World record holders Eliud Kipchoge (marathon) and David Rudisha (800 metres) are among five athletes signed up by Absa Bank Kenya PLC to power their “Torch of possibilities run” initiative that seeks to raise funds for education in Kenya.
ABSA Bank Kenya managing director and CEO Jeremy Awori said the bank also intends to partner with the ministries of sports and education in the initiative that seeks to raise funds for education, sports and the future for Kenyan children.
Others athletes included in the campaign are two-time world marathon champion Catherine Ndereba, former world 800 metres champion Janeth Jepkosgei and three-time Diamond League 3,000 metres steeplechase winner Paul Kipsiele Koech.
Awori said that the athletes will participate and champion the cause in five races to be held in Eldoret, Nairobi, Nyeri, Kisumu and Mombasa where they also intend to raise funds from entry fees and sponsorship from other corporates.
Awori added that the campaign is aimed at motivating emerging and future athletes, as well as millions of young Kenyans to aspire for greatness.
Eldoret will open the proceedings on March 21 followed by Nairobi on March 28 where entry fees across all the events is Sh1,000.
Awori said they will inject Sh45 million into the cause that is divided between two major projects with Sh20 million going towards the construction of ablution blocks in 40 primary schools across the country.
“Sh25 million will be used to set up 66 computer centres across the country in partnership with Computer for Schools project,” said Awori during the launch at Movenpick Hotel, Nairobi, that was attended by all the contracted athletes save for Kipchoge, who gave a recorded speech.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed, Director of Secondary Education Paul Kibet, who represented Cabinet Secretary for Education George Magoha and Athletics Kenya CEO Susan Kamau, among others, graced the launch.
“We wanted to bring possibilities of life in education through sports and the place to experience that is young people,” said Awori, adding that they picked on the athletes because of their remarkable status in sport.
Awori highlighted the intention of the bank to keep differentiating itself through participating in projects that are attuned to the needs of the communities in which it operates.
In the last three years, the bank has invested Sh161 million to support 574 university students through the Absa Scholarship programme.
Amina said the best gift the country can give to the youth is good education and health through programmes like sports and hailed Absa’s initiative.
“Sanitation and especially ablution blocks have been a challenge in schools. Our first phase is the primary schools first moving to secondary hence Absa’s initiative will help us,” said Amina, adding that they intend to construct 19 sports academies across the country where children coming from such programmes will continue to pursue their sporting talent.”
Magoha, in his speech read by Kibet, noted that they continue to face challenges in the education sector due to limited resources as he encourage more corporates to emulate Absa.
Kipchoge said good education will always push sporting talent to greater heights as Rudisha and Ndereba hailed the initiative saying children who will go through the initiative are assured of good education and sporting careers.
In the last three years, Absa Kenya PLC has invested Sh161 million to support 574 university students through the Absa Scholarship programme. In addition, the bank, through the ReadytoWork skills programme has provided more than 200,000 Kenyan youth in tertiary institutions with entrepreneurial, money, employability and life skills to afford them a smooth transition to the work environment. The bank has also recently committed ShS75 million in sponsoring this year’s Magical Kenya Open Golf Tournament, part of an ongoing Sh200 million sponsorship that was announced last year.