What is Wings to Fly?
Wings to Fly is a public-private partnership between USAID, Equity Group Foundation, Mastercard Foundation, UKaid, and KfW. The project provides full scholarships that include tuition, room, and board to enable academically gifted but economically disadvantaged and vulnerable children to pursue secondary and tertiary education. The selected young people also receive leadership training, career guidance, and personal mentoring to help them maximize their potential. USAID’s contribution of $26.5 million will support more than 2,600 Wings to Fly scholars over a five year period. Overall, the initiative will support 10,000 young Kenyans with access to a full secondary education by 2019.
Project Duration and Budget
November 2011 – November 2016
$26.5 million USAID contribution
$75.6 million total contributions
Who implements Wings to Fly?
Equity Group Foundation
Where does Wings to Fly work?
What does Wings to Fly do?
The scholarships are widely advertised in the media and through community and religious organizations. A District Scholarship Selection Board of 12 local representatives uses a transparent selection process to identify top performing students who would otherwise be unable to attend school. Equity Bank manages the funds to ensure that the scholars’ fees are paid on time and also helps the students open bank accounts to receive their stipends and learn responsible financial management.
The students’ progress is closely monitored throughout their studies and the project provides mentorship to boost their self-esteem and encourage them to rise above their circumstances.
How is Wings to Fly making a difference?
Free primary education has helped many Kenyan children access basic schooling, but talented young people from poor backgrounds are unable to afford secondary or higher education. Without the proper training and skills to achieve their career aspirations, they often end up unemployed and vulnerable. By giving more youth a chance at a better education, Wings to Fly is supporting an educated, self-reliant, and productive youth population who will help Kenya drive its own development agenda.
Wings to Fly is part of a growing trend in which the private sector is taking a leadership role in realizing Kenya’s development goals. To date, 7,000 students have been selected for scholarships – of those, USAID is supporting 2,600 including 1,300 girls and 1,300 boys from all 47 counties of Kenya. These young people are attending almost 400 different schools across the country.
There are an additional 500 students enrolled in secondary and tertiary institutions under the USAID-Equity Group Foundation Leadership and Scholarship program, funded under a previous program.
What key challenges does Wings to Fly face?
The Equity Group Foundation and mentoring teams are increasing the frequency of school visits to address issues that arise quickly and upfront. For example, some students have had difficulty with their vision because of dim lighting in the homes where the young people study. The program is now providing scholars with vision exams and eyeglasses if needed.
For more information
Ms. Ivy Mwai, General Manager Education
Equity Group Foundation
P.O. Box 13241 - 00200 Nairobi
Tel: +254 20 226 2000
Dr. Lucy Kithome
Education and Youth Office
Tel: +254 20 862 2249
Updated May 2013
Last updated: August 07, 2013