Registered Charity: 1136745. Trustees: Simon Brister (Secretary and Financial), Nicky Hart (Legal), John Pearce (Chairman and Educational), Sam Pearce, Stephane Janes, Hannah Rooke.

KES supports education in Kenya, by providing scholarships to significantly disadvantaged bright, pupils to be boarding students at Bahati Division Academy (BDA) and other Kenyan schools; and by contributing to resources and facilities which will assist the education of these students.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

January update and important news

We have some significant and positive developments to share about KES and our link school Bahati Division Academy (BDA).

In brief: (For the rationale and detail see further below:
  • BDA Secondary will close – BDA Primary will remain open and expand.
  • After extensive consultation existing KES Secondary scholars are being transferred to new, larger, more established schools.
  • KES will continue to support all existing scholars through secondary education.
  • KES will be wound up in 2022
When Joseph opened BDA in 2010, primary education was free in Kenya but secondary was only available if parents/guardians could pay. So, KES Trustees chose to support mainly secondary school students as the need for financial support was greater for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

BDA Primary thrived and so BDA Secondary was opened in 2012. We had stunning success in early 2017 when 11 KES students graduated for university and, again this year, 6 KES students have scored higher grades and will be able to secure university places.

Big decisions (November and December 2017)
In November 2017 Trustees Nicky and Simon visited Kenya and spent a lot of time with the school, scholars and staff and, of course, Joseph and Lydia. Simon and Nicky kept all Trustees fully informed of the significant facts that Joseph and Lydia told usWe have some positive developments to share. Sponsors have already been made aware of these developments, but we wanted to share the good news and updates with all our supporters.

Background (2010 -2017)
  • Both political parties in the presidential elections had pledged to introduce universal free secondary education in Kenya in 2018. (This was, in fact implemented earlier this month, January 2018).
  • BDA secondary school had 72 students, of whom 50 were KES sponsored, 7 sponsored by Kenyan contacts of Joseph and the small balance were boys whose parents or guardians paid for them privately.
  • The cost of running a secondary school with just 72 pupils meant it was being subsidised by the successful primary (which has 215 students). So, it was not possible to provide the level of facilities that would be available at larger private schools. For instance, a counsellor, and with KES selecting children from disadvantaged backgrounds this was often needed.
  • Joseph and Lydia’s experience was that parents preferred single sex schools, and the older, privately funded boys could be a disruptive influence on the remaining students.
  • Despite the above we had stunning results last year when 12 out of 17 of our KES students scored the university entrance level in their exams and are all now in university. Indeed, earlier this month (January 2018) we heard that 6 students had gained high enough results to access university.
  • Nevertheless, Joseph and Lydia wished to close the secondary school and use those facilities to expand the successful BDA primary school.

With the above in mind, the board of trustees reluctantly made the difficult but necessary decision not to take any further students into scholarship. We decided to concentrate our efforts on ensuring the present students completed their education and hopefully move to a university campus after leaving secondary school. This means that KES would be wrapped up in December 2022.

It would have been great to think that KES could continue indefinitely but the scheme depends a high level of due diligence and hard work. We know Simon spends a day and a half each week working on the administration and finances. As the funds received are mainly identified for individual students, we do not have the funds to engage a paid administrator and currently other trustees cannot take on the workload.

Of course, we’re sad that the KES project will be ending in 2022 but we never saw it as continuing indefinitely and we’ve achieved great things. Together with you, we’ll have safely piloted a project providing a great education for 98 young people from desperately impoverished backgrounds, with probably at least half moving on to university. That is something to celebrate.

Implications for existing KES scholars
A great deal of thought was put into how closure of BDA Secondary could best be managed. The option of keeping the school running for a further few years until all students completed their education was not viable as it would be hard to retain good staff with closure imminent, therefore not providing the high standards we demand for our students.

Above all we wanted to ensure students were not negatively affected by the decisions and ideally given a more positive opportunity. Therefore, Joseph and Lydia, in consultation with KES Trustees, decided that the best option was to select schools to which the students could be transferred.

Latest updates (December 2017 and January 2018)
In December, Joseph and Lydia met parents/guardians at BDA and explained the situation to them. They also spent time selecting the most appropriate schools for our secondary scholars. Consequently, we’re delighted to report we’ve found suitable school places.

  • Vanessa Grant Girls High school have accepted 22 girls, following interview.
  • The Sacred Heart High School for boys have accepted 18 boys after interviews.
  • Pangani Girls School will take 2 students and Moi Girls High will be taking 1 student.
  • We’re confident that each school will give the scholars an even better student experience as they’re larger, better established and have more extensive facilities.
  • Joseph has negotiated a level of fees only slightly higher than the present, meaning we don’t have to raise fees for sponsors, as our reserves will be sufficient to manage any additional costs over the remaining 5 years for all current students, including those currently in BDA Primary, to reach the end of their secondary education.
  • Consequently, Simon has been hard at it, over the Christmas and New Year season, making the necessary financial arrangements for the transfers to each school.
  • The students started at their new schools, early in January and we (well Lydia really) has ensured they all had the uniforms and other necessaries.
  • Chairman John has written a personal letter to all students, on behalf of KES Trustees, wishing them well and promising KES’s continued support for their education.
  • Each new school is in the Nakuru area and Lydia will be making regular visits to ensure the students are not experiencing problems and we’re establishing a welfare fund that can be used for pocket money and other issues that the students can draw on such as needing to replace broken glasses.
  • Simon and John have booked a due diligence trip to Kenya in March to visit the schools and scholars.
Finally, as you’ll gather this has been a challenging and busy time for all involved, but we do hope you agree with us that this is actually a really good outcome that synchronises the need to close BDA Secondary with the necessary, eventual winding up of KES. Primarily, it’s good news for our KES scholars and we, as always, promise to keep you fully informed of next steps.

Thanks for all your support,

KES Trustees


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Latest Kenya election news

The rerun is now scheduled for 26 October following the Supreme Court annulment of the 8 August election.

Raila Odinga, the opponent who fought to get the original election annulled has now pulled out of the race stating that no changes have been made, so the original issues still won't be addressed.

Pockets of unrest continue but protests have now been banned in an attempt to calm the situation and restore stability.

More information is available from the BBC here.

Updated 16 October

Friday, 1 September 2017

Kenyan election update

Kenyan election results have been annulled by Supreme Court due to irregularities. A re-run is now scheduled for 17 October.

Only the current President Uhuru and opposition Raila Odinga (the candidate who contested the original results with the Supreme Court) are to appear on the ballot.

President Uhuru is striving to continue as normal until then.

Find out more on the BBC

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Nearing a milestone

We're very excited to be approaching a milestone achievement. We've just confirmed our 97th scholarship since KES was set up. We're hoping to get to 100 very soon. Could you fund the 100th?

That means 97 children who would never have been able to afford secondary school, have been provided with high-quality education in a nurturing and modern facility. And don't just take our word for it, here are a couple of the students' thoughts:

"I had no dream but now I see a bright future." Enoch

Lucy recently graduated and has just started university, said:
"Your support will help me concentrate on what is more important to me, education without worrying about the fees. This will help me reach my goal of graduating with a degree in bachelor of environmental studies and community development. I hope that one day I'll be able to help other students achieve their goals just as you have helped me."

To sign up or find out more about funding a scholarship, visit our Sponsor a student page.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed as Kenyan president

The incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta has been officially re-elected with 54% of the vote. His opposition Raila Odinga is still contesting the result and has launched a legal campaign as he stands by his claim that the election was rigged.

President Kenyatta has called for peace and asked all Kenyans to shun any violence in his acceptance speech on Friday 11 August as detailed in this Guardian article.

Official breakdown of the full results across all counties and seats can be found at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission

Update Sep 2017: Please see latest news items with updates about the election rerun and pending outcomes.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Kenyan General Election

Kenyans attended the polls on Tuesday in the General Election. Voters had the opportunity to vote for 6 key positions including President, Member of Parliament and Women's representative.

The Presidential contenders are the current president Uhuru Kenyatta and rival Raila Odinga.

Final results are still to be confirmed.

Interim results show that Uhuru Kenyatta has secured a victory but it will be days until the results are verified and confirmed.

Supporters of Odinga are contesting the result amid claims of hacking and are claiming instead that Odinga has won.

Neutral observers have claimed the interim results are fair and the claim of hacking has been dismissed, stating that the evidence of a hacking attempt was found but the attempt was unsuccessful and did not affect the results. The country is now in limbo and carefully watching events unfold, trying to keep calm between opposing party supporters to prevent unrest and the extent of violence that broke out after the 2010 election where 1,100 Kenyans were killed and 600,000 displaced.

Here's a link to an interest analysis from BBC. 

Updated 10 August 2017

Friday, 16 June 2017

New Kenya school system pilot starts today

The pilot of a new school system begins today across the country, involving a selection of 470 schools.

The current system of 8-4-4 years (8 years of primary, 4 secondary and 4 university) has come under increasing criticism of being too exam based. The new proposed system will radically change to become 2-6-3-3 and understandably has large implications for the whole education system.

The Primary curriculum is also being changed with the aim to have continuous class-based monitoring and assessment instead of the current national examination at the end of the eighth year - the Kenya Certificated of Primary Education (KCPE).

The new structure was only agreed at the end of January and has already come under a lot of scrutiny and questioning whether four months is enough time for teachers to be retrained and the system given a fair chance to roll out successfully. We'll be keeping our eyes out for interim results and update on progress when we can.

To find out some more, have a look at the following links that set out the key differences and political challenges.

Daily Nation article from 22 January 2017 after the new system was agreed
Digital Standard article from 31 January 2017 after the new system was agreed
Daily Nation article from 27 May 2017 detailing the start of the pilot

Primary class at our link school BDA

Saturday, 29 April 2017

April 2017 newsletter

The latest newsletter is out now, including news of our latest scholars and some stories from some of our older scholars, demonstrating the impact we can make.  Have a look at our April newsletter by clicking here.

And why not sign up to receive your very own copy here?