Mastercard Foundation Increases Wings to Fly Commitment to $100 Million

20,000 Students Will Be Able to Attend Secondary School in Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya, February 5, 2016 – The Mastercard Foundation today announced a new US$60 million commitment for the “Wings to Fly Scholars Program” at a commissioning ceremony attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former President Mwai Kibaki in Nairobi. This commitment brings the Foundation’s total support of the program to US$100 million. The program is run by Equity Group Foundation which has leveraged previous support from the Mastercard Foundation to secure matching funds from other donors. Further matching commitments from partners will enable a total of 20,000 students to pursue quality secondary school studies over the duration of the program.

“In Kenya, three out of four eligible young people are enrolled in secondary school and access to quality education remains a pressing challenge,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of Mastercard Foundation. “I commend Equity Group Foundation for their matching efforts and call on other champions of education to join this effort to ensure secondary school access for Kenya’s young people.”

Wings to Fly Scholars continue to surpass our expectations,” said Dr. James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Bank and Chairman of Equity Group Foundation. “They have far exceeded the national average for secondary education attainment and grades, with 94 percent of our first graduating class achieving the qualifications needed for entry into public universities in Kenya. Scholars in the Wings to Fly initiative have held leadership positions in their schools and earned early acceptance to top global universities, including Yale University, the Wharton School of Business and Ashesi University College.”

The largest program of its kind in Kenya, the Wings to Fly initiative has proven to be a highly successful education model combining transformative leadership training with high-quality, secondary education. The initiative ensures that talented students who might not otherwise be able to attend secondary school have the chance to learn what they need to become their communities’ next generation of leaders. Students who are already leading change include Abed, a young, blind man from Meru County who is pursuing his secondary studies and wants to be a legal lecturer, and Jerioth, an aspiring surgeon from Nairobi County, who believes that girls need to be educated in order to keep the country prosperous and healthy.

The Mastercard Foundation and Equity Group Foundation are the founding partners for Wings to Fly and over the five years since the program’s inception have made it possible for 10,377 Scholars to attend school, with support from USAID, UKAid and the German government.

The Wings to Fly model was an inspiration for and is now a current partner in Mastercard Foundation’s Scholars Program; a growing education program which has already surpassed its 10-year, $500 million commitment to see 15,000 through secondary and tertiary school.

Note to Editors:

  • Reeta Roy, President and CEO of Mastercard Foundation; James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Bank and several Wings to Fly Scholars are available to speak to media.
  • For more information on the Program, including a full list of Scholars Program partners go to mastercardfdnscholars.org


About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest, independent foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to alleviate poverty. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter (#MCFScholars).

About Wings to Fly

Equity Group Foundation and Mastercard Foundation, with additional funding support from USAID, UKAid, KfW, Equity Bank, individuals and institutions under the Wings to Fly program, has been implementing a comprehensive secondary scholarship support program for top performing yet needy (orphan or vulnerable) students in the sub-counties across Kenya. In providing this opportunity to Kenyan children who may have otherwise gone unnoticed, the Wings to Fly program is in line with Kenya’s vision 2030 to transform Kenya into a middle-income economy led by well-educated and trained citizens.

The objective of the scholarship program is to provide financial support and leadership empowerment tools to such students. The scholars under this program receive support for all their needs (tuition, accommodation, books, uniform, and transport to and from school, shopping and pocket money) while attending secondary school for the 4 years. The number of scholarships given under the Wings to Fly program in five years surpassed the Phase 1 program target of 10,000 with a total of 10,377 scholars awarded. This year marks the launch of Phase 2 of the program targeting an additional 20,000 scholars.

For more information, please contact:

Isabelle Bourgeault-Tassé

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Communications Manager

+1 647-535-3681


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