PCSE Seed Grants in Action: Report #2 from YAF Kenya

Each year, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards $5,000 seed grants to fund the launch or early-stage growth of a project, program, or venture. YAF Kenya (formerly Accessible and Affordable Sanitation for Women) run by Sydney Ochieng ’22 and Ziyaan Virji (Aga Khan Academy Mombasa), was one of this year’s winners. This is their second report since receiving funding from the PCSE in March 2019.Read their first report here.

We finished our outreach and pitching to the schools we were interested in working with. We sat our first full SAT exam in June and shortlisted down the pool pf students to 20 students to proceed to the next round of interviews and examinations in July. We run several workshops with the shortlisted students and administered a second test to them which we then used to shortlist to the 5 students we will run our pilot program with for this year.  We have continued running a boot camp of several SAT tests to work on their scores. I am happy to report that over the several weeks we have noticed gradual progress in their scores with some already producing impressive scores such as 1350.  We are also currently working on their documentation such as financial aid forms.  We have also initiated the process of doing recommendation letters for them through their high school teachers.

One major challenge was the fact that an official SAT center was not available in the city where our project was set up. To tackle this, I decided to seek to collaborate with the international schools around the city and use their network to grant access to the SAT center in the nearby city. We are currently in progress of solidifying our partnership with a particular school. I also had the task of molding a local student who will be in charge of the logistics to do with the project while I am away.  This included me keenly choosing someone whois equally passionate about the project and would dedicate himself to the vision of Yaf Kenya. I am also happy to report that I have been able to work and groom a local here who will be my reference point as I study abroad.

Our next steps moving forward are to begin common app applications this coming month after the students get off their holiday.  We are excited to share with you how our work unfolds in the next few months.