On March 4th, 2013 over 12.3 million Kenyans headed to the polls to elect their next parliamentarians, senators, governors and their fourth president since independence 50 years ago. In the weeks prior to the big day, Kenyans urged one another to become registered voters, consequently breaking all of its election records to date. Over 14.3 million people registered to vote, 86.1% of which turned out on election day. Many voters woke up before dawn, queuing as early as 1:00 am, and waited more than 10 hours to cast their ballots.
The atmosphere leading up to the elections was one of caution and optimism. The 8 presidential candidates participated in two nationally televised policy debates, the first ever to take place in East Africa, during which they personally pledged to spearhead peaceful campaigns. All recent YouTube clips have been prefaced with advertisements of young athletes urging Kenyans to vote peacefully. The presidential candidates joined hands and posed for pictures that splashed across the front pages of newspapers, symbolizing their collective commitment to preventing a repeat of the post-election fallout in 2008. Last week, Kenyans across all ethnic lines joined together in a prayer vigil for the upcoming vote in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park.
Kenyans held their breathe and waited five days for the results. The delay was caused by the toll of high voter turnout on election infrastructure. The new electronic counting system crashed and a row broke out over whether spoiled ballots would be included in the official count or not. On Saturday, March 9th, the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) finally announced that Uhuru Kenyata cleared the 50% threshold required by the new constitution and beat Raila Odinga by .07%. According to the New York Times, “The second-place finisher, Raila Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister, has refused to admit defeat and plans to appeal to Kenya’s Supreme Court to overturn the results.” There is also a tenuous cloud hanging over the winners, Uhuru Kenyatta and running mate William Ruto, who have been accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of crimes against humanity for their alleged role in stoking the violence during the last election. Consequently, many Western nations have issued statements that commend the “Kenyan people” for exercising their democratic right peacefully, but stop short of congratulating Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.
Although Raila Odinga plans to contest the loss of his third presidential bid and there is some apprehension about Kenya’s standing within the international community, Kenyans have had their say. Nairobi is calm and people seem keen on accepting the results and moving on with their daily grind. The biggest winner in this election is peace. There is a deep seated commitment to maintaining law and order across the entire societal spectrum that began in 2010, when 67% of Kenyans approved a new constitution, in direct response to the policies or lack there of that framed the fallout in 2008. For example, the new constitution requires that candidates cease campaigning 24 hours before the voting day and that the winning presidential candidate garners 50 percent plus one of the votes.
All election summaries aside, you’re probably curious about what Kenyans have been thinking and saying in the days before, during and after the election. One of our favorite ways to pass the time while riding in vehicles or walking with others is to conduct informal polling. We’ve asked everyone, but we especially liked asking taxi drivers and the people we work with. Everyone seems to agree that they want politicians who are not corrupt to move Kenya forward. They also seem to think that this election is a formality, and that they will have better candidates to choose from, who offer a greater deviation from the political status quo in 2017. We started the polling with a variant of “Do you mind if I ask for whom you are voting?” Here is a glimpse of election buzz from the field.
How have the recent elections impacted your life?
“I’m here on the coast making money for my family because the safari mzungus have dried up.” Joseph lives in Masai Mara, which is the most tourist visited reserve in Kenya and about 610km from where I met him. He explained that over a month ago the tourists (mzungus) stopped coming because they were fearful of violence and robbery due to the elections. According to Joseph, there’s been no violence in his home region, however he still plans to make the long trek back to Masai Mara this week to protect his land and his family from “inter-tribal disputes” that he thinks may occur if people don’t like the results. –Joseph [Mombassa, Kenya
What is the difference between election 2013 and the last election in 2008?
“I work as a fundraiser [at a University in Nairobi]. I think the only difference [between this time and the last] is the fact that everybody is preaching peace. Until a certain power hungry, pre- independence group of families passing down the political seat like a monarchy fades away, then I think change is not happening any time soon. I voted for Raila, because I think he is not angry for power. During the last general elections, he clearly won, but in the outbreak of violence, for the sake of Kenyans, he was ready to take the back seat. That convinced me that he gives a damn about my life. A true patriot. I voted at Nairobi Primary, I went at 10:30 am and was done at 12:30 pm. The atmosphere was really good and I actually made friends with someone on the queue. Nobody was talking politics and so we were just a bunch of happy Kenyans, with the furious sun above us laughing at people trying to jump the queue and we had fun voting. And yeah, we shared candy when sugar levels started going down.” –Development Professional [Nairobi, Kenya]
What issues would you like addressed by the next administration?
“Transport is a major problem and I would love to see my next leaders install a railway system that works and is affordable to all.”
– Development Professional [Nairobi, Kenya]
““I hope that whomever gets elected continues with infrastructure development. I would hope that our economy grows, that the health
sector is addressed (meaning everyone gets basic health care) and unemployment is tackled. The best way forward would be by encouraging foreign investment rather than foreign aid, encouraging investment in our micro, small and medium enterprises, definitely investing in our so called informal sector and growing our East African trade block.” –Architect [Nairobi, Kenya]
How did you prepare for the election?
“My family and I and a few friends [prepared for the elections by reading] through the new constitution, looking at how the new government is to be structured, seeking to understand how it will work and what our rights are.” –Architect [Nairobi, Kenya]
“All we can do during this election is pray for peace and that the best leader to take Kenya forward will win. I’m leading a prayer service every weekend and ask that you too pray for our country.” –Microfinance Professional [Nairobi, Kenya]
Who did you vote for?
“I voted for Peter Kenneth because I believe he stands for change in our country. He is new blood, unshackled by generational family ties
to political elitism and stands for a progressive paradigm shift – a shift away from tribalism and elitism and towards gains based on
merit. How great the day when Kenyans can stand tall, confident that they can get ahead, not based on family name, or tribe or bank
balance, but on how hard they work and how good they are at what they do.” –Architect [Nairobi, Kenya]
“I’m a full Kikuyu but am not voting based on tribal affiliations this year. The Kikuyus have ruled this country for years now and I think it’s time for a change so I am voting for Raila Odinga.” –Mountain Porter [Mt. Kenya, Kenya]
“I’m still trying to decide between voting for Raila or Kenyatta. I think Raila is the safe option, he would lead our country as it has been led until now and I know what I would get from my vote. But Kenyatta has the potential to bring more change to Kenya. It’s a hard decision.” –Taxi Driver [Nairobi, Kenya]
“A run-off election would be really expensive for Kenyans so many voters who might otherwise vote for one of the less popular candidates might instead align with Raila or Kenyatta in order to avoid a run-off. I too think Peter Kenneth and Martha Madaraka are the best candidates to take our country forward one day but they are not ready for this election – it’s not worth voting for them yet.” –Microfinance Professional [Nairobi, Kenya]
“Well, you see, I am voting for the candidate most likely to win, who also happens to be the best leader: Uhuru Kenyatta. And it is not because I am Kikuyu; he is the best politician…I do not care about the ICC issue because, you see, that was just a plot by his enemies. There are many who share the blame for the violence” –Taxi Driver [Nairobi, Kenya]
“My husband says my vote won’t count since we are going to cancel each other, but I want to send a message that I do not like corrupt politicians, so I will vote for Peter Kenneth.” –Microfinance Professional [Nairobi, Kenya]
“Ah! Of course you can ask! But I cannot tell you yet. I am watching the debates tonight, and I will see who is the strongest, who it is that I want to lead our country. It is one thing to hear them giving a speech, and another to hear them answering questions without someone whispering the answer in their ears.”n –Taxi Driver [Nairobi, Kenya]
“I am voting for the best leader. A leader who will be the most thoughtful and has a proven record—that is Peter Kenneth! He will not win, no, but it is my privilege and responsibility to vote for who is the best for me and for other women and children.” –Microfinance Professional [Nairobi, Kenya]
“I am Kikuyu, but I want a man who can change things; I am voting for Raila.” –Microfinance Professional [Nairobi, Kenya]
*This post was written and arranged by Duda Cardoso, Jada Tullos Anderson, Eileen Flannigan and Katrina Shakarian
Although there is a growing middle class in Africa, the lack of basic services, adequate infrastructure and access to banking are still pervasive. Rather than completely stifling growth, these deficiencies have become fertile ground for innovators whipping up solutions and products customized for the continent. In Africa, developmental challenges can be synonymous with opportunity. “We thank God for giving us many problems so that we can find solutions,” joked Kenyan Information and Communication secretary Bitange Ndemo to the Daily Nation at an IBM forum in February. Here’s a glimpse of a few of those innovations, both homegrown and imported by global entrepreneurs, that are putting Nairobi on the map.
M-PESA: Mobile Money Transfers
It’s impossible to drive through Kenyan towns and cities without seeing the token M-PESA kiosk radiating bright green through the comings and goings of daily life. In 2007, Kenya’s leading mobile network operator, Safaricom, revolutionized the movement of money in the country with M-PESA; an SMS based banking system that now accounts for millions of shillings in money transfers everyday. Prior to M-PESA, the average Kenyan did not have access to financial services and money had no means of moving around the country fluidly. Since 26 million Kenyans have become mobile subscribers, M-PESA usership has also grown. According to South African writer, Joonji Mdyogolo, “M-Pesa processes more transactions in Kenya than Western Union does around the world.” Low, middle and high income Kenyans have all adopted the most distinguishing feature of Kenya’s new era in cellular technology, mobile money. Since it’s SMS based; even a simple cell phone without internet capabilties will due. “Kenya is the undisputed world leader in mobile money (bankless transactions via cellphones), a development introduced in 2007 by cellphone operator Safaricom, which now handles more than half the world’s mobile money transfers. As Kenyans leapfrogged from no bank accounts or Internet into cellphones and mobile money, the transfers took off,” said Robyn Dixon of the Los Angeles Times.
InVenture: SMS Based Accounting
Safaricom is not the only business tapping into the unbanked and designing products that circumvent some of the developmental challenges on the continent. CIO just named InVenture one of the 7 Hot Mobile Start Ups to Watch in 2013. InVenture is a California based start-up. Their product, Insight, is a simple SMS based accounting tool that enables low to middle income businesses to track their finances and better manage their money. The product, first launched in India and now entering Africa via Kenya’s mobile application scene, compiles customer data and generates a standardized global credit score. Once Insight takes off, low to middle income Kenyans, with previously no way of building a credit history, can do so. No internet? No smartphone? Inventure says, that’s no longer a problem.
Kiva Zip: SMS Based Crowd Funding
Kiva is no stranger to Kenya’s burgeoning mobile technology scene either. One year ago, the non-profit launched Kiva Zip, an SMS based micro-lending pilot that connects lenders and borrowers through M-PESA. Since no banks or micro-finance institutions are involved, the loan is administered at 0% interest. Lenders from the world over are contributing to loans in Kenya , which are received and repaid entirely on mobile phones.
Ushahidi: Real Time Information Aggregate
Ushahidi, which means ‘testimony’ in Swahili, is a social media platform on which users can map out eye witness accounts of crisis, violence and protests in real time. Ushahidi is a non-profit tech company that develops free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. Users send reports of trouble through e-mail, text message or twitter that are inserted into an interactive map online.
In 2008, a group of Kenyan developers and bloggers created Ushahidi in response to the post-election violence sweeping their country. According to the Daily Nation, “Ushaidi maps crisis using a combination of Google mapping tools and crowd-sourced information.” Currently, the platform is used in 159 countries and has been translated into 39 languages. In 2010, for example, residents of Washing D.C. residents and New York utilized Ushahidi’s platform to report on and respond to the clean up effort surrounding major snow storms that hit both areas.
The Ushahidi staff launched an alternate website, Uchaguzi, specifically for the Kenyan election on Monday, March 4th. Kenyans are encouraged to text their reports and locations to Uchaguzi at ‘3002.’ In addition to documenting citizen reports, the site offers a comprehensive guide to governmental policies and procedures related to the election.
Kopo Kopo: M-PESA Merchant Accounts
Kopo Kopo allows small and medium business owners to set up separate merchant accounts to receive mobile payments from customers using M-PESA. The platform enables customers to send payments to vendors without the fee that is normally attached to a mobile money transfer. The added value includes increased security because of less dealings in cash, as well as unqiue opporunitiesto for business owners to interface with clients, like sending them SMS based advertisements. Kopo Kopo piloted their platform in Sierra Leone and Kenya. They’ve officially launched here in Kenya because of Safaricom’s M-PESA platform.
World Reader: E-readers for All
Former Amazon.com executive David Risher is the founder and CEO of World Reader, a non-profit whose mission is to make e-readers widely available in the developing world. World Reader’s most recent figures indicate that it has distributed more than 428,000 e-books to 3,000 children across Kenya, Uganda and Ghana. The organization has also launched Worldreader Mobile, an application that provides access to a large range of literature on mobile phones.
Open Data: Government Transparency
In addition to bringing high speed internet to Kenya, Communication Secretary Bitange Ndemo persuaded President Kibaki to add Kenya to the ranks of 25 countries participating in Open Data, a platform that makes non-classified government information available online for free. Although Kenya is officially on board, government officials haven’t quite warmed up to the idea of divulging their records. According to the Daily Nation “The Ministry of Information is currently developing a policy document to oblige government agencies to give up all non-classified information collected using tax-payer’s money.”
There is no shortage of articles documenting Africa’s position on the cusp of global development, with Kenya as a particular harbinger of those expectations. The Economist has reneged on writing off Africa as a “Hopeless Continent” several times since it featured the headline a decade ago. In 2011 it published “Africa Rising,” in which it identified 6 of the fastest growing countries in the world as African, with GDP growth surpassing East Asia. Last August, it dubbed Kenya Africa’s “Silicon Savannah,” bringing an onslaught of attention to the burgeoning technology scene here. Its March 2nd issue includes the article “Aspiring Africa,” that describes the continent as the fastest growing in the world.
The fan fare around African growth is not limited to sporadic shout outs from The Economist. Recently, Johnathon Kalan of the Huffington Post published an article that describes the fusion of “Potential, Poverty, Politics and Parties” that draws American college graduates to social enterprise start-ups in Nairobi. More important, however, is the current generation of young, educated Kenyans who are tired of the status quo. They feel entitled to jobs and livelihoods that are fulfilling and afford them some degree of social mobility. They are joined by Kenyans abroad, some of whom have been away for a decade at least, pursuing degrees and jobs, who are now choosing to return to Kenya for opportunities that did not exist when they emigrated. Together, these young professionals understand the role Kenya can play in spearheading growth for the entire continent. They are prepared to role back their sleeves and play a role.
As much chatter as there is surrounding Kenya’s burgeoning technology scene, most articles stop short of explaining why it’s happening in Kenya and why it’s happening now. This week, I’m digging a little deeper into the context behind the phenomenon.
Until rapid urbanization began after independence, Kenya’s population was predominantly rural. In 1963, only 8% of the population lived in ‘towns’ or cities. Nairobi’s population was 267,000 and Mombasa’s was 180,000. Of those ‘townspeople,’ most were Arab, Indians and Europeans; not Africans, who typically worked in town for short or long periods, then returned to their rural homesteads where their families remained. Today, Nairobi’s population has grown to approximately 3 million people.
Although people are flocking to cities, their ties to the countryside are still strong. Often, one or a few family members migrate to cities and the rest of the family stays behind. A taxi driver I’ve used frequently is from the Naivasha area in Rift Valley. His wife and children remain in the country side, where he farms fruits and vegetables to sell at Nairobi bound markets. During the week, he leaves his family behind and comes to Nairobi to drive a taxi. This is a common arrangement in Kenya; city work during the week and village life on the weekends.
The movement from rural to urban by one or a few family members created the need for domestic remittance transfers. Family members are making money in the cities and need a way to send it back home. In other countries, like Mexico, where many family members work abroad, the opposite is true, the demand for external remittance flows are greater. Hence, Kenya’s unique rural-urban dichotomy set the stage for the internal funds transfer explosion that we’re amidst now. Once cheap mobile phones flooded the market, Safaricom filled the need with its SMS based money transfer platform, M-PESA, making Kenya the global leader in mobile banking technology. All of the subsequent innovations here have been inspired and made possible by the widespread use of cell phones and M-PESA.
Government and Infrastructure
The government is promoting the use of mobile money and technology development in Kenya. Bitenge Ndemo, who became minister of Information and Communication in 2005, is credited for spearheading the initiative. He bypassed ceaseless discussions between 23 African countries about launching a joint fiber optic cable, by linking right into a cable from the United Arab Emirates instead. It’s been his priority to lay down additional cables ever since. “When the cable was switched on in 2009, Ndemo made sure universities got unlimited internet capacity.” said Robin Dixon of the Los Angeles Times.
Bitenge Ndemo’s push for Kenya to become a regional technology hub does not end there. Most recently, he’s spearheaded the Konza Technology
City project, which broke ground on January 23rd. Fifteen kilometers outside of Nairobi, the $10 billion investment will be a public-private venture that includes a business district, science and technology parks, a university, conference facilities and residential areas. The government of Kenya anticipates that the project could yield 200,000 jobs in 20 years, along with sizeable investments in other sectors like health, education, manufacturing, financial services etc. Executives behind the project have already received 250 applications from local and international firms who would like to invest in Konza. Some of the multinational corporations seeking a piece of the pie include Samsung, Google and China’s Huawei Technologies.
Critics of the project have serious reservations about the government’s ability to bring such a large-scale project into fruition, when it has not yet managed to gain hold of municipal issues in the capital like traffic, electricity, water and drainage that fester under expansion. Nonetheless, the proposition and ground breaking of Konza represents a clear vision that policy makers and business executives have for Kenya as an ICT hub in the region.
Research Labs and Business Incubation
M: Lab East Africa at the University of Nairobi: Key to Kenya’s growing role in IT and mobile application development are its research labs and business incubation centers, where techies and entrepreneurs gather to collaborate, network and implement projects. In 2011, the University of Nairobi established M:Lab East Africa with the help of iHub, a local technology center. First funded by the World Bank InfoDev grant, the lab was founded to facilitate the innovation of low-cost, high value mobile applications.
iLab Africa at Strathmore University: Just on the other side of town, Strathmore University, Kenya’s premier private institution for business education, has its own research and incubation center called iLab Africa. At iLab, faculty and students have teamed up to develop mobile applications that overcome development challenges in health and education. ILab boasts a few high profile partnerships. For example, Strathmore and Safaricom offer a masters degree in mobile application development. Samsung has established an innovation lab there and Google funds IT education for girls in rural schools, in addition to sponsoring mobile application boot camps at Strathmore and elsewhere in the region.
With support from the Clinton Foundation and Ministry of Health, iLab has generated an application that tracks pre and post natal care of mothers and their babies in rural areas. They’ve also created one that sends the HIV status of newborns to doctors and clinics for treatment. On the education front, they’re mobile application development is centered around digital rights management and the provision of learning materials.
Climate Innovation Center (CIC) at Strathmore University: In addition to ilab Africa, Stathmore University hosts Kenya’s Climate Innovation Center, a climate technology innovation hub, established with the World Bank’s infoDev program. The center is poised to accelerate growth and innovation in renewable energy, agriculture and clean water by providing entrepreneurs with the funding, mentorship and facilities needed to innovate.
iHub: iHub is a physical nexus for the tech community in Nairobi. Established in 2010, it is an open facility for young entrepreneurs, programmers, designers and researchers. Free membership is offered to anyone with a demonstrated involvement in technology. Ihub provides access to facilities, networks for funding and opportunities to collaborate. You can become a member of its online community remotely, have physical access to the work space or pay a monthly fee for a semi-permanent desk.
Ihub’s very own research team is engaged in projects like their collaboration with Refugees United, an organization that helps refugees track missing family members. The team has upgraded the organization’s paper based sign up form to a WAP enabled sign up on mobile phones. They’ve generated easy to consume info-graphics about trends in East Africa and launched Spider M-Governance in 2011 to identify gaps in water governance transparency in Kenya.
Expanding Access to Higher Education in Kenya:
In January of 2012, Kiva, a microlending platform that aims to alleviate poverty by connecting lenders with borrowers who do not have access to traditional banking, partnered with Strathmore University, Kenya’s premier, private college, to launch a groundbreaking partnership in the financing of higher education. They joined forces to expand educational opportunity across socioeconomic lines and mitigate the absence of sufficient financial aid options for Kenyan college students.
Tuition at Kenya’s overcrowded and under-resourced public universities is heavily subsidized by the government. Students apply to the government’s Higher Education Loan Board (HELB) for loans to cover the remaining cost. HELB loans are about 60,000 Khs or $700. A HELB loan covers only a fraction of private tuition fees at a University like Strathmore, where tuition is not subsidized by the government and costs about $16,000 for four years of enrollment. For more than half of the country’s population that lives below the poverty line, on less than $2 a day, a Strathmore degree is unattainable, and reserved for rich, upper class Kenyans.
Together, Strathmore and Kiva are trying to change that. They offer students three low-interest loan products: full tuition, partial tuition and laptop loans. Currently, there are 34 Kiva beneficiaries at Strathmore, 9 of which receive full tuition loans. Students who receive the full tuition loan, are young men and women who would not be able to attend Strathmore without the assistance. You can refer to the Kiva-Strathmore partnership page for more details about the loan products.
Meet the Borrowers:
As a Kiva fellow at Strathmore, I am helping to expand the University’s credit limit, so that these loans can be extended to a new group of students. I’ve had a chance to meet the current Kiva beneficiaries at Strathmore and work with them through Campus Kiva, a club for loan recipients to support each other and engage in community outreach projects. Watch this video created by Strathmore University and read on for in depth biographies of two full tuition loan recipients, Lydia and Jackline.
Lydia is a first year student at Strathmore University. She is studying for a Bachelors of Commerce and plans to pursue a career in accounting upon graduating with her degree. She is part of the first group of students to finance their Strathmore degrees with full-tuition Kiva loans. Lydia is from Lodwar, a small town in the remote, northwestern district of Turkana in Kenya. Lydia’s journey to Strathmore University begins with a 5 hour trek through dry, arid bushland from her mother’s home in Lorengelup village to Lodwar. From there, she hops onto a bumpy, 12 hour matatu ride through Kenya’s unpaved hinterland to Kitale City on the Ugandan border. Finally, she transfers to a second matatu for the last leg of her journey, an 8 hour ride to Nairobi.
Lydia’s presence at Strathmore is groundbreaking. Economic opportunities in Turkana are sparse, centered mostly on the rearing and trade of livestock and weaving. 95% of the population lives below the poverty line. Most girls in the region cannot afford to complete secondary school, and are instead married off as young as 12 years old for dowries of livestock. Against most odds in the region, Lydia completed secondary school. Her primary and secondary school fees were sponsored by local charities and organizations. Lydia was amongst the top ten, highest academic performers in her graduating class, and the only student selected by her principle to travel to Nairobi to interview for a Kiva loan.
Lydia is very grateful for the opportunity to study at Strathmore. The University’s mentorship program has helped her make a smooth transition from rural life in Turkana to the fast pace of Nairobi. She loves the cosmopolitan nature of the capital, where she is interacting with Kenyans of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds for the first time. Lydia is an avid football fan. On her free time, she plays football on a team of Strathmore students. In the future, Lydia is looking forward to returning to her community and inspiring girls to follow in her footsteps by completing their education. She would eventually like to sponsor a student’s schooling as hers was, and spread awareness about organizations like Kiva that can help finance their education.
20 year old Jackline is a first year student at Strathmore University. She is studying for a Bachelors of Commerce and plans to pursue a career in accounting upon graduating with her degree. She is part of the first group of students to finance their Strathmore degrees with full-tuition Kiva loans. Jackline and her siblings grew up adjacent to Beverly Flower, a flower exporting factory where her mother was employed in Nairobi. Her mother died when she was a child. Jackline and her sisters moved with their Aunt, a domestic worker for an upper class Nairobi family, and her brothers left Kenya to seek employment elsewhere.
It was at this time that Jackline said she began to see “God working in me.” After completing primary school, her Aunt’s employer insisted that she continue her schooling at a good provincial school in Nyeri, rather than attending a local one. In agreement with her Aunt, he began deducting a portion of her salary each month to create a savings account for Jackline’s education. Since he established that fund, she has always been able to cover her school fees.
Upon graduating from Secondary school, Jackline considered applying to a public University. She planned on raising money for tuition by spending a few years cleaning houses as a domestic worker, and working as clerk in a supermarket. She went to work as a domestic worker for Mrs. Irene Kiai, who saw Jackline’s potential and took her under her wing. When Jackline expressed an interest in taking computer classes to prepare for University course work, Mrs. Kiai encouraged her to enroll in the best program and covered the cost. Not long after, Mrs. Kiai saw an advertisement for Kiva loans at Strathmore University printed in “The Daily Nation.” They both attended the information session, where Jackline submitted her application for the full tuition loan.
Jackline is very grateful for the opportunity to study at Strathmore University. She has already begun thinking about how to make repayments on her loan, the first of which is due 5 years from now. She started a fund to collect donations towards repayments in case she cannot find a job immediately after graduating. On her free time, she enjoys listening to Swahili artists like Rose Muhando and gospel music. She is a member of Strathmore Unviersity’s church choir. On most mornings, you’ll find her awake as early as 5:30am going for a morning run. Jackline recently participated in a marathon organized by Strathmore University and Standard Chartered Bank’s 10th annual Nairobi Marathon.
Jackline feels a strong obligation to create the same kind of opportunities that were afforded to her for others. “If I’m not in a position to give materially, because of what I’ve seen in my life, I may be able to inspire someone. If I am in a position to give materially, I will. Outside there, there are very many people who are suffering. Maybe there are those who don’t have school fees and have to drop out. Or maybe they don’t have a person to inspire them to continue and have hope. I will do my best to give back to society.”