NAIROBI, KENYA – (December 8, 2015)—Safaricom Limited and the KCB Foundation have partnered with Acumen to advance the Acumen East Africa Fellowship, a leadership development program that equips emerging social leaders in East Africa with the skills, knowledge and moral imagination to drive social change in their communities. The two institutions have jointly committed $1 million to Acumen as part of a three-year partnership to catalyze the development of the region’s bright minds and big thinkers dedicated to tackling the problems of poverty.
“We are beyond grateful to have the support of two of East Africa’s most respected names in business,” said Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO of Acumen, a nonprofit global social venture fund that invests in companies, leaders and ideas to change the way the world tackles poverty. “Safaricom and KCB Group share our commitment to bringing the private and public sectors together to support those individuals who have the courage to confront the status quo and dare to dream of a different tomorrow.”
Launched in 2012 with the support of KCB Foundation, Acumen’s East Africa Fellows Program is designed to build the next generation of social leaders with the audacity to transform society and create a better, more inclusive world. Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, who recently joined Acumen’s Board of Directors, and Joshua Oigara, CEO of KCB Group, announced their commitment at the graduation for Acumen’s 2015 Regional Fellows on November 14 in Nairobi.
“We believe in order to make a tangible difference in the societies in which we operate, we must be willing to invest in the change-makers to empower them with the skills that will enable them to take on the world’s challenges,” said Mr. Collymore.
Over the last four years, Acumen’s East Africa Fellows Program has attracted thousands of applicants from seven of the region’s nations who come from diverse cultural, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds and work across a variety of sectors. The 20 Fellows selected remain in their jobs while participating in five week-long seminars, where they receive the tools, training and space to innovate new ideas, accelerate their impact, and build a strong network of social leaders from across the region and around the world.
“KCB is deepening its investments in developing and nurturing a critical pool of capable leaders who will drive the growth agenda in the East African region and beyond, explaining our partnerships with like-minded organizations like Acumen,” said Mr. Oigara. “The future and success of East Africa largely depends on investments towards growing young leaders. As a banking group, we are proud to support the East Africa Fellows Program and excited to contribute towards the development of stronger leadership qualities among young and innovative minds who have defied the challenges they face and put in place viable solutions to various problems facing the region. Our pledge is to continue supporting such initiatives since we believe that we can only be the change that we want.”
The 2016 cohort of Acumen Fellows will begin its fellowship in February. To learn more about Acumen’s Regional Fellows program, visit http://localhost/leadership/regional-fellows/east-africa/.
Acumen is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest patient capital in businesses whose products and services are enabling the poor to transform their lives. Founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001, Acumen has invested more than $88 million in 82 companies across Africa, Latin America and South Asia. We are also developing a global community of emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and determination to create a more inclusive world. This year, Acumen was named one of Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profit Companies. Learn more at www.localhost and on Twitter @Acumen.
Safaricom is a leading player in Africa’s mobile market and pioneered the world’s most developed mobile payment platform, M-PESA. With the creation of M-PESA, Safaricom revolutionized banking in East Africa by enabling users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services using only a cell phone. By providing access to banking and other formal financial services, Safaricom’s innovative “pay as you go” platform has unlocked opportunities for millions of poor Africans to afford essential goods and services that can transform their lives. M-PESA’s creators also founded M-KOPA, an energy company in which Acumen invested in 2011 that uses the payment platform to provide solar power to the poor.
About KCB Foundation
The KCB Foundation was established in 2007 to implement the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs and to bring to life the Bank’s corporate value of caring for the community. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors drawn from the main KCB Group Board and external independent experts. The Foundation supports community projects in Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi that advance enterprise development, education and environmental programs among others. KCB staff are also engaged in the Foundation’s activities by volunteering their skills, time and funds towards community projects.