We have three criteria that are taken into equal account: talent, personality and need.
Financial neediness: We evaluate the details of the financial situation of our scholars through assessments by the teachers and area chiefs/district education officers, as well as from other information such as the parents’ jobs (in many cases, the parents are small farmers, pastors with a relatively low income, or one or both parents have died), number of siblings, etc. When in doubt, we conduct either telephone interviews or personal interviews at the child’s home. In personal interviews, we look at criteria such as availability of electricity at home, number of electronic devices in the home, what kind of water access (i.e., a well, a river, rainwater, etc), the kind of roof on the home (i.e., metal or palm leaves). For Kenya, it is important to know that about 40-50% of all school children in Kenya cannot afford the fees for secondary school - so based on these numbers a lot of people are already needy.
Talent is measured by the vision the student expresses in a short essay (part of the application process) as well as by school grades (in Kenya there is a standardized test after primary school which is free of charge) and a short assessment.
Personality : Every AiduFellow must inspire us and we expect every Aidufellow to give back to their society once they can.
This preselection process determines that the shortlisted AiduSeekers are in need of money, talented, and have an inspiring personality to complete their education. The AiduMaker, i.e., the person who finances the scholarship, decides which student to finance from the shortlisted AiduSeekers after going through each profile.
All AiduFellows are highly motivated because they know that education is their only chance to achieve their dreams. Every successful applicant to the Aiducation Scholarship Program has high goals that play an important role during the pre-selection process of Aiducation International. They know that the scholarship offers them a new chance in life. Interim reports document the scholar’s progress and attendance. Should the scholar decide to skip school for some reason, or drop out of the program entirely, the AiduMaker is consulted and the scholarship can be transferred to a more motivated student - but such cases are extremely rare.
We do expect every AiduFellow to award at least one scholarship once they can. And while each AiduFellow signs an "AiduFellow pledge" in which they are encouraged to give back later on and award scholarships, we don't formally have a legal contract as we are building a network trust together with our AiduFellow. In fact, we do ask our AiduFellow for even more than just repaying one scholarship: We ask and expect each of our AiduFellow to significantly contribute to the economic, political, and social development of their country. We do see very encouraging activity in this field as illustrated by AiduFellows like Gift Pola who raised a scholarship even while she was still in school (please see our Blog Article on Gift, or Obrein Telly who led a small team of students to donate approximately USD 400 for victims of a famine in Kenya. His efforts were honored with an article in one of the two national newspapers and in our Blog.
1. Education: We channel our funds exclusively into education. Because we believe that investments into education are the most effective help for self-help. In addition, we are proud to say that 90% of our scholarship funds are invested into education, only 10% in our administration.
2. The performance principle: we support high potentials who are needy, have good grades at school, are highly motivated, and have an exciting vision for their lives. As a consequence, we ensure efficient use of the money and a maximized impact for our AiduMakers.
3. 1:1: An exclusive one-on-one relationship between the AiduMaker and their scholar: AiduMakers can follow their scholars’ progress, see how their money is used, and how it creates a positive impact for the individual and for his/her community.
4. Very high efficiency: Over 90% of the scholarship money is used to finance the scholarships! We work with corporate sponsors to finance our administration costs. The organization is almost completely run by a core group of volunteers.
5. Our Mentorship Academies: Mentorship Academies are the highlights of our students' school year. While each AiduFellow is supported financially, he or she also becomes part of an exclusive network and benefits from our "Education to Aid Program". Yearly mentorship academies allow the students to meet and learn from thought leaders of the countries society, Aiducators, and from other AiduFellows. While the external speakers are professors, business men and women, doctors, and lawyers who can all serve as role models, the main focus of such academies is on Entrepreneurship as we believe that Entrepreneurship is a necessary basis for the development of any country. Workshops and discussions sensitize the AiduFellows to use their talent and potential to make their country a better place!
In Kenya, the AiduFellows typically attend good to very good public boarding high schools. Why do we focus on these top schools? - After the standardized national exams in primary school, these are the schools which select the best students. Aiducation International only supports high-performing students, and these are the students who have been chosen to attend one of these top schools. However since they are coming from a humbly financial background, they often cannot afford to attend these schools without a scholarship.
In the Philippines, the AiduFellows typically attend/ have attended public day high schools of low to medium quality. Instead of sending them to private high schools. we found it more efficient to organize extracurricular classes to help them compete successfully with graduates from private high schools also while they are attending colleges or universities.
Yes, that is a problem. We do not follow an integrated approach but focus on the school fees and the non-financial support of the AiduFellows in our mentoring program (e.g. Mentorship Academies). So far, this has worked very well.
At the moment we are active in Kenya and in the Philippines.
Aiducation was founded on 2 beliefs:
1. Education is the most important lever for the development of any person.
2. Active People are the most important lever for the development of any country.
When we say 'High Potentials' we mean young people who are eager to learn, enjoy working hard at school, and have a fascinating vision of how they can contribute moving their country forward. We believe that those students can multiply the impact of a scholarship and transform it from an individual to the society level. Many of our AiduFellows want to pursue a career in healthcare, for example, and we believe this is an area in which the brightest minds of many developing countries could have a great deal of success.
First of all, we pre-select all students according to three basic criteria: talent, need, and personality. The actual selection process is divided in three steps:
1. All candidates apply using our 8-page application form, in which their talent (vision, grade point average, volunteer engagement, teacher recommendation) and need (number and age of siblings, profession of parents, are the parents still alive? teacher recommendation) is evaluated.
2. Often, we also conduct personal interviews, e.g.in the AiduSeeker’s home, where we assess the scholar’s family’s standard of living, including for example, examining the type of water access (i.e. pipe, well, river, rainwater), number of electronic devices, and if there is electricity in the home. In the Philippines, the students pass in addition to that, an entire assessment center.
3. In the third step, the AiduMaker chooses the applicant that convinces him/her most.
At the end of the year, each AiduMaker receives progress reports about his or her AiduFellows. These include school grades, which measure the scholar’s success in the classroom. In addition all AiduFellows can include documents that show their engagement outside of the classroom. (Examples for AiduFellows that show very strong extracurricular activies are Gift Pola who raised a scholarship even while she was still in school (please see our Blog Article on Gift, and Obrein Telly who led a small team of students to donate approximately USD 400 for victims of a famine in Kenya. His efforts were honored with an article in one of the two national newspapers and in our Blog. Students like Gift and Obrein serve as proof of the short-term impact of Aiducation International’s approach.). The scholarships are then extended every year for a maximum of four years. If the AiduFellow’s’s academic results are not meeting expectations, the extension of the scholarship can be denied. In these cases the scholarship can be transferred to another student – after consultation with the AiduMaker.
We realize that this could be an issue. However, given our AiduFellows‘ circumstances and our own efforts, we feel that this is not an imminent threat. We also believe that temporary emigration can, in fact, benefit individuals and countries. The main reasons for this are:
1. Of course we would like our students to stay in their home countries and we specifically select students who plan to positively impact their home country.
a) Besides good grades at school, the candidates must describe how they want to use their talent for the betterment of their country. We will not shortlist any student who simply wants to take advantage of the system and then move abroad just to make a lot of money!
b) Our mentoring program (including "Mentorship Academies") also serve to point out to our young talents that such a scholarship is a privilege and it is up to them to use their talent responsibly- for themselves and for their country.
2. Only very few of our AiduFellows will have a realistic chance to go abroad in the foreseeable future.
3. Even if students do leave their country, the effect can also be positive for their home country. First of all, "Brain Drain" is not inevitably unfavorable for the development of their home country. Since some of them return home after a few years, this promotes the transfer of know-how from developed countries to developing countries as well. A prominent example is Mahatma Ghandi who spent many years in England and in South Africa before he applied his skills in India. Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, is another such example – she lived in the United States for several years before she started the green-belt movement in Kenya.
4. The financial support from expatriates to their families at home is about as large as global development aid. In 2007 for example, the money that expatriates sent home to their developing countries added up to 250 billion US$ which is more than twice the entire development aid donated by OECD countries (103 billion US$); Source: Swisscontact. If you’d like to read an article on El Salvador which describes this phenomenon - please contact us here.
Aiducation International’s AiduFellows are selected for their potential to positively impact their society. As they contribute to building their home country, they multiply the AiduMaker’s impact and shift it from an individual to a social (regional and even national) level. Consequently, it is expected that each scholarship will not only have a short-term impact but also a mid-/ long-term impact.
Two different methods are applied to measure this impact.
The short-term impact is the impact while an AiduFellows is still at school: thanks to each scholarship, high-potential students can finance their high-school fees. By providing this opportunity, Aiducation International and our AiduMakers a) give a perspective to financially dependent students who want to succeed and motivates them to excel in their studies; b) bring forward a minority group of top performers previously not identified; and c) assist this top-performing group into existing schools, thereby raising the academic level and benefiting the entire country.
This short-term impact is assessed in the progress reports giving information on the academic performance of each AiduFellow and on the AiduFellow’s extracurricular activities and special achievements. One of our AiduFellows, for example, is Obrein Telly who recently led a small team of students to donate approximately USD400 for victims of a famine in Kenya. His efforts were honored with an article in one of the two national newspapers (see press archive). Students like Obrein Telly serve as proof of the short-term impact of Aiducation International’s approach.
The mid-/ long-term impact can only be seen years after our AiduFellow’s graduation from high school. First of all, the average income of a secondary school graduate is more than twice as high compared to someone who only finished primary school (Fig. 1, "Eduardo Zepeda (2007)"). This significantly reduces the probability of someone to be affected by poverty.
Fig. 1: The average monthly gross earnings of Kenyans who completed secondary school is approximately twice as high as the average monthly gross earnings of Kenyans who only completed primary school. The average monthly gross earnings of Kenyans who graduated from primary school is below the internationally recognized absolute poverty line of 37.5 USD per month (1.25 USD per day).In contrast to that, Kenyans who graduated from secondary school earn on average 80 USD per month. This is more than twice the income, which defines absolute poverty and is almost a tripling of income compared to Kenyans who dropped out or never started with their high school education.
Furthermore, the same research paper suggests that Kenya as a country is suffering from an "acute shortage of workers at all levels, including tertiary education" and that "[...] there is a need to prioritize the increase in access of the population to education at all levels, particularly secondary education.". As we know that macro-data on the economic, social, and political development of Kenya is dependent on many factors which are not under the control of Aiducation International, we are building a long-term network for AiduFellows that will allow us to stay in touch with them and follow their development. An example of the positive mid-/ long-term impact of scholarships on bright but needy students in Kenya is Jeremiah Kiponda Kambi, the founder and CEO of Aiducation International Kenya. Coming from a poor family, he was in a similar situation to the scholars of Aiducation International - his family couldn’t afford to pay the school fees for his secondary school but he was the lucky recipient of support from a local service club. 15 years later, Jeremiah Kiponda Kambi has not only completed his high-school education and studied medicine but has become a clinical research assistant who can provide for his family. In addition, as the founder and CEO of Aiducation International Kenya, he is giving back to society and is the living proof of the positive mid-/ long-term impact. Our scholars are selected for their potential to positively impact their society at the economic, social, and political level. Education empowers them and increases the impact from an individual to the social (regional and even national) level.
The long-term impact is measured several years after our scholars’ graduation from high school. Through the mentoring program, we are building a network for our students to allow us to follow their long-term development and contribution to the economic, social, and political development of their country. This long-term impact is to be assessed in a forthcoming scientific study in cooperation with researchers from ETH Zurich.
In developing countries, cell phones are very common because the cost is low and there are few landlines available. Access to electrical power is not necessary because charging stations are readily available. Also in Kenya as well as in the Philippines, the density of mobile phones is high. In fact, Kenya is a "mobile" country that has invented great mobile solution like M-PESA, an easy way to do mobile banking. Still not all of our AiduFellows have mobile phones and if they provide a number it could also be the number of a neighbour or extended family member.
This happens for different reasons:
1. A local donor paid the primary school fees (but stopped financing at the secondary-school level).
2. The school accepted the student for free or for very low fees, because he/she had very high grades in his/her former school. There is a national ranking for all primary and secondary schools and the school’s rank depends on the final grades of the graduating students in their standardized exams. The better the students, the better their grades, and the higher the primary school will be in the ranking.
3. Parents may have saved money to pay the fees for a private school in the last 1-2 years of primary school. The fee for a private elementary school is usually much less than the fees for private secondary schools. The parents’ reasoning is that they want to offer their children a good learning environment so that they score high marks in their final exams. (Public primary schools are often of low quality - with 80-200 students per class, it is extremely difficult to learn effectively and get high marks.)
In Kenya, our applicants mainly come from rural areas and only seldom from cities. Although some parents may have respected professions, they are not able to pay the school fees for their children. The most common reasons are:
1. The parents have several children at school and are, therefore, not able to pay the fees for all of them.
2. The school demands very high fees that even parents with respected professions can't afford to pay (such as a "national school").
In the Philippines, our applicants come exclusively from Metro Manila, often from the city of Marikina and all attend/ have attended public secondary schools, which are free of charge. To enhance their leanring environment, all AiduFellows receive extensive additional academic and non-academic training far beyond their high school education.
It is of course possible to use hobbies as one readout of a student’s social background, but these can also be deceptive as some elementary schools offer computer training. Depending on the regularity of access, it is also possible for AiduSeekers to have an email address (however, these addresses often belong to friends or relatives).
Yes, in Switzerland, Germany, in the UK, and in most parts of Europe. Please contact us if you are not from Switzerland, Germany, or the UK.
Yes, we are neutral. The religion and political view of the AiduSeeker do not play a role when we pre-select the students. We often do not even know which religion the student practices, if any. In order to receive a scholarship, the student must fulfill our three criteria: they must be talented, have a great personality, and must come from a financially humble background!
We try to achieve an equal distribution in terms of gender and ethnicity. However our criteria, talent, personality and need, are the overriding factors in how we select the AiduSeekers. In the past years however, we have been able to achieve approximately gender equality.
To find out more about our legal structure download this overview (PDF) in English.
At least 90% of the scholarship money is invested directly into education. Should cost of education for the AiduFellows selected by the AiduMaker be less than the money donated, the surplus is invested in the fees of other AiduFellows. The scholarship gives an AiduFellow access to quality secondary education - no matter from which country the AiduFellow comes. The AiduFellow’s family normally pays for a moderate amount of additional costs such as school books and materials, travel to and from school as well as the school uniform. This is the contribution we expect from the families because even poor families can usually afford to pay these costs.
Please download our annual reports from our Downloads section.
Further general Information:
1. Our two main chapters in Europe, Aiducation International and Aiducation International Schweiz, are both audited by Pricewaterhouse Coopers Schweiz.
2. Receipts of all expenses in Kenya and the Philippines are transferred to Aiducation in Switzerland where expenses are verified.
All national chapters are registered non-profit organizations and must, therefore, comply with the laws and regulations of their country of operation. Our two main chapters in Europe, Aiducation International and Aiducation International Schweiz, are both audited by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Aiducation International Kenya is further audited by an independent auditor in Kenya. Due to size, independent audits of financial statements are not a realistic option for the time being for our other chapters.
In such Scholarship-Raising Chapters, finances are examined annually by financially literate AiduMakers . In the absence of a full audit, this constitutes a good independent check as AiduMakershave a strong incentive to ensure their money is put to good use.
In the UK, we are accountable to the Charity Commission which will review our performance annually. The Commission is there to ensure we provide a public benefit and has the right to rescind our registration if we fail to demonstrate such benefit.
As we are subject to tax exemption, we are also accountable to HMRC [PW1] . HMRC ensures that ‘fit and proper persons’ run charities which means people who are not at risk of committing fraud. If in any doubt, HMRC can request detailed information about the trustees and managers (i.e., background checks etc.), and take appropriate action (including removing an improper person).
In the UK, charities with less than £25,000 income have no legal requirement for a financial examination. Charities with an income between £25,000 and £ 500,000 have a legal obligation to have an independent examination. Charities with an income exceeding £ 500,000 should have a full audit (source: http://www.acie.org.uk). We are currently aligning ourselves with the other chapters and have our finances checked by qualified AiduMakers.
Yes, in Kenya at least 90% of the funds donated by AiduMakers go to school fees. Fundraising and administrative costs are covered by AiduPartners and the remaining 10%. In the Philippines, where secondary education in public schools is for free, we spend at least 90% of each scholarship on the mentoring program. In the event that we lose our AiduPartners at the global level in the future, the founders of Aiducation International have agreed that at least 90% of future donated funds should be dedicated to scholarships.
Our scholarship prices represent average costs for 4 years of secondary education. However, fees can vary from school to school, country to country, and year to year, and currency issues also play a role. If the amount paid by the AiduMaker is higher than the actual fee charged by the school/ our expenses for that particular student, the excess amount is transferred to a fund. If the amount is less than the actual fee, the scholarship is topped up with money from that fund. The fund is entirely dedicated to finance Aiducation's charitable purposes. We can, therefore, keep our promise that at least 90% of funds donated by AiduMakers go toward the education of high-potential students from a financially humble background.
Our teams in Kenya and the Philippines are responsible for ensuring that two scholarships are not given to the same student. Every applicant is tracked in a database – once he get’s confirmed by an AiduMaker he has no longer “seeking” status. Finally, the 1-1 relationship ensures that every AiduFellow addresses the progress reports to one specific AiduMaker – he or she can never report to two AiduMakers.
We explain to the AiduFellow's that they have no obligation to Aiducation International or the AiduMakers whatsoever except to work hard, complete their schooling successfully, and give back to society afterwards. Direct contact between an AiduMaker and an AiduFellow is restricted and detailed contact information is not released to the AiduMaker until the scholarship has ended and only if both sides agree to disclose.
In order to keep abuse probability as low as possible, the money for the fees is transferred directly to the school. Thanks to the various cash prizes Aiducation has won in the recent years and thanks to partnerships with wonderful AiduPartners, our administration costs are covered so that at least 90% of the scholarship donations can go towards school fees.
There are several special reasons we chose Kenya to start.
1. The organization was originally born in Kenya: Kenyans saw the necessity for this type of work and, therefore, founded the organization.
2. The Kenyan education system fits perfectly into our concept: primary school is free of charge and accessible to everyone, while high school (secondary school) is not accessible to about 40% of students each year, simply because of financial reasons. After high school, there are university loans from the government for the top 10% of each year’s class, but a similar loan system does not exist for secondary school. Furthermore, the country conducts standardized national exams after primary school and secondary school and the results are published. This allows a comparison of the academic performance of students. We expect that more than 50% of our students will end up among the top 10% of their class and will, therefore, be eligible for government-funded university loans and scholarships.
3. Kenya is an NPO hub: Kenya is - by African standards - politically and economically stable and has developed into THE place to be for NGOs in Africa. Leading NGOs have an office in Nairobi which is, after New York and Geneva, the United Nations’ most important location. It is from here that all missions and projects regarding Africa are planned and transacted.
4. Kenya has been stable in the past and is, by African standards, democratic: The last elections were deemed open and fair, even though the unrest of January 2008 was quite serious. In the end, the strike had a positive outcome, as the democratic vote of the people prevailed which is a positive sign and we think that democracy in Kenya will continue to grow and flourish.
5. Kenya has economic potential: Kenya has a large economic potential, because of the access to the Indian Ocean, from where many western African countries are supplied. The Ocean enables easy access to the world market.
6. Kenya invests in education: The Kenyan government and society at large is aware of the necessity of education: depending on the year, about 19-30% of government spending goes into the education sector (and only 5% to the military). The money is generally used to expand access to primary schools, since access to primary schools has been free of charge since 2003.
We offer life-long support to our students but we usually start at high school age as this has been shown to typically be a very decisive time for many young talents. The education system in Kenya for example has a classical bottleneck. After free primary school, many students in Kenya are unable to pay the school fees to go to secondary school. Consequently, many of them drop out and are, therefore, denied an education and a future. After secondary school, 10% of the best students of each year receive loans and scholarships from the government enabling them to attend university.
We only support high potentials and, therefore, estimate that about 50% of our students will be able to receive these government loans and scholarships. With our merit-based high-school scholarships, we help prevent bright and needy students dropping out of the education system at entry to secondary school. Should a student not receive a government university loan after secondary school, he/she still has better opportunities on the job market than if he/she only has a primary school education. Besides universities, there are other schools providing tertiary education - schools which are cheaper and could be financed through a credit or a loan.
In Kenya there are national standardized exams after primary school and after secondary school. The results are very transparent: not only a ranking of all students is published (we can provide a list of the best primary school students from 2006, and more information can be found on the website of the "Kenya National Examinations Council" http://www.examscouncil.or.ke/index.php), but there is also a school ranking.
1. School fees vary a lot between schools (by a factor of 3).
2. They also vary between the school years (by a factor of 2).
3. If AiduFellow A has lower fees than what we receive through the scholarship, AiduFellow B with higher fees is financed with the remainder of the scholarship of AiduFellow A.
Please also see teh section "Transparency", question: "How do you handle variations in school fees and currency?" in these FAQs.
Currently, between 40% and 60% of our AiduFellows are girls.
In contrast to other organizations, we discourage direct contact between Aidufellow and AiduMaker for the following reasons:
1. The Aidufellows get sidetracked.
2. This is a lot of work (the Aidufellows often do not have a direct telephone, email, or mailing address), which requires additional administrative expenses, which doesn't go hand in hand with our promise to spend 90% of our scholarship funds on education;
3. Aidufellows live in a poor part of the world. They are exposed to serious diseases, they may come from families with problems, and they are also frequently exposed to death. Direct contact might prompt the Aidufellows to ask for any further assistance they may need due to the problems they and/or their families may face. We would like to avoid our Aidufellows asking for additional financial assistance as our AiduMakers are already doing a great job. Furthermore, such additional help would not necessarily reflect efficient help for self-help.
No, the price remains the same. In rare cases we prefinance students and we have to recoup these expenses. All extra money goes into a pool and more scholarships are financed from this pool. In total, over 90% of the scholarship money is always invested in education.
For more information please read our Conditions of Donation.