One aspires to become Minister of Health in Kenya to improve health care access and quality; another wants to find efficient solutions to energy problems in rural Kenya; a third, inspired by Michigan State’s Feed the World Program, hopes to improve farming strategies at home.
The East African Scholars Fund helped those students realize their dream of a global education to provide the knowledge, perspective and experience they will need to effect change at home in Kenya.
EASF is a primary sponsor of the Education and Social Empowerment Program, a Kenyan NGO which has helped 31 students earn full-need scholarships to U.S. schools in the past five years. EaSEP’s investment of some $125,000 over that period has produced scholarship awards of close to $7.5 million.
Last year EASF funding brought Harvard’s Paige Kouba (Class of ’16) from Eugene, Oregon, to Nandi Hills, Kenya to coordinate a seven-week program for EaSEP students. Working with EaSEP alums Johnstone Kipyator (Stanford, ’18) and Mercy Kiprotich (Cornell ’17), Paige implemented a rigorous curriculum developed by EASF board member Erik Heinonen. In addition to the traditional SAT and TOEFL exam prep, students were challenged to think critically, debate issues passionately and analyze their community through needs assessment. Seven students will be matriculating this fall, five at Ivy League schools (Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Penn and Dartmouth) and two as MasterCard Foundation Scholars, at Michigan State and Cal Berkeley.