One of the most powerful things anyone can do to help the youth is to offer them an education, or at least to enhance what they already have. It is no secret that a good education can change a young person’s whole path of life and catapult them to a successful life for themselves, their families, and the ripple effects of this is that societies are also positively impacted. African has a youth population of 70%  – a highly energetic talent pool, many of whom are unfortunately plagued with poverty and lack of opportunities. A push in the right direction is one of the best thing that can be done for them.

Barclays Bank has today launched the Barclays Scholarships, a fund that is meant to help disadvantaged undergraduates go through higher learning. The bank has set aside Ksh63M which will reach 420 Kenyan students, with each student benefiting from Kshs150,000/-. This amount will sort out accommodation, upkeep, fees and a laptop. I must say this is a well thought out plan especially when I remember what it was like to be in campus or to leave campus without a laptop! With advancement in technology, it is becoming an absolute must for learners to have laptops and it is good to see that it is included in the Barclays Sponsorship fund.

The scholarship is open to students from both public and private universities, and will give priority to orphans and children from single parent homes. It will work on a 50:50 gender split and also have 4% set aside for persons living with disabilities. To take advantage of the scholarship, one needs to got o the HELB portal and make an application, after which HELB will use their experience to shortlist beneficiaries who will be drawn from all the 47 counties in the country.

The scholarship fund is being run in partnership with HELB due to their vast experience running university bursaries in the country. It is in line with Barclays Bank’s Shared Growth Agenda. Under Shared Growth, Barclays believes in sharing their prosperity with society. It has championed a number of programs under this banner, one of them being SKYE which reaches out to the youth in disadvantaged areas through sports. The youth are then trained in current courses especially in construction. Barclays also launched She Trades initiative that provides women entrepreneurs across the world with a unique platform to connect to markets. The Shared Growth Agenda is anchored on three key pillars: Education, Enterprise development and Financial Inclusion.

Still on higher learning, we cannot forget Ready To Work, a program launched by Barclays Bank in 2015 with an aim of providing university graduates with additional skills other than what they get from the books.

The scholarship fund which is part of a Kshs12.5 BillionPan African initiative will run for 3 years starting 2017. It will cover the 10 African countries that Barclays Bank operates in.

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