslip, death certificate, etc) which may aid the process.

You can contact them here.

5. Education Scholarship Grants

These grants are meant to support local organizations and secondary schools by offering students from needy backgrounds 4-year grants. Continuing students are also eligible to benefit from the grants subject to their performance in school. Priority will be given to organizations that encourage students’ families and communities to make at least some contribution towards the expenses of the student. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • be registered NGOs and governments secondary schools,
  • have existed for at least 2 years, focused on poverty elevation and community development,
  • have accountable governance,
  • ability to monitor the progress of the student,
  • at least 1-year experience in selection and support for secondary schools,
  • ability to create mentorship programs,
  • credible accounting system.

You can contact them here.

6. Elimu Fund Scholarships For High School Students

This scholarship program helps intelligent students from underprivileged backgrounds complete their secondary education through financial aid. The scholarship covers all fees including dormitory, uniform, transport, and monthly allowances. It’s disbursed annually for four years based on the applicant’s performance. To qualify, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • have attained a minimum grade of “B” in their KCPE examination
  • must have been admitted to a secondary school (public or private).

The applicant must submit the following documents:

  • an application form,
  • a copy of their exam slip,
  • three letters of recommendation from the school principal, the area chief, and/or other community members in responsible positions for instance, religious leaders, NGO members, an essay explaining how the scholarship will be useful to the applicant.

You can apply here.

7. Equity Bank’s Wings To Fly Scholarships

The Wings To Fly program offers students of exemplary performance a full secondary school scholarship. They normally pick pupils who ranked in the top 5 percentile in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam and are from disadvantaged backgrounds. The candidate must have obtained at least 350 marks. Application forms can be obtained at any Equity branch or agent and applicants must fill the form, attach the necessary documents, and return the same to the agent. Documents required include

  • KCPE Results Slip (official KNEC slip or signed & stamped paper from the school). For early bird applications, you will be allowed to complete the application form without KCPE marks and Result Slip until submission
  • Copy of Death Certificate (if father/mother deceased).
  • Evidence of financial support (if they have received support in the past).
  • Evidence of special needs (if they have indicated special needs).
  • Copy of Pay Slip/ Bank Statement (if parents/guardians are employed/business).
  • A signed declaration by Applicant and Parent/Guardian
  • Filled application and recommendation form by Head Teacher, Provincial Adm., Religious Leader, and any other. Shortlisted candidates are invited for an interview conducted by the selection board.

You can apply online here.

8. Family Bank Scholarship

This scholarship program is afforded to pupils who excelled in their final (KCPE) examination and demonstrate a need for financial assistance. Application forms can be picked at any Family Bank branch or agent, filled with the necessary documents attached, then returned to the branch or agent. Only shortlisted candidates are contacted. Documents required include

  • KCPE result slip,
  • Admission Letter,
  • Birth Certificate copy,
  • recommendation letter from a government/community leader.

You can contact them here.

9. “Get On The Bus” Scholarship

This program sponsors 25 students from East African countries to receive their secondary school education through an initiative supported by Nation Media Group. They mainly focus on orphaned and vulnerable children but also offer scholarships to any needy child. They also offer formal mentorship opportunities by experts and NMG staff. You can contact them here.

10. Girls Global Education Fund

As the name suggests, this program offers scholarships to girls in developing countries who would otherwise be unable to attend school. They are given to girls at a primary and secondary school level. It covers tuition costs as well as transportation, allowances, and other expenses if necessary. The scholarship is revised at the end of the year and a student must demonstrate satisfactory grades and attendance to be awarded another scholarship for the following year. You can apply here.

12. Global Travel and Tourism Partnership (GTTP) Research Competition & Award

This is a multi-country educational program to introduce students to career opportunities in Travel & Tourism. It’s supported and endorsed by some of the leading stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry such as Amadeus, American Express, Hertz, HRG travel agents, Lufthansa, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), and the Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT). The competition is hosted each year and the winning students are awarded cash prizes of US$300 national prize and two international prizes of US$500. They also attend a conference sponsored by the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership. You can contact them here.

12. Hilde Back Education Fund

This is a community-based charity group that offers students from disadvantaged backgrounds, especially in rural areas education scholarships. Their objective is to unlock the unexplored potential in children and young persons from disadvantaged communities by making available to them a wide variety of new local and international opportunities in the areas of education, arts, sports, science, and modern technology. The scholarship covers tuition fees only for the four years and beneficiaries are expected to maintain good grades. Applicants must be:

  • Be a Kenyan citizen.
  • Have sat K.C.P.E. in a public primary school in Githunguri, Kikuyu, Homabay, Kibwezi, Likuyani, Narok, and Tharaka South Districts and obtained at least 380 marks.
  • Be an orphan or from a needy family.

Interested students should complete and submit the HBEF Scholarship application form available at HBEF offices in Nairobi and in all the respective District Education offices.

The following supporting documents should be included in the application:

  • A certified copy of the KCPE result slip.
  • Relevant recommendation letters as outlined in the application form.
  • Copy of birth certificate.
  • A copy of Form one-admission letter/joining instructions where available.
  • Evidence of being an orphan where applicable.

Application forms and supporting documents should be sent or hand-delivered to the respective District Education offices or to the HBEF Nairobi office at the address.

The Director, Hilde Back Education Fund, Haven Court, Block B5, Westlands, P.O. Box 14741-00100, Nairobi.

You can contact them here.

13. Helping Youth Through Educational Scholarships

HYTES is a Canadian registered charity that provides scholarships for community-minded and financially challenged secondary students in developing countries including Kenya. It has awarded over 1,000 scholarships since its inception in 2006. You can contact them here.

14. Jomo Kenyatta Foundation Scholarships

This scholarship program was set up by the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation to assist bright but needy secondary school students in the public secondary schools in Kenya. It has assisted more than 10,000 students and is currently supporting 1,280 students. To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be a Kenyan citizen
  • Must have sat for KCPE in the previous year
  • Must obtain the minimum set KCPE marks (this varies every year depending on the number of mandatory examinable subjects)
  • Be an orphan or from a family suffering extreme poverty
  • Be of good discipline
  • Be admitted to a public secondary school

In order for an application to be considered the following documents must be submitted;

  • A certified copy of the KCPE result slip.
  • A copy of form one admission letter/joining instructions
  • Evidence of being an orphan or suffering from extreme poverty where applicable.

You can apply here.

15. KCB Foundation Scholarships

KCB Foundation provides scholarships for over 200 secondary school students in Kenya who have excelled in their KCPE examinations. Applicants must come from needy backgrounds. To apply:

  • Get the scholarship application form from any KCB Branch (Or download it from the links below).
  • Complete the application form and attach the KCPE result slip and admission letter from a national or extra county or county school
  • Applicants should bring their completed application forms to the respective interview locations.
  • Details of the interview locations and dates can be obtained from any KCB branch.

You can apply here.

16. Kenol Kobil Education Scholarships

This scholarship fund has over the years assisted bright and underprivileged children from Kenya to access quality secondary education. It’s open to students awaiting to join Form 1 and demonstrates a lack of fees. The scholarship covers tuition and other statutory payments for the four years of secondary education as well as University Tuition fees for beneficiaries admitted to any of the public universities in Kenya. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a Kenyan from a needy family that is unable to support secondary education; mainly orphaned and/or destitute children.
  • Must have gained admission to a public school of National or Provincial standing.
  • The student must have sat for the KCPE examination in the preceding year.

Interested and eligible candidates can apply clearly stating why they need financial support and giving evidence of their financial inability with the following documents attached:

  • A copy of their KCPE Results Slip;
  • Form 1 admission letter, including fees structure;
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Any other supporting documentation which may aid the process.
  • Telephone contact details of their next of kin.

You can contact them here.

17. Kenya Community Development Foundation Scholarships

This program offers students from underprivileged backgrounds full scholarships for their secondary school education. Continuing students who need financial support are eligible as well. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Students should consistently exhibit academic excellence – attaining marks, not below 300 or at least a grade C
  • The student must have been admitted to a registered/accredited public secondary school
  • The student should be either orphaned or destitute or the parents/guardian of the student is unable to cover the required school fees due to extreme poverty
  • The student must exhibit good behaviour both before and after receiving the scholarship
  • For the students who are due to join form one the student must have attained a minimum of 320 marks for girls and 350 for boys out of the required 500 in KCPE
  • The student should not be receiving funding for tuition and boarding from any organization

KCDF is likely to exercise positive discrimination for scholarships for female students, should the applicants be more than the resources available. The scholarship is renewed on a yearly basis.

You can contact them here.

18. KTDA National Tea Scholarships

The KTDA scholarships offer students financial assistance for their secondary school education. It’s limited to students within the KTDA Factory catchment areas who meet the application criteria detailed below.

  • Be a Kenyan citizen.
  • Have sat for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (K.C.P.E) examination in the preceding year in a public primary school that is recognized as such by the Ministry of Education in Kenya and obtained a certain minimum cut-off point which may vary from year to year- usually 350 points.
  • Be a boy or girl from a needy family.
  • Be from any of the 67 KTDA Tea Factory catchment areas.

Interested students should fill and submit the KTDA Tea Scholarship Application Form and provide:

  • A certified copy of the KCPE result slip.
  • Relevant recommendation letters as outlined in the application form.
  • Copy of birth certificate.
  • Copy of Form one-admission (whereas the application form can be submitted without this, the candidate MUST provide a copy of the form one joining instructions as soon as available).
  • Evidence of being an orphan where applicable.

The scholarship application form must be completely filled in, and directions clearly followed before it will be considered. The student’s parent, guardian, or sponsor should complete all of the relevant parts and provide supporting evidence where necessary [e.g proof of income, death certificate, etc. Completed applications should be submitted to the Factory Unit Manager at the nearest KTDA Factory.

You can apply here.

19. Madeira Scholarship

This program supports students who are already enrolled in secondary schools upon recommendation from their principals. The students may apply for the scholarship for the remaining period of their education. Once accepted, Akili Dada will assume financial responsibility. The applicant must meet the following requirements

  • Must be a girl
  • Must have achieved a minimum of 425 marks out of 500
  • Must be from a poor family

Girls from poor families who score more than 425 points submit an application essay discussing family background with reference to challenges they might face in continuing their education and outlining their goals for the future.

Applicants must also submit a letter of reference from local authorities such as a Head Teacher, Chief, District Education Officer, or Pastor or Imam confirming the family’s financial background. After researching the student’s background Akili Dada personnel will invite the next round of applicants to be interviewed. After reviewing the application packet and interviews, Akili Dada board members and advisers make decisions and inform the finalists.

To maintain the Madeira Scholarship once it has been awarded, a student must meet the following requirements.

  • A scholarship recipient must maintain a high level of academic performance. She must maintain a passing mark of at least 50% of possible points at the end of each school term.
  • The recipient is required to perform a minimum of 30 hours of community service per year.
  • At the culmination of each school term, each recipient is required to write a minimum two-page self-reflective essay.
  • Actively participate in mentoring activities as planned and organized by Akili Dada and agreed to by the school administration.
  • Pictures of the students will be used for fundraising and marketing purposes.

You can contact them here.

20. MPESA Foundation Academy Scholarship

The MPESA Academy offers world-class education to exemplary students from needy backgrounds. Students from Kenya can make applications to be enrolled in the school. Successful applicants will receive a full scholarship to study at the academy. Applicants must demonstrate the following qualities:

  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Analysis and Problem solving
  • Collaboration
  • Curiosity
  • Leadership

You can contact them here.

21. Palmhouse Foundation Scholarships

This program awards children from families that are financially challenged by diverse circumstances and most of whom have attended poorly equipped rural primary schools in Kenya. The main factors encountered during the selection process that appear to impact the children’s circumstances and hence making it difficult for them to secure secondary education include:

  • Loss of one or both parents through disease, and especially AIDS;
  • Loss of one or both parents through ethnic or politically instigated clashes;
  • Family instability where one parent has squandered the resources available to the family separated or divorced leaving the children virtually destitute;
  • Loss of employment, especially through retrenchment and where the parents had no savings, guidance in investing their terminal benefits or social safety net;
  • Single mothers overwhelmed by the demands of bringing up a family;
  • Neglect by other family members and relatives who appear to have limited means;
  • Landlessness, poor land productivity, and just abject poverty.

You can apply here.

22. Yale Young African Scholars for Secondary School Students in Africa

This scholarship program offers secondary school students from African countries financial assistance. It’s accessible to students from all backgrounds. Students between the ages of 14 and 18 gather for a tuition-free intensive academic and residential program that presents them with opportunities to study at the Yale University. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be citizens or permanent residents of an African country.
  • Must be at least 14 years old by the application deadline in order to be considered.
  • Must be able to participate in a rigorous academic curriculum conducted in English.
  • Must be current secondary school students in Africa who have one term to one full academic year left to complete after August 2020

Selected participants will be self-starters who have an interest in pursuing post-secondary education, are in excellent academic standing, and demonstrate leadership potential.

Applicants must submit their application before 12th February.

You can contact them here.

23. Yale Young Global Scholars

This program offers outstanding secondary school students in Africa an opportunity to advance their skills. It focuses on the great ideas and thinkers in the American intellectual tradition, covering political philosophy, democracy, constitutional law, political economy, and financial literacy. Applicants must be entering their junior or senior year of high school (or equivalent for international students). Documents required include:

  • high school transcript,
  • two teacher recommendations
  • a 1,000-word essay

You can contact them here.

24. Youth Education Scheme Scholarship

This scholarship program supports needy and deserving young people, from Least Developed Countries (LDCs), developing countries, and countries in transition who wish to complete their tertiary education in the information and communication technologies (ICTs) and related fields. The program covers tuition fees only of up to 10,000 dollars. Women, persons with disabilities, and persons with ICT backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

The candidate must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Coming from LDCs, developing countries, or countries in transition.
  • Be under 30 years of age.

The applicant must provide the following documents to apply for a scholarship:

  • Provide a copy of the letter of acceptance from the relevant university indicating the specific degree course and its duration as well as the related amount of the tuition fees.
  • Provide a copy of the last 2 annual transcripts (academic results of the last 2 years of studies delivered by the place of education (e.g. school/high school/college/university etc).
  • Provide two (2) recommendation letters duly signed by the relevant teachers/professors from your most recent place of education and/or work (including their contact details).

You can apply here.