University of Nairobi refugee students are set to benefit from the DAFI Scholarship Program as a result of the partnership between the institution, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Windle International Kenya (WIK).
The DAFI scholarship program was initiated and has been funded by the Government of Germany since 1992. The program is largely implemented in Africa, as well as in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. In Kenya, WIK is the implementing partner of the UNHCR. WIK works with the Government of Kenya, UNHCR, organizational and institutional partners and marginalized communities in Kenya to provide education to all at pre and post-secondary levels.
The three organizations have been long-term partners, albeit informally and today, November 18, 2020, the memorandum of understanding between the three was signed, in a virtual ceremony.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama noted that by signing the MoU, the three organizations are up scaling the relationship, formalizing it and building up on a sustainable relationship.
“The work that we are doing is transformative. Thank you WIK and or the work that you are doing of impacting the lives of our refugee students,” said Prof. Kiama. “As we sign the MoU we celebrate the Founder of Windle International Kenya, Dr. Hugh Austin Windle Pilkington, who taught at the University of Nairobi’s Department of Religious Studies between 1972 and 1980 from where his humanitarian activities among refugees began.”
Prof. Kiama challenged the students who have been supported by the DAFI Scholarship Program to strive and impact their societies wherever they are. He said that higher education is mUNHCR feant to transform the community.
UNHCR Representative, Ms. Fathiaa Abdalla said that by making basic and primary education free, Kenya has allowed many refugees get an education and that the impact of tertiary education is being felt because the refugees have secured a lifelong investment.
“Education is fundamental in human development. We do not want to miss an educated generation,” she said. “SDGs advocate for learning for all. I am looking forward to this partnership that will not only benefit us but the refugee students as well.”
WIK Executive Director, Ms. Phyllis Mureu, appreciated UoN’s role in supporting academically talented refugee youth to access university education with ease and creating a suitable academic environment that has enabled them to thrive.
“As WIK, we are determined to continue supporting more scholars to study at UoN,” she said.
Cumulatively, the DAFI Scholarship Program has supported a total of 940 students in Kenya since 2005. During the most recent selection process undertaken from September 2019, 87 out of 245 new scholars were placed at UoN. This represents an equivalent of 35% of the total population of new scholars. In 2020, the Kenya program targets to support 554 scholars undertaking academic programs in various institutions of higher learning in Kenya.