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Hon. Denis Kiogora: MCA Changing Lives By Organizing Students Airlifts To The US For Studies

By Isaac Blessings

Studying abroad is a far fetched reality for a majority of Kenyans. This is due to the financial implications involved that is way beyond what the common man can afford. This informed the decision by  Abogeta West ward MCA Hon. Denis Kiogora to partner with Bob Mwiti to open opportunities for young Kenyans to study in America. 

In this article, WoK brings you the story of DMK Kiogora and how he has been positively impacting the lives of young Kenyans.

DMK Kiogora Background

Hon Denis Kiogora, popularly known as DMK Kiogora, is the current Member of County Assembly (MCA) representing Abogeta West ward in South Imenti constituency, Meru County. He was elected in the position during the 2017 general elections as an independent candidate defeating heavyweights from big parties such as Jubilee Party which was dominant in the area. Kiogora was born on 19th April 1988 in Meru county where he spent childhood and teenage life and also attended primary and secondary school.

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He only left Meru after high school in 2008 when he enrolled for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Sociology at the University of Nairobi. He graduated in 2013 and a year later, he secured a job at the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) as a Loans officer, a position he held until February 2017 when he resigned to focus on his political ambitions. He later enrolled for a Masters in Entrepreneurship and Innovations Management at the same institution where he graduated with a distinction in 2018. He is currently pursuing a PHD in Environmental Law and a Bachelor in Corporate law studies at the University of Nairobi.

The Making of the Kenya Airlift Program

During a trip to the United States following an invitation by Kiambaa constituency Member of Parliament – Paul Koinange, Denis Kiogora met several Kenyans who were studying and working there. He was moved by their stories of how it was a challenge for them to get access to American institutions. He later met Bob Mwiti, the managing director of Appstec –an American based IT consulting company that helps African immigrants find IT related careers in the United States.

The two agreed to partner and start the Kenya Airlift Program. The program’s main objective was to offer brilliant Kenyans an opportunity to study IT related courses at select universities in America. Initially, the biggest obstacle for their dream was money but eventually they were able to get funding from HELB-like institutions in America. Just Like the Kenyan HELB, the institution covers the full students’ fees and the money will be repaid once they get employed. They were also able to set up ‘The Airlift Sacco’ (TAS) where well-wishers donate money that helps secure plane tickets, visas and pocket money for the students.

Qualifications and Requirements to get the Scholarship

To qualify for the program, one must have attained a mean grade of B plain and above in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and a second class division in the undergraduate course. Other requirements include passing a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) which costs Ksh 25,000 paid by the program. In case a student is not able to acquire a visa Bob Mwiti is able to co-sign documents for them as a guarantor. Kiogora was awarded the Mtumishi Bora Award by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2019 courtesy of the program.

“In order to build a community, we are putting students in only three universities which are close to each other. This helps build a sense of belonging. So far ten students have gone to the US and have kick-started their careers. It is a national program that accommodates students from all over the country,” the MCA revealed during an interview with comedian Felix Odiwuor that aired on Jalango TV YouTube channel on 20th May 2021.