Chartis gives KSh 800,000 to Empower Students

Published on 14th July 2011

James Shikwati, Country Director, SIFE-Kenya, (left) fixes a SIFE badge on Chartis Kenya Managing Director, Japh Olende's  coat.

Chartis Kenya has spent more than Sh800,000 in support of a project aimed at empowering university students to venture into entrepreneurship and other initiatives that improve living standards.

The funds will be spent on extra-curricular activities that will enable students to develop poverty-alleviation initiatives while gaining self-employment skills. They will also get exposure that would enable them to pursue careers in the insurance industry.

The grant will support awareness creation activities in 16 local universities, as well as sponsoring an annual student entrepreneurship contest organised by Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), an investment-driven non-governmental organisation that has been running student-empowerment projects in the country for the past eight years.

The project targets more than 700 students, who are members of the SIFE-Kenya network. “We chose to work with university students because we know they are an economic resource that needs to be tapped at this early stage. Empowering them to become self-reliant and encouraging them to think business will not only be beneficial to the country, but also to the insurance industry, which relies heavily on self-employed agents to reach a significant segment of the market,” says Mr Japh Olende, Chartis Kenya Managing Director.

Citing entrepreneurship as a sustainable way of fighting unemployment, Mr Olende said university students should be encouraged to become self-employed on completing their studies. He invited SIFE members to become Chartis agents.

“One does not have to wait until completion of their education to become an insurance agent. SIFE members, who have basic skills in entrepreneurship, are welcome to start selling insurance while in college. This will help the industry to increase insurance penetration among the Kenyan populace,” he observed.

Current statistics indicate that insurance uptake in Kenya stands at 2.6 per cent of the GDP, which is very low compared to countries like South Africa at 9.9 per cent. This scenario has been partly attributed to use of limited channels to sell insurance products.

Mr James Shikwati, the SIFE-Kenya director, thanked Chartis Kenya for the sponsorship, saying: “This initiative will enable students to demonstrate their creativity in suggesting sustainable strategies for selling insurance products. We have organised a contest for them to showcase their understanding of the country’s entrepreneurial environment.”

About Chartis Kenya

Chartis Kenya Insurance Co. Ltd, formerly AIG Kenya Insurance Co. Ltd, has operated in Kenya for the past 37 years, and has grown to become one of the leading general insurance companies in Kenya. It is a majority-owned subsidiary of Chartis Inc, while the minority shareholding is held by Commercial Bank of Africa.

Chartis Kenya is one of the largest general insurance companies in the country. We are leaders in product innovation and claims settlement service, as evidenced by our winning the Association of Kenya Insurance Brokers Claims Settlement Award two years ago.

Chartis, the parent company, is a network of property-casualty companies, stretching across Asia, Latin America, Europe, Africa & the Middle East. It offers a wide range of products and risk management services to both commercial and consumer markets.

About SIFE Kenya

Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) is the largest global business and higher education network and partnership initiative that operates in more than 1,800 campuses in 39 countries.

SIFE Kenya was launched on February 21, 2003 following a Memorandum of Understanding between SIFE International and the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN). SIFE Kenya currently operates in 16 universities; has an alumnus of over 3,000 students, and has implemented over 400 projects.

For more information, please contact:

Cyrus Mwelwa,
Corporate Service Manager,
Chartis Kenya Insurance Co.
Tel: 0722385541.
[email protected]


James Shikwati,
Director, SIFE Kenya,
Tel: 0733823062.

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