Only 24 students from Mombasa will get Equity Wings to Fly scholarships for 2018 for their high school education, a decrease in number from the 45 who were sponsored in 2017.
The few number of beneficiaries has been blamed on lack of support from USAid.
Equity Mombasa County Scholarship Selection Board Chairperson Margaret Wandario said they selected the most needy and well-performing students from 2017 KCPE exam.
“We have had selections for the needy children. We had 188 applicants from Likoni and Island and we shortlisted 60. Out of the 60 we managed to pick only eight to be sponsored for the four years in high school,” said Mrs Wandario.
“The limitation is as a result of USAid not supporting us, it is just Equity Bank and Mastercard.”
She said that Equity in partnership with USAid and Mastercard used to sponsor more than 1,000 students but without USAid they can only sponsor to sponsor half the number.
While flagging off the scholars at Mombasa Equity Moi Avenue Branch on Friday, Likoni MP Mishi Mboko said many needy but bright students will miss out on the opportunity to achieve their dreams.
“We were expecting to have more than 40 students but unfortunately we only managed to get eight students [from Likoni]. The USAid has reduced funding for this programme. We still plead with them to increase funding for this noble initiative,” she said.
Mrs Wandario said they had to leave out some students who scored as high as 410 marks.
“It is our humble request if USAid can reconsider [funding the programme to help more needy students],” she said.
Equity Bank Moi Avenue Branch Manager Raphael Ngera said that this was their eighth year of supporting the needy students.
“We know that many young people face all manner of challenges as they go through secondary school and adolescence, more so those from disadvantaged backgrounds who can be susceptible to negative influence,” he said.
“Taking them through a journey of self-discovery and self-awareness through the congress will encourage them to discover their unique strengths and talents and to fully apply themselves in their pursuits to become impactful, world class leaders.”
Ms Mboko added that through her Constituency Development Fund she would fully sponsor at least 46 students through high school.
She also urged the national government to ensure that the National Youth Service programme continues at the grassroots to help the youths get busy and become responsible citizens.
Hassan Juma from Mwangala Primary School in Likoni scored 352 marks out of 500 and was selected as a beneficiary of the Wings to Fly scholarship.
He said he wants to be a mechanical engineer.
“I’m so pleased to have been among the chosen few because if it were not for Equity Wings to Fly [scholarship], I would be a school dropout,” Juma said.
Peninah Mlango from Likoni Sub-County said she was glad she would be able to attend her dream school after attaining 410 marks. She wants to become a civil engineer.
“I am very happy and thankful to God, I know there are many who would have got this [opportunity] but he chose me. We are set to attain our goals and help the community at large,” she said.
Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo, who issued Sh8 million scholarships to 170 students who excelled in the 2017 KCPE exam, questioned why only eight students in his constituency were selected for the Equity Wings to Fly scholarships.
“Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi must tell us why they only offered eight applicants yet more than 100 applied for the opportunity. It is a drop in the ocean and we are disappointed with Equity. We are customers, we deserve more scholarships,” said the MP.
Speaking at Mwembelegeza, the MP said it is the responsibility of all leaders to improve the education standards in Mombasa.
“I am not competing with Governor [Hassan] Joho and other politicians but I am here to serve the electorate. All MPs in Mombasa must ensure schooling of our children is not hindered due to lack of school fees. We must award them scholarships,” urged Mr Mbogo.