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Opportunity EduFinance
Level 18, 100 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 1GT

Telephone: +44 (0) 7768599834

© 2024 Opportunity International Education Finance functions under its US and UK affiliates. Opportunity International United Kingdom is registered as a charity in England and Wales (1107713) and in Scotland (SCO39692). Opportunity International United Statesis a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Collaborating for Greater Impact: Opportunity EduFinance & Pursue partner to support low-fee schools in Western Kenya

By Maham Khuhro

Opportunity EduFinance is dedicated to bolstering student learning outcomes and fostering sustainable development by offering financial solutions and capacity-building support to schools. In line with this mission, we have recently formed a partnership with Pursue, a faith-based organization committed to improving conditions in rural communities within Kakamega County, Western Kenya.

With a population of 1.8 million, Kakamega County struggles with significant poverty, with one-third of its residents living below the poverty line, and 14% lacking access to any formal education. Pursue shares our vision and actively provides seminars, coaching, and on-the-ground support for educators and school administrators in rural primary schools, leveraging a team of education professionals.

Pursue's expertise lies more in the educational support for low-fee schools rather than financial management or access to financial services for schools. Recognizing this gap in their services, they reached out to Opportunity EduFinance for assistance. Seeing an opportunity to expand needed support to Pursue’s low-fee school partners and help ensure they are financially sustainable, EduFinance was eager create this new partnership.

This collaboration enables us to pool our expertise and resources to address the multifaceted challenges confronting schools in the region, ultimately expanding our impact. While the EduQuality program of EduFinance is also partnering with a group of schools in Western Kenya to support school development planning, and offer school leader and teacher professional development, the need far exceeds the resources of any one organization’s capacity. Through our collaborative efforts, Opportunity EduFinance and Pursue are working together to foster a more inclusive and equitable education system in Kakamega County.

School Leadership Academy Workshops

As part of this new collaboration, last November EduFinance conducted ‘School Leadership Academy’ (SLA) workshops in partnership with Pursue, engaging with over 30 schools in Kakamega County. This workshop was aimed at empowering school leaders with the knowledge and skills necessary to enhance teaching quality, school management, and particularly financial literacy within their institutions.

Opportunity EduFinance ran a 3 day workshop for Pursue schools, providing ample time for in-depth interaction and engagement with school leaders:

  • Day 1: Understanding School Profiles and Needs Assessment

    The first day of the workshops focused on building a comprehensive understanding of the participating schools' profiles and conducting a thorough needs assessment. School leaders were encouraged to articulate their motivations for establishing private schools within their communities. Interactive sessions and group discussions helped participants reflect on their educational journey, challenges faced, and aspirations for the future. Emphasis was placed on identifying key areas for improvement, including financial management, infrastructure development, and teacher qualifications.
  • Day 2: Financial Management Toolkit and Best Practices

    On the second day, attention shifted toward practical strategies for effective financial management and resource allocation within schools. School leaders were introduced to essential concepts such as budgeting, record-keeping, and separating personal and school finances. Through hands-on activities and case studies, participants were encouraged to learn how to develop financial plans tailored to their school's needs and resources. Templates and tools for maintaining financial records and implementing best practices were provided, empowering school leaders to make informed decisions and optimize financial resources.
  • Day 3: Access to Finance and Partnership Building

    The final day of the workshops centered around exploring avenues for accessing finance and nurturing strategic partnerships. Representatives from EduFinance’s partner financial institutions including Fortune Credit, Faulu, Edpartners, Jackfruit, and the National Bank of Kenya were invited to share information about school improvement loans and other financial products tailored to the needs of low-fee non-state schools. Representatives from Service Cors, another of EduFInance's strategic partners, were also invited to share with school leaders its digital school fee payment and management system, SchoolPay, which enables parents to pay school fees via their mobile phone and provides school leaders to view and manage realtime fee payments.

School leaders were guided through the process of understanding loan requirements, legalities, and the importance of formal registration. Notably, our financial institution partners found opportunities to connect with schools specifically facing financial challenges. Additionally, discussions revolved around building collaborative networks and leveraging partnerships to enhance school sustainability and growth.

FIGURE 1: Challenges faced in accessing finance

EduFinance’s financial institution partners actively engaged with schools involved in the SLA workshops, demonstrating a keen interest in their development. Through proactive follow-ups, these financial institutions disbursed over KES 1,000,000 (USD 8,000) in school improvement loans to support various improvement initiatives, including infrastructure development, additional income generation initiatives, and staff professional development.

Partnership and Impact 

Data on school participants is collected during the workshops which helps us to understand the schools’ profiles, demand for financial products, and challenges that school leaders are facing in running sustainable schools. Several months after the training, phone surveys were conducted to understand the impact of the workshops in terms of access to finance and changes in bankability indicators. Our analysis has depicted that overall, participating school leaders reported implementing new financial management practices and a better understanding of more ways to access financing to invest in their schools, paving the way for sustainable growth and development. School participants reported making the following changes based on their learning from the workshop:


“Apart from learning, we got to interact with our fellow School Leaders and even got to enjoy the view of the serene environment. I cannot thank you enough. We are looking forward to such workshops and many more from you." - Lilian, School Leader, Bliss Academy

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the progress made, Pursue and its partner schools face various challenges, including legal barriers to school registration, lack of qualified teachers, and infrastructure needs and requirements. However, these challenges also present opportunities for more collaboration and innovation.

This wonderful training inspired us to be influential leaders. We learned a lot about financial management which has been one of the greatest challenges we are facing. EduFinance was also able to train us on how to market our services and products to win customers. Looking forward to such forums for the betterment of our growing schools.” – Beatrice, Deputy Education Manager, Pursue

Such workshops that bring us all together are key to the success of all.” – Phanice, School Liaison Officer, Pursue

Looking ahead, EduFinance remains committed to supporting Pursue's work to improve the quality of education available to families in Kakamega Countywithplans underway for future collaboration with a focus on scalability and capacity-building initiatives. We understand the critical role that access to finance and school financial management can play in supporting inclusive, quality education. And we agree with Pursue that poverty should not be a reason why any child cannot access a good school. 


Read more on what exisiting research tells us about design school leadership training programs here!

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