The Nasio Trust Exceptional Student Programme
The Exceptional Student Programme is the Nasio Trust’s flagship programme that supports exceptional students especially girls in Kenya access secondary education. By providing a scholarship to students who have demonstrated exceptional academic performances despite their economic or social circumstances, Nasio hopes to create leaders for the future.
Combining the disbursal of scholarships, mentorship, and community empowerment, the Exceptional Student Programme brings together individual and societal growth to develop a holistic learning environment. At present, the Exceptional Student Programme sponsors 10 girls from Mumias and Samburu’s hardship areas in western and northern Kenya.
Need for the Programme
Economic contingencies have made it impossible for intelligent, hard-working children in western Kenya to attain their full potential. Attendance in the National Secondary Schools is dismal due to high cost of fees and need for children’s labour elsewhere. Consequently, students tend to attend local community schools (approx. 10% of the cost of other schools) which are unable to meet the calibre of ‘Grade A’ students and families often still struggle to financially support their children—or not attend school at all.
The Exceptional Student Programme hopes to transform the lives of vulnerable and poor but bright children in the rural communities we support. Not only does the programme support the individual student but also their family to offer a holistic base and help develop communities. Economically, interventions like training and income generating projects or food security can empower families. The One Acre Fund programme, for instance, maximises crop yields from subsistence farms to supplement incomes.
The programme is advertised in the rural local schools and communities with a rigorous, highly competitive selection process. Applicants must be ‘Grade A’ students who have achieved a high pass in their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) (less than 10% of students in Kenya score above 350 marks). They must also possess the right attitude towards education, care about their community, and come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Eligible pupils and their guardians are invited to apply and attend our screening delivered by a qualified panel. This consists of interviewing both the pupil and guardian and assessments to ascertain their vulnerability and behaviour both at home and school including a recommendation letter from their school, religious leader, and local government authority.
The students are deemed ‘exceptional’ because despite their personal circumstances (including economic hardship or the loss of a parent), lack of adequate educational infrastructure, poor states of their schools and unqualified teachers, they manage to perform well and match urban pupils who have, by comparison, vast resources at their disposal.
Expenses Met by the Exceptional Student Programme
Funding and sponsorships go towards meeting the expenses of tuition fees and supplementary materials needed by the student (including books, uniforms, stationary). The annual fees per student is approximately £600 a year. An additional £500 would meet further costs and admission requirements for education and support the student’s family economically and empower them to support the rest of the family.
Engagement Beyond Academics
Students will engage in volunteer programme within the Nasio Trust—participating rotationally in different Nasio departments—undertake school visit talks, and take part in exchange programs with other organisations. They will also be part of our Peer Education Programme, which teaches young people life skills.
During school holidays, we will engage them in mentorship programs. Holiday volunteer placements will be tailored to the student to develop their skills and interests and where possible will develop them in their chosen field.
Chances of Getting into Tertiary Education once Sponsored
The proposed programme is intended to cover students until they achieve a degree and/or a professional qualification hence much will depend on the student’s progression through their studies. Students will require a C+ grade in their final secondary school exams to be eligible for a university placement. We optimistically hope to project a 100% rate of students choosing to enter tertiary education. The right mentorship, school and distraction-free environment can ensure students achieve their full potential.
Evaluation of the Programme
Continuous monitoring and assessment of the students will form the foundation of our evaluation process. The full impact of the programme will be measured by the final outcome after 4 years of secondary school and when the sponsored student achieves their career goal and enters in their chosen field. Since this is a long-term evaluation, we will be assessing progress against set milestones to see if the student is on track and if the support provided is appropriate for them.
What linkages to other organisations does the programme have?
We are working closely with schools, education offices, the Childrens’ Office, National and County Administration Offices, SHOFCO, African Leadership University (potential partner), and Generation Kenya as well as KITE UK a mentorship programme set up between Oxford University and Nairobi University.
How will sponsors be kept appraised of progress?
The Nasio Trust, in close cooperation with the designated schools, will monitor and review the entire educational programme and progress of the sponsored children. We will publish an annual report detailing expected goals and an overall assessment of the sponsored student’s progress, covering their behaviour, continuing commitment, conduct, and academic performance.
Nasio will also monitor termly updates on the child’s progress including result slips, teachers’ comments, progress update from the Nasio social worker in-charge, photos and handwritten letters from the student, and a report on their volunteering commitment during school holidays. Should a student fall short of the required standards, the scholarship may be withdrawn if they are unable to improve after a full investigation of the circumstances.
Is Nasio looking for an annual commitment or a one-off donation?
Both, an annual commitment or a one-off donation are welcome. But our prayer and hope is for an annual commitment that will guarantee completion of secondary education for the student.
How can I get involved?
Send us a message on our ‘contact us’ tab if you would like more information or to get involved.