“When we formed the investor foundation, Bob Collymore and I thought, what should we do? How do we change Kenya? And the biggest challenge we have in Kenya is corruption. And if you look at corruption, it is endemic in everybody’s lives.
How do you make Kenya great? If you look at Kenya, we have all the ingredients to be a great country, but we are just not yet great. We can only do this if we kill this corruption.
So we thought, how do we do this?
Let us start with the kids. Let us build a school based on basic education but around producing leaders who believe in integrity in how to behave and lead. That is how we started the M-Pesa Foundation Academy.
It is not just a school; it is an academy that I believe, I want these kids, every single one of them, to get an opportunity and get to a university of their choice, and when they graduate, they return to the country.
That is the only way we can change Kenya. This is Bob and my idea of how to do it, ” Michael Joseph, Chairman, M-PESA Foundation, during the marking of Safaricom’s 18 years.
The M-PESA Foundation Academy provides world-class Kenyan education to talented but economically disadvantaged students from across the country.
The state-of-the-art institution, which is located on a 100-acre piece of land in Mangú, opened its doors to the first group of students in 2016. Currently, there are 487 students admitted to the academy.
“When we opened the doors to the first cohort of students, it marked the start of the M-PESA Foundation’s biggest programme, and probably the one closest to our hearts,” said Michael Joseph, Chairman, M-PESA Foundation, during the launch of the academy by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday.
“When the idea to build this one-of-a-kind learning institution was mooted, the board and the trustees of the M-PESA Foundation were clear about the institution we wanted to establish. The thinking was that if Kenya hoped to nurture transformational leaders, then we must adopt an innovative approach to education,” he said.
The admission process begins in March every year when the application forms are sent out across the country and ends in December when the final list of selected students is generated.
“I thank M-PESA Foundation for giving a hope and future to thousands of young Kenyans, making us believe that our past should not determine our future,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Every year the academy aims to admit up to four students per county who go through a rigorous selection process, including a multiple-stage evaluation process that entails telephone and in-person interviews for selected applicants and home visits to verify the information.
“We believe in inclusion, and our diversity is beyond cultural. We have children with special needs, such as the mobility challenged and children with albinism, within our student body. We are also planning to facilitate those who are challenged both audibly and visually,” said Joseph.
The mixed boarding high school boasts first-class academic facilities in addition to sports, arts and cultural facilities, which include an indoor sports hall, a sports field, running track, swimming pools, squash courts, a music centre and a 500-seat auditorium.