Kenya: Local companies increasing their contribution to charitable initiatives, especially in education sector

Author: Macharia Kamau, Standard Digital (Kenya), Published on: 5 February 2018

“Benefactors: More institutions set up programmes to support needy students”

 The changing tide of global geopolitics is having profound effects on the character of philanthropy as we have known it. The nationalism and economic populism that is surging in West European and American politics that culminated in the election of Donald Trump appears to be driving donor dollars away from recipient countries. This steady retreat by the previously ubiquitous Western bilateral donors following political changes in their home countries has seen the identity of benefactors gradually change to assume a more domestic face.

A new breed of the ‘donor’ is emerging in Kenya – the corporate sector. Charity activities by Kenyan companies especially in support of education scholarships have expanded significantly. The Wings to Fly initiative offers secondary school scholarships to academically-gifted children from needy backgrounds. Since inception in 2010, the programme has benefitted more than 15,000 students and projects to offer scholarships worth in excess of Sh5.8 billion in five years. This year, Co-operative Bank is offering scholarships to more than 700 students at a cost of Sh200 million every year, a programme which is internally funded by the institution….

 Kenyan companies continue to join the ‘giving back’ bandwagon in major ways, motivated by genuine interest to offer a helping hand to the needy, or perhaps by popular pressure to share their good fortune with others, manage possible hostility from host communities, earn positive reputation among peers, or build brand equity. Safaricom retains a corporate social investment estimated at Sh1 billion a year, in addition to establishing a modern M-Pesa Academy as a model school of the future. KCB is rapidly expanding education grants just as Coca-Cola and Diageo continue to sustain their well-established reputation in supporting worthy causes. The independent Palm House Foundation has also mobilised substantial resources to fund numerous scholarships. For many years, Shell/BP were also longstanding sponsors of Starehe Boys School.

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Related companies: Co-operative Bank of Kenya Coca-Cola Diageo Equity Bank (Equity Building Society) Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) Safaricom