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KenSAP helps gifted, economically-disadvantaged Kenyan high school graduates gain admission to the most selective colleges in North America. Each year the program chooses one dozen high-achieving students and during two seven-week residential sessions introduces them to the American university system and its application process and prepares them for the SAT. Since its founding in 2004, KenSAP has placed 142 students at such institutions including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Amherst, all with full, need-based financial aid.

KenSAP’s initial aim was simply to extend access to world-class university education to a few deserving students for whom such opportunities had scarcely existed. As more and more of those students began to succeed at their distinguished institutions, however, it became clear that KenSAP was helping to develop Kenya’s future intellectual leadership. KenSAP’s aim has therefore grown: its students are pledged to contribute to Kenya’s development in ways commensurate with the quality of their education.

In that connection, KenSAP students recognize a larger purpose. Kenya’s growing cohort of graduates from the world’s best universities – to which KenSAP is making a significant contribution – promises to bring strong, judicious leadership as it assumes power in the coming decades, and with such leadership, Kenya in turn promises not only to lift most of its own citizens out of crippling poverty, but also to lift the whole East African region, of which it is the economic engine.