The Higher Education Loans Board [HELB] has officially taken over the Afya Elimu Fund [AEF]. The take over happened at an event presided over by Dr. Patrick Amoth, Director General in the Ministry of Health and attended by Hon. Ekwee Ethuro, HELB Board Chairman; Charles Ringera, HELB CEO; Dr. Janet Muriuki, Country Director, Kenya, IntraHealth International; Prof. Michael Kiptoo, CEO, Kenya Medical Training College and representatives from USAID and other Partners.
AEF started as a scholarship scheme in the Financial Year 2012/2013 targeting to offer scholarships to 341 middle level health trainees in specific cadres and from marginalized areas. It was converted into a loan scheme in the Financial Year 2013/2014 targeting 2,200 middle level health trainees in specific cadres, from marginalized areas as well as high HIV prevalent counties in view of PEPFAR funding.
The initial main funders for AEF included USAID FUNZOKENYA Project, HELB and MoH who jointly contributed Kshs.120M. As of 31st March 2021 the AEF Fund had supported over 48,188 students with a total of Kshs.3.06B
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“The vision of AEF at inception was to grow the Fund to Kshs.2B by the year 2021 and we have clearly surpassed the target. Further, we have over 11,000 beneficiaries who have graduated. Recovery of these loans began in the Financial Year 2019/2020 and over Kshs.200M has been recovered to date,” said Charles Ringera, CEO HELB.
Some of the key partners to specifically join in supporting AEF include I & M Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, The Family Group Foundation and Rattansi Education Trust. Counties such as Kakamega, Taita Taveta, Bomet and Busia have set up special funds managed by HELB to support training of middle level health workers for their counties.
“To ensure sustainability AEF beneficiaries have from Financial Year 2019/2020 been covered under the HELB Students’ Loans Self-Protection Scheme [SLPS] starting with the First Time Applicants. So far, under the SLPS, a total of Kshs.2.9M has been deducted from 9,547 beneficiaries to cover a loan portfolio of Kshs.397.6M,” said Charles Ringera, CEO HELB.
AEF was the flagship Public Private Partnership project for HELB and since then, HELB has progressed with another 27 partnerships in a proactive approach towards external resource mobilization to gradually reduce the over reliance on Government exchequer.
HELB offers a unique opportunity for to partners to utilize a robust system of identifying deserving students, disbursing, and recovering the funds. In the last 6 years, HELB has mobilized over Kshs. 1.36Billion from 28 partners thereby facilitating over 35,000 students to pursue higher education in TVET Colleges and Universities.