The Jomo Kenyatta Foundation (JKF) was founded in 1966 as a company limited by guarantee with a mandate of supporting education and alleviating poverty. A parastatal in the ministry of Education, its core activities are publishing of educational materials and offering scholarships to bright but needy Kenyan secondary school students.
The JKF scholarship programme was initiated in 1968. Approximately 15,000 students have benefitted, at a total cost of over Kshs. 200 million. Currently 1509 are enrolled, with 320 of them having joined Form One earlier in the year.
The scholarship covers the four years of secondary education. The Foundation pays the fees charged by the school per year for each student. The beneficiaries must perform well in their schoolwork for continuity of the scholarship. The Foundation receives copies of the students’ report forms every term as a way of monitoring their performance.
The criterion for eligibility is simple. An advert inviting applications and setting out the selection criteria is placed in the media and the JKF website immediately after the release of Kenya Certificate of Primary Education. Education offices countrywide are also notified of the scholarship and serve as application forms picking points.
Plans are afoot to conduct interviews across the country with a view to ascertaining the authenticity of applicants among other considerations. This exercises kicked off early this year for Nairobi County and it was such a success.
Overwhelming applications are received each year notwithstanding the short notice. This year alone saw slightly over 2,000 students apply. Whereas it was JKF’s wish to take aboard the number, or even more, this is not possible due to limited financial capability. The revenue for running the scholarship is generated from the sale of JKF books.
Priority, however, is given to orphans and those from disadvantaged families that include disabilities. Gender parity is also observed, with a 55:45 ratio of male to female students registered in the latest intake.
To ensure sustainability and expansion of the programme, the Foundation has adopted various strategies that include:
- Establishing an endowment fund where the Foundation’s profits are transferred.
- Establishing partnerships with grant givers and other benefactors who wish to use the Foundation’s experience in disbursement to reach bright and needy students throughout the country.
The 2012 cheque award ceremony was held on Tuesday, February 28, at the Foundation’s grounds in Nairobi’s Industrial Area. It was an event that the beneficiaries will forever remember as the turning point in their education fortunes.
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