Aipa Grace Bekah is a second year TAGDev student at Egerton University pursuing Bachelors of degree in Agricultural Education and Extension. The second born in a family of three hails from Turkana County, Northern Kenya; a pastoral community. She believes in education as the only equalizer. She was brought up by her grandmother alongside other thirteen grandchildren. School uniform, books, shoes were a luxury to her then. She went to a boarding school at a tender age to at least get a meal.  She grew up in the region where the community does not believe in girl-child education. She had to take up the challenge and the responsibility for her education.

Aipa Grace Bekah

She went through secondary school education through the support of the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi (Catholic Nuns) 2008-2011. Aipa missed a government placement by three points hence her hope to further studies almost ended. Mama Elizabeth, her grandmother advised her to get married but she was determined to study. She managed to join Egerton University through government placement to pursue Diploma in Agricultural Education and Extension in the year 2012-2015. Upon completing her studies, she returned to her village where she then served as a teacher for three years under the Parent Teacher Association scheme. While teaching she learnt several lessons: students need mentorship towards career choice, classrooms are factories that manufacture great women and Men from boys and girls and finally hard work and determination pays.

The scholarship call by Regional University forum for capacity building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) in partnership with Mastercard Foundation through the Transforming Africa’s Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute growth and development (TAGDev) program was her dream come true. She saw the advertisement on a Whatsup page and was certain that she will get the scholarship. She applied in 2017 January. After six months of waiting, she got the call that she was among the successful candidates. She was awarded the scholarship to purse Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education and extension from 2018-2022 at Egerton university.

Aipa was enrolled at Egerton University in September 2018. Having endured many challenges in her education journey, she took up the task of educating two of her nieces. She is currently supporting Yasmin Akura, Mary Akitoe and her two children: Ariel and Alpha. Mary Akitoe her youngest niece begun school at Egerton primary and she is currently in grade two at Kilimo primary school. The support covers tuition fee and all other basic needs. She believes that Yasmin and Mary will grow to become great transformative women globally.

In addition to her coursework, the TAGDev program has equipped her with short courses: Personal Mastery; she has realized her talent of public speaking, and computer literacy. Besides academics and supporting her family she also participates in welfare activities: visiting the orphans in the Mission in Action at Njoro children’s home where she and other Catholic Association Students mentor children and keep providing counseling services.  She has been engaged in tree planting activities at Franciscan brothers hill Molo; where they bought and planted seven hundred (700) indigenous trees. She has also led a team that visited the internally displaced people in Molo to undertake community based extension and advisory services provision in pest scouting and utilisation of kitchen waste as manure.

Mary Akitoe her niece grade two in her new school Kilimo Primary School, Egerton Njoro, January 2020.

Aipa has passion in agriculture and her dream is to mentor youth and women to engage actively in agriculture as a livelihood activity in order to increase food production in Turkana County and the neighboring communities. She has been working with three farmer groups in Lodwar; Aminatoi Farmers Group, Aregae Farmers Group and Loborot Farmers group supporting them in disease surveillance and provision of agricultural extension and advisory services in horticultural crops. She is currently also working with Sky View Youth Group educating girls and other youth against teenage pregnancies that have exponentially risen during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Aipa Grace planting trees at The Franciscan Brothers Hill, Molo in November 2019.

Aipa is grateful to RUFORUM, Master Card Foundation and TAGDev for the support and she promises to be among the Transformative leader that Africa is yearning globally fifteen years to come.

Ms. Aipa Grace Bekah is pursuing BSc. Agricultural Education and Extension at Egerton University, Kenya under the TAGDev programme supported by the Mastercard Foundation. She can be contacted on +254718775622 and email: aipagrace@gmail.com

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