Co-op Foundation

Co-operative Bank Foundation was established in 2007 as a registered trust in recognition of the need to enhance the existing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives by the bank. At that point, the bank felt it was a duty that it should not only grow financially but also develop a deeper commitment to help the growth of the community.

We believe that our role goes beyond profit-making to include promoting the long-term economic prosperity and quality of life for everyone in our communitiesIf our people prosper, we also proper as a bank.  

In the year 2007 Co-operative Bank of Kenya Limited successfully rolled out Education program to pay school fees for needy secondary school students. In 2011 the foundation also launched the university and vocational internship program.

Vision

To be the national drive behind a significant impact and sustainable development to communities in Kenya. 

Mission

To add value to the communities where we operate through partnerships, enhancing their lives and leaving them better equipped to succeed.

Education and Training

Inequality in education opportunities continues   to represent a major barrier to the realization of   people potentials in a country.Good education is critical to improve income, employment and enterprise opportunities. For girls, education makes a difference to employment opportunities, marriage age, health and their capacity to make better decisions about their lives and those of their children.  Poverty prevents literally many people from enjoying the advantage of formal schooling at every level in the educational system. Despite the fact that education is compulsory and free through primary school and subsided in secondary school, the children especially those from disadvantage backgrounds continue   to miss out in secondary school education due to financial or academic problems and many opt out of secondary education altogether, which often occurs   during the transition from primary school to secondary schoolKenya has made some progress over the past few decades in making higher education more accessible, however disparities still persist in student access to colleges and universities. These disparities limit the workforce opportunities, democratic participation and life chances of poor needy students. Co-op foundation is contributing toward this end by supporting the government increase  access to education for the young people both at secondary school and university level.

Goal

Provide access to education for children/young people particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Focus areas

Provide access to secondary and university   education for bright needy young people through
  • Providing sponsorship to bright but needy students in secondary school.
  • Providing scholarship to bright students in the university. 
  • Providing guidance/counseling and mentorship for secondary school and university students.
Initiatives
  • Create forums for collective mentoring sessions to enable students acquire life skills lessons and share experience amongst them.
  • Identify needy cases in need of follow up for mentorship and counseling through discussions with schools, parents and progress reports review. 
  • Identify key   mentors to support the students with encouragement, career guidance, confidence and an opportunity to gain a positive role model.
  • Provide  bright students with opportunities  that will help them  become agents of positive change in the world through  internship  with the bank
  • Vocational internship with the bank for the best performing students in the Kenya certificate of secondary education.
  • Impart and nurture leadership skills among the students through mentorship.
  • Create a poll of mentors who can inspire continuing secondary school students 

Current achievements
The scholarship program is currently focusing on   4 areas as per the table below.

Secondary school sponsorship:

The secondary scholarship program was initiated in the year 2007 and has grown from an initial sponsorship of 30 students per region, to 60 students per region and 5 students per  county for the 47 counties in Kenya . A total of 655 students per year from 2014.

University scholarships

In the year 2011, the bank rolled out the University scholarship and vocational internship program targeting 28 students each year that excelled in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination. The scholarship is renewable for up to 4-5 years of undergraduate study depending with the course. 84 students are currently receiving this scholarship at a public or private university in Kenya approved by the Commission of Higher Education. The university scholarship covers tuition, accommodation and meals

The vocational internship program was also rolled out to expose the pre-university and the university students to a real life job situation and hands-on industry training.  As interns, they get exposed to the banking industry and participate as members of the workforce of one of the country’s most recognized bank. The bank has also committed, on a best endeavor basis, to recruit from this pool in the event that any of them is interested in pursuing a career in banking.

 

Possible areas of support in the education program

The Kenya, government currently provides free primary education through to class 8 and   a subsidy for those in secondary school. However, countless bright, eager students in rural areas long for a chance to learn more. To continue their education students have to work very hard to pass a rigorous national examination. Even if they pass, most are unable to attend high school for lack of fees and are likely to live in abject poverty and can barely afford the basics to sustain life. Without financial help, even the best and brightest are doomed to languish in hopelessness.

Co-op foundation has been supporting the government to increase access to education for the young people both at secondary school and university level. The sponsorship provides children with the tools and knowledge to help make improvements to their lives.

Secondary school sponsorship

Co-op foundation sponsorship program supports   secondary school   thus helping   families and their children   fulfill their dreams and have a future. For $1,165 per year for 4 years, a high school sponsorship provides support to a needy qualified and carefully selected students with  full tuition and boarding fee.  The support also covers the costs of school uniform, books and stationary.

Mentoring program

i) Secondary school students

Mentoring workshops are designed to provide our high school scholars in with essential psychosocial support to boost their academic performance and ensure that they possess the skills to succeed in university and beyond.  We invite outstanding Kenyan entrepreneurs, university students and counselors to lead these workshops in a way that is both culturally relevant and fun for our students. Co-op foundation encourages students to think critically and to take ownership of their own education and personal development in high school and beyond through 7 regional mentoring workshops.

You can sponsor   one regional workshop for $13,920 and this will enable   50 students to attend the workshop for free and provide transport, room & board, meals and supplies for the 5-day workshop.

ii) Pre - University students

The period between the end of high school and the beginning of university is typically along one sometimes extending to one year for some universities in Kenya. This is an extremely risky period in which many former students become pregnant, addicted to drugs or engage in criminal activity – all of which ruin their chances of continuing their education.

To address these challenges the foundation organizes a week long workshop for pre university students to learn about careers options, educational opportunities and entrepreneurship skills. 

You can sponsor a pre- university mentorship   workshop for only $13,941 for a 6 days long   workshop normally held in Nairobi. This   will enable 28 pre university students attend the workshop for free and provide transport, room & board, meals and supplies for the 6 days long workshop.

Conclusion

The foundation interventions have made many students to have the opportunity to access secondary and university education. The foundation will continue to working and supporting the government both at the national and county level to support education access for the disadvantaged populations.