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Initiative gives hope to talented students

By Joe Ombuor | April 7th 2014
DP William Ruto’s wife Rachel receives a laptop from Global Peace Foundation President Manu Chandaria and his wife Aruna to hand over to a Leap Hub pilot school. [Photo: Joe Ombuor/Standard]

By Joe Ombuor

Nairobi, Kenya: For an education system like Kenya’s that hinges almost absolutely on academics and examination results, the aptly named Leap Hubs initiative could be the right approach to change that rather rigid mindset.

The initiative, anchored by the Global Peace Foundation (GPF), exposes talented students in secondary schools to entrepreneurship and leadership besides regular academic programmes, thus reducing the current cut-throat race to pass national examinations.

According to Kenya Country Executive Director of GPF, Daniel Juma Omondi, Leap Hubs revolve around a dedicated creative space such as a renovated classroom that contains resources and working materials.

“Leap Hubs focus on developing leadership rooted in character, and entrepreneurship rooted in creativity,” explained Mr Omondi during the official launch of the initiative in Nairobi recently.

He disclosed that the hubs, which are to be eventually rolled out across the country, were ready to kick off as pilot projects in nine secondary schools in Nairobi and Kiambu counties.

“This includes ideal incubation and vetting, mentorship, business plan development, financial literacy training and financing start-up implementation,” said Omondi, adding that the initiative was the first of its kind in Africa and whose aim is to address unemployment.

Deputy President William Ruto’s wife, Rachel Ruto, graced the launch and agreed to be the initiative’s patron.

The patron of GPF, entrepreneur and philanthropist Manu Chandaria, gave the initiative a much-needed fillip by donating 25 laptops from the Chandaria Foundation in conjunction with the Aruna Trust of his wife, Aruna Chandaria.

Reduce unemployment

Dr Chandaria said the initiative would help reduce the six million youths currently roaming the streets of Kenyan towns in search of non-existent jobs.

Teachers and students represented the nine schools selected for the pilot programme.

Mrs Ruto said empowering young minds with skills beyond the classroom was the way to go to reduce unemployment and described the initiative as timely.

She said the Jubilee government was keen to provide opportunities for the youth to start and scale up their own businesses, a gesture she noted was amply demonstrated by the recent establishment of the Uwezo Fund.

She said as patron of Leap Hub, she would ensure that it went beyond Nairobi and Kiambu to all the 47 counties in the shortest time possible.

The nine schools in the pilot programme are Mary Leakey, Kenya High, Moi Forces Academy, Our Lady of Fatima, Maina Wanjigi, Embakasi Girls, Kariobangi North Girls and Buru Buru Girls Secondary Schools.

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