For James Gachari, resource mobilisation for HELB goes beyond just day-to-day performance appraisals. It is a calling, one that motivates him and his team fuelled by the fact that for every new partnership that comes on board, they know the dreams made possible and lives changed across the country.
Since joining HELB, James and his team have been working tirelessly across departments and donors putting in place the necessary structures of prudential management of resources and demonstrating the impact of external resource mobilisation alongside the funding that HLEB receives from the exchequer and the loan repayments.
And their efforts have paid off- Since the 2013/2014 financial year cycle, HELB has mobilized over Kshs 1.5B from 40 partners. “Each of these Funders gets into a Service Contract with HELB as the Fund Manager where they agree on terms of engagement
and an oversight committee is put in place. We then agree on a selection criterion with the funder bearing in mind equitability and fairness, so that we have regional and gender balance while reaching the most deserving of cases.” James indicates.
This process is largely automated and shared with the funder for purposes of transparency. The schemeisthenrolledoutandeligiblebeneficiaries are invited to apply. HELB manages the application, disbursement, and loan recovery mechanism in liaison with the Funder.
Developing these partnerships is advantageous to the Funder because, having been in the business of higher education funding for over 26 years, HELB brings in the experience and structure for efficient management. Also, as a Government Agency, HELB is backed by law and therefore able to recover loans as a statutory deduction; recovery is a crucial element for the proper running of any revolving fund. Furthermore, Funders come in with
different terms, therefore each fund has a unique partnership approach that is specific to their needs as well as a dedicated Relationship Manager. It is therefore very easy for a Partner to come and not only see the transformational impact of their funds but also, they can audit their funds because they are run independently from the HELB Consolidated Fund.
With an increase of partnerships comes equally a responsibility to ensure value for money and also increase the partnership portfolio to meet the growing demand of needy students. For James and his team, the challenge remains how to attract more non-governmental organisations, foundations, trusts, and other government agencies that support student financing in one form or another. “We want to reach out even more to the private sector through Public-Private Partnerships so that they can supplement our efforts. We are telling all these partners to entrust us with the process because our systems are time-tested.” James notes.