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KCB Scholars Student-Athlete Scholarship Programme to boost Talanta Hela Agenda

The Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ministry of Youth Affairs, Creative Economy and Sports Ababu Namwamba has commended the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Foundation’s KCB Scholars Student-Athlete Scholarship Programme which he said is perfectly in sync with the Talanta Hela triple agenda of identifying, nurturing and monetizing talents in a deliberate, intentional and structured manner.

Namwamba affirmed the government’s commitment under the broader Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) to offer support to Kenyan sportsmen and women as well as artists with platforms to flourish and contribute to development in the country.

The CS was speaking during the launch of the KCB Scholars Student-Athlete Scholarship Programme, in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County where 50 talented student-athletes were awarded full scholarships to pursue their secondary education in Kenya.

This initiative marks the launch of the Foundation’s student athletic programme, aimed at nurturing future world-class athletes from underprivileged backgrounds.

He commended the KCB Foundation for their relentless support of sports in the country for the longest time, especially for unveiling a revolutionary programme to support the next generation of Kenyan athletes, by supporting them in an environment that enables them to grow academically and in athletics as they progress with their talents.

“The work of KCB across various sports activities is truly remarkable and admirable. You lead by example in enabling our youth to have their talents at professional levels and indeed you give meaning to our mantra of monitoring talents,” he noted.

The Sports CS expressed confidence in the immense potential of the athletes in the country, noting that the future of Kenya belongs to the youth and they must provide a platform to unleash their full potential and to drive the country to the very heights where it belongs.

Noting that education is a great equalizer, CS Namwamba further emphasized that the financial scholarships from partners were more than aid, they represent a belief in the potential of the young people and a commitment to help them achieve their dreams, which translates to investing in the future of the youth.

He lauded various partners like Transcend Talent Academy, Kenya Academy of Sports, KIPRUN and others who have come together to work with KCB support.

“I am informed that Transcend Talent Academy will nurture, and select potential talents through exchange programmes in the USA and Canada. This immense immersive experience will expose them to the global arena and sporting environment,” noted the Sports CS.

“To ensure their success and well-being throughout the programme KIPRUN will equip them with high-performance skills, minimize injury risks and maximise their adaptability to various sporting environments,” he added.

He reaffirmed the government’s support to athletes whom he referred to as the country’s premier export to the world besides the top foreign exchange earners like tea and coffee.

The CS said the government has instituted measures to reward and take better care of the athletes to ensure that when they are preparing for competitions, they are given the best environment to prepare and that the country honours them because they bring honour to their country.

He acknowledged the legendary athletes present like Eliud Kipchoge, David Rudisha, Faith Kipyegon and others for their incredible past and present, dedication, passion and discipline which he said would inspire the young athletes in future like the ones who benefitted from the Scholars Student-Athlete Scholarship Programme.

He further revealed that the government has opened up 50 athletics centres across the country as part of this initiative to support the growth and development of talents right at the grassroots.

“We will also open 20 satellite academies working with Kenya Academy of Sports (KAS) and Transcend Talent Academy which will address the problem of lack of professional coaches by offering training to coaches and scouts at the grassroots,” explained the CS.

The ministry is also upgrading facilities in the region like Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, Kamariny Stadium in Iten, Kipchoge Keino in Kapsabet and others across the country, the CS said.

He noted that there were a lot of talented young people out there who have no resources and support they need to succeed saying that the government is working closely with KCB Foundation and other partners to change the narrative by providing scholarships, coaching and mentorship to talented athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds through giving them the tools they needed to excel not only in sports but also in life.

“The government is keen on empowering our citizens to realize their full potential. Our goal as a country is to top the athletics championships ballot where Kenya finished 5th last year. Kenya has been known to produce the best middle- and long-distance runners and sprints are just picking up steadily with Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala setting the pace,” noted CS Namwamba.

In her remarks, during the commissioning ceremony in Eldoret, KCB Bank Kenya Managing Director Kenya, Mrs. Annastacia Kimtai said the 50 beneficiary students drawn from 12 counties across Kenya will join various secondary schools this week, embarking on a four-year journey with their academic and athletic pursuits fully supported.

She noted that the programme aligns with the bank’s long-term commitment to promoting young talent and fostering sporting excellence in the country.

“At KCB, we’re committed to opening doors of opportunity in our local communities. We have incorporated athletic scholarships to extend a brighter future to talented but underprivileged young people who have a promising career as world-class athletes in line with our efforts to develop sporting talent in this country,” she said.

KCB Foundation will work with Transcend Talent Academy, to train and nurture the students’ athletic talent as well as KIPRUN to provide their athletic kits.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii lauded the KCB Foundation for the initiative which he said promised a holistic approach to secondary education, cultivating a promising future for young student-athletes from needy backgrounds.

The Governor called on the students to work hard, maintain discipline and fulfil their dreams and potential.

He further noted that his administration is working together with key stakeholders to establish athletes’ training centres where athletes are supported through career and capacity-building training along with health authorities like the Anti-Doping Agency (ADA) to prevent the use of doping substances.

Others present were Elgeyo Marakwet governor Wesly Korir, Nandi Deputy Governor Dr. Yulitta Mitei, Transcend Talent Academy director Wesly Korir and others.

By Ekuwam Sylvester and Judy Too

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