Selection Process

Each year interest from students wishing to continue their education but limited by financial pressures grows. Even with the generous support of our donors, and funding partners like Global Affairs Canada, Addax & Oryx Foundation and the Hanson Viking Scholarship Fund, applications far outnumber our available scholarships each year.  In 2024 CMETrust received 542 applications for our 30 scholarship opportunities. 

Knowing that all children have the right to education, here’s how CMETrust works to ensure an equitable and inclusive selection process in selecting successful applicants.

How do we decide?

Since its inception, CMETrust has been committed to gender equity in selecting our scholars to ensure that girls have equal opportunity and access to our scholarships. 

In addition, CMETrust seeks out Mathare Valley students in financial need who we believe have the highest chance of successfully navigating secondary school away from home by assessing:

Academic potential: determined annually in consultation with our partner schools based on an academic achievement mark that we believe indicates potential for success at the secondary, and post-secondary level.

Financial need: we look at household income, expenses, how education was paid for in previous years, and consult with former teachers and community leaders with additional understanding of the scholars’ situations.

Ability to successfully live away from home: we ask students to express how they plan to cope with being away from their families and the community, and living more independently, as well as interacting with people from different regions and economic backgrounds.

Commitment to giving back to the Mathare community: we consider previous engagement in community development initiatives, and for those lacking experience we ask what challenges they consider to be most pressing in Mathare and how their education might contribute to possible solutions.

Other considerations: geographic representation (to ensure a balanced representation of all the neighborhoods in Mathare), students identifying as living with a disability, or orphaned, other diversity, equity and inclusion considerations, and recommendations by community leaders based on financial need.

Who is involved in the process?

These are difficult decisions to make, and CMETrust relies on a selection panel made up of our Kenyan Personnel who have years of experience in working with scholars through the selection process, bi-annual school break programs, and visits and support throughout the academic year. 

In addition, members of our dynamic alumni, who know first hand the experience of studying away from home, sit in the panel. And for the very first time, the 2024 selection panel included a member of the community of practice (HALI Access Network), who brought with them a larger community context and expertise.

We asked members of this year’s review panel to share some thoughts on the process:

It was exciting to hear the students’ aspirations but also overwhelming to hear about their traumatic experiences which to some extent are normalized in Mathare. The whole process was holistic and no one element of the review weighed more than another. In some cases, students with lower marks were recommended for the scholarship because of their family background, and academic & leadership potential demonstrated during the interview.

The interview is an incredibly important part of the selection process. It allowed applicants an opportunity to advocate for themselves. The best part was listening to the applicants' aspirations and desire to live a better life. Each applicant represented a dream that deserves equal access to academic and other opportunities.

Misco Mungai, Program Director, HALI Access Network


The CMETrust 2024 recruitment process was a progressive and successful process, although it was accompanied by highs and lows.

The highs can be attributed to how the whole process was structured right from the application process, which the general public were made aware even before the results were released, to shortlisting of the applicants and finally to the day of interviewing the applicants. The lows included the impact, at a personal level, of hearing the stories of students I was interacting with during the interviews, placing myself in the shoes of these applicants. There is also a lot of work that goes into reviewing so many applications in a limited amount of time.

The key things I was looking for were the financial need of the applicant, the passion the student had towards joining high school, their ability to live away from home, and the demonstrated strong leadership qualities.

The significance of the both written and oral interview is that they gave each and every applicant a chance to tell his / her side of the story to the organization.

Daniel Shitandi, CMETrust Alumnus


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