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M-PESA Foundation Academy: transforming learners into leaders through digital education

02 Dec 2021Inclusion

In the town of Thika, 40 kilometres to the north-east of Nairobi, Kenya, a school is using technology to help talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds realise their full potential as future leaders and entrepreneurs.

The M-PESA Foundation Academy is a state-of-the-art, residential high school serving nearly 500 students from a diverse range of backgrounds. The school is supported by the M-PESA Foundation, an independent charitable trust funded by proceeds from M-PESA, Vodafone and Safaricom’s mobile money platform.

Students arrive at the M-PESA Foundation Academy on full scholarships and can study International Baccalaureate programmes as well as the Kenyan National Curriculum. They are provided with smart devices and high-speed connectivity to support their learning, along with training to develop their digital skills.

You can hear the stories of students, graduates and a teacher of the M-PESA Foundation Academy in the short films below.

Nathan Kubai’s story

Nathan Kubai dreams of becoming a pilot – the first ever from his village in Maua, Kenya. In school, he excelled at science and mathematics. Today, he is studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, on a full scholarship funded by the M-PESA Foundation Academy.

Jabu’s story

Jabu is the head girl at the M-PESA Foundation Academy. She has ambitions of becoming a diplomat, and studies German to enrich her communication skills and expand her world view.

Noelle’s story

Noelle teaches German at the M-PESA Foundation Academy. Here, she describes how technology is helping transform the approach to teaching in Kenya.

Joyce’s story

In 2018, Joyce gave a speech at the academy to guests including the President of Kenya, where she declared her dreams of becoming the next chief justice of the Supreme Court within 20 years. Originally from a small village in the Murang’a County, Joyce is now studying law at Strathmore University in Nairobi.

Samuel’s story

Despite the challenges he faces living with a disability, Samuel has grown into a skilled table tennis player during his time at the academy. In his second year, he was selected as captain of the academy’s table tennis and Paralympic teams, leading both to tournament success.

Eunice’s story

Eunice is passionate about languages and is currently learning French, in addition to English and Kiswahili as part of her curricular studies. She has many ambitions: she wants to be a fashion designer, but she also wants to be an ambassador and a writer. Her teachers say she has a fascinating way with words.

Trace’s story

In 2020, Trace was part of a team at the academy that developed Skullcard, a payments card and app that helps parents and students keep track of pocket money. Trace’s team presented the project as part of the Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge in Kenya, where they received a financial bursary to help develop it further.

Vodafone believes that technology and digital skills are key to ensuring every child has access to a quality education.

  • SDG 4
  • Africa
  • Digital skills
  • Digital skills & Education
  • Digital Society
  • Inclusion
  • M-Pesa
  • SDG 10
  • SDGs
  • Vodafone Foundation
  • Social Contract

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