Frequently Asked Questions

We work in close partnership with leaders in three primary (K-8) schools in the Samburu region to select youth based on the following criteria: (a) academic performance in primary school, such as grades in core subjects; (b) performance on the Kenya Comprehensive Placement Exam in 8th grade; (c) personal circumstances and financial need, with preference given to youth with no living parents; (d) leadership potential, as assessed by school personnel; and (e) gender. At least 50% of SYEF recipients must be girls.
All donations are held in a U.S.-based bank account until shortly before school fees are due at the beginning of the school year in Kenya (January). At that time funds are wired to an SYEF account in a Kenya-based bank. All three of our Samburu advisors must be present to withdraw the funds. At that time, our program coordinator facilitates the transfer of funds directly to a student’s school bank account. Students are given the deposit receipt to take when they report for school.
All secondary schools require uniforms in Kenya, and most schools have a mandatory list of supplies. In some cases, schools require students to attain these items ahead of time; they are not included as part of the school’s fees. In these instances SYEF does distribute a modest amount to allow purchase of these items based on our estimates of the costs. When possible, the SYEF program coordinator will take our youth to do shopping to insure funds are used appropriately.
It’s a good question. We know that education in developing world regions such as Samburu can have a tremendous impact in terms of reducing birth rates, improving nutrition and making an overall positive impact on basic well-being. In terms of competitiveness for a good-paying job, some amount of post-secondary education is needed. While few options exist to help youth with their secondary school tuition, there are a number of government programs to assist with the cost of post-secondary education. SYEF helps our graduates become familiar with these programs and how to apply.
There is certainly a bigger systematic problem in Kenya and its educational system that makes secondary school inaccessible to the poorest segment of the population. The school system in Kenya is nationalized, and therefore changes that address educational access must be addressed by Kenya’s parliament and national education agency. Our approach to provide scholarships doesn’t address the larger issue of a broken system that creates a need for scholarships to begin with, but it’s an approach we feel is within our scope and capacity at this point.
If your question is not on the list, do not hesitate to contact us.