Focus on Scholarships - supporting socio and economic development in rural Kenya
By UWCSEA Foundation
We are living in an exciting but unpredictable time. In a world filled with tensions, fears and concerns we need compassionate and thoughtful global citizens who are inspired to use their education as a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.
Now, possibly more than ever before, we need more young people living and learning the UWC values. Our scholars add to the diversity of UWC by sharing their traditions, their community and their stories with fellow students. For scholars, a UWC education can open doors to unimaginable opportunities; giving them a chance to take their dynamism and commitment to new levels, personally, socially and globally.
Over the next few weeks, UWCSEA Foundation will be sharing some of our scholar stories and promoting how giving to the Scholarship Programme is transforming lives through education. Below is the first story as part of our Focus on Scholarship series.
Supporting socio and economic development in rural Kenya Wyclife, from Kenya, joined UWCSEA in 2011 on a full two-year IB Scholarship. He graduated in 2013 with a Davis Scholarship to study at Earlham College in the US, however, before he headed off to College, he chose to put his UWC values into immediate action by taking a UWCSEA community funded Gap Year in the Philippines. Working with an organisation called Lihuk Panaghiusa, Wyclife was involved in providing education and welfare to individuals living in poverty. After Typhoon Haiyan hit the region, he worked to provide immediate aid and help communities begin the long journey to rebuilding what they had lost. It was this experience that further fueled his desire to help others.
After moving to the US to start College, he received a US$10k grant from President David Dawson’s Discretionary Fund at Earlham College in 2015 for his plan to enhance learning opportunities for girls in rural Kenya and tackle the issue of menstruation bullying. Then, in 2016 Wyclife, together with three of his fellow students at Indiana's Earlham College, won the renowned Hult Prize. The Prize, an annual contest sponsored by the Clinton Foundation, challenged students to tackle a pressing global problem and offered a US$1 million grant.
Wyclife and his team’s winning project – BuuPass (formerly known as Magic Bus) - was one of 25,000 entries looking for a solution to enrich the lives of those people living in crowded, underserved urban spaces. Their idea aimed to improve accessibility to transport by digitalising the booking of private buses in Kenya, called Matatus, which is used by over 70% of the population in Nairobi. However, since winning the prize, the company has pivoted to reach a much larger network and is now operating with intercity long-distance buses. BuuPass has also been awarded the largest government contract to provide ticketing of Kenyan railways, called Standard Gauge Railways (SGR).
Since winning, Wyclife has been giving talks to various student entrepreneur groups around the globe. He is now an Intern at World Bank after graduating from Earlham with B.A Economics in 2017.
“My enthusiasm to help communities started after UWCSEA sponsored my GAP year to the Philippines and since then, I have always wanted to start a business with impact.”