I went to university just when HELB was initiated and I got what we used to call ‘Boom’ when I was in second year, a loan that I have since repaid.
As a county we realized that whereas our students get the opportunity to go to university, not all of them have the resources. Busia also has the challenge of high poverty levels, so you find that many families are struggling to make ends meet and therefore they may not prioritize certain things like long-term training over putting food on the table.
Thankfully, HELB has endeavored to support students who have qualified for college and universities despite the challenges of inadequate funding as a result of these challenges, some students get inadequate allocation compared to their needs. So, we thought, if we could top up as a county through a programme with HELB, we can be able to enhance the available loan. HELB is already a specialized in education financing, which is a unique field. We therefore felt that working with them would be the best way to enhance our activities and grow a revolving fund. We have two programmes; the Revolving Fund that is direct university or college entry plan and the Afya Elimu Fund, which specifically targets medical trainees.
Our County Government put up a medical training college because we understood the challenges in terms of the demand for medical personnel. We had to deal with cases where the medical field is infiltrated by people who are not qualified. You find someone called ‘Doctor’ who only has a white jacket. At the moment the Afya Elimu programme is supporting about 75 ongoing students. The college has grown from less than 60 students some three years ago to nearly 500 students, which means we are well on our way to achieve the objective of training middle level health care workers