Nestle, Vevey, Switzerland has launched a US$33,500 (Ksh3.3 million) scholarship programme aimed at improving the level of education in eight coffee farming communities that they work with in Central and Eastern Kenya.
The Coffee Aroma Scholarship as it will be known, has been actualised through Nestlé’s long-term partnership with Coffee Management Services Ltd (CMS) and is set to provide education funding to the children of coffee farmers in these areas.
“The scholarship beneficiaries are guaranteed a stable learning environment without the fear of being sent home from school for lack of school fees. They will also receive regular follow up and coaching to ensure they get the best from this opportunity,” said Linda Butler, Coffee Sustainability Manager at Nestlé Headquarters in Switzerland who was meeting the farmers in Nyeri today.
Mr. Kamau Kuria, The Managing Director, CMS said that through the partnership with Nestlé, farmers under the programme will have the assurance that their children will receive the best education irrespective of their parents’ circumstances.
“We hope to enable them to have an improved lifestyle, providing brighter prospects and opportunities for employment and family dynamics for the future.”
The Coffee Aroma Scholarship, which will cater for secondary education is targeting the academically promising top five percentile performing students in their counties in the upcoming Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations.
“The selection criteria will give priority to orphans or vulnerable students from families that deliver coffee to any of the eight selected sites,” added Mr. Kuria.
The children who will benefit from this programme include those who have lost one or both parents and have no guardian or sponsor to provide for their education .Others to be considered will be those whose parents are physically or mentally disabled and are not in a position to educate them.
“Children whose parents are living with HIV/AIDS or other chronic debilitating illness and are unable to educate their children and others who live under extreme poverty will also be eligible for the scholarships,” said Ms. Butler.
The Coffee Aroma Scholarship programme is being implemented under The Nescafé Plan initiative by Nestlé. Since 2011, Nestlé and CMS have created improved farming practices, which have resulted in better yield and quality through the provision of technical advice to farmers in various parts of the country. This has resulted in improved income and better access to farm inputs that are relevant to the soil conditions.
As Nestlé moves into the second phase of The Nescafé Plan, training will continue on technical agronomy aspects in the original 9 Farmers’ Cooperatives and the additional 5 cooperatives in the second phase will receive the full technical assistance of the first 9.
The firm plans to have worked with 42,000 farmers by 2017 in assisting them become more self-sufficient and more successful in their holistic farming practices.