By Naomi Yakawich
Young people are opening doors to new opportunities by leaps and bounds in Kenya thanks to a transformative after-school program initiated by Global Peace Foundation (GPF) in 2015. Beginning in January 2019, select students who participated in GPF’s Leap Hubs program were accepted into a fully funded scholarship program at Moringa School, a registered institution of higher learning in Kenya.
Providing the guidance and space in secondary schools for highly motivated students to explore business and social entrepreneurship ideas, a Leap Hub is a dedicated after-school program with access to the internet and online tools to help students grow their enterprises. They are guided throughout the entire entrepreneurial process from identifying a need in the marketplace, creating a vision and mission statement, developing a business model, and branding to help convince investors to get involved with their project. Additionally, participating students are exposed to mentorship opportunities as well as lessons on business planning and financial literacy.
To date, 30 Leap Hubs students have benefited from the Moringa scholarship program. The first cohort comprised of 10 students from Machakos School, Alliance High School, Mary Leakey Girls’ and Moi Forces Academy, while the second 20 students from Kariobangi North and Moi Forces Academy joined most recently this March.
Impressed by the attitude of students attending the program, Ms. June Barasa, a Leap Hub technical mentor, said, “This group readily asked questions and sought help when they didn’t understand. This is positive. Some students struggle because they don’t ask for help. All exhibited a positive attitude and eagerness to learn.”
Essential to their success as business owners and social entrepreneurs, the program stresses the importance of soft skills as well in order to help students interact effectively and amicably with team members.
Grateful for the opportunity provided by Moringa School, notable students rose within the program. Other students described John Muasa as “bold” and said he was a role model for his classmates. He looked after them regardless of whether or not he knew them well and helped them learn effectively. He often spoke as a leader, teaching others and reiterating what they all needed to do to succeed. Peter Wachira went out of his way to learn new things, then shared what he learned with the class. He was the first person to code using text editor (a way to type codes). John Kyalo was already a graphic designer before joining Moringa, and as a result is excellent at designing websites. Augustine Ochieng received the second-highest grade in the entire class on his IP, scoring a 97.62%.
Ms. Nelly Gyamfi, a coordinator for Moringa’s Access Program, thanked Global Peace Foundation for the partnership and support. “We are so far impressed with the students who have come to us through Global Peace Foundation and are excited to see how they do in Prep. We will continue to do our best to create a fulfilling and positive learning environment for them here at Moringa School and to support them in their success to the best of our ability. Thank you to Global Peace for partnering with us to help these youth gain the skills they need to become successful software engineers, and we look forward to continuing our partnership.”
Leap Hubs is an ongoing program by GPF and partners that include Airtel, UN Habitat, Intel, Oracle, and Chandaria Foundation. Sign up for monthly newsletters for all the latest from Global Peace and how we are transforming education around the world.