The University of Nairobi (UoN) is set to unveil its foundation with the aim of raising private funds amid a cash crunch following government capitation cuts.
The foundation registered as a nonprofit organization also aims to leverage donations from the UoN alumni base to supplement state capitation.
Cash flow problems at UoN have resulted in a backlog of pending bills, a hiring freeze, and stalled infrastructure projects.
“Private capital should provide the University of Nairobi with the opportunity to prioritize research and innovations and attract talent from around the world through scholarships,” the UoN said in a statement.
Top universities like Harvard and Cambridge have used philanthropy to support facility expansion and provide capital for program research and development.
In Kenya, universities that have established foundations include Kenyatta University, Mt Kenya University and Strathmore in what is becoming a trend for higher education institutions.
The UoN Foundation will be managed by a Board of Directors chaired by Dr. Vijoo Rattansi.
“The Trustees include Prof Margaret Kobia, Prof Julia Ojiambo, Dr Agnes Odhiambo, Senior Counsel Fred Ngatia, Joe Mucheru, Dr Narendra Raval, Mourice Makolo and Prof Stephen Kiama (Secretary),” the statement said. UoN.
UoN is struggling with a cash crunch due to a decline in self-sponsored students and government funding, which has hurt efforts to upgrade its infrastructure and attract local and out-of-town students from the country.
UoN funding, like other universities, has been hit by a sharp decline in the number of self-sponsored students in recent years due to a drop in the number of students achieving the mandatory C+ grade at KCSE.
Projects stalled at UoN include the School of Pharmacy proposal whose construction began in 2011 but is currently 16% complete due to lack of government funding.
Construction of the proposed residence halls at the UoN Lower Kabete campus whose construction began in 1990 has stalled at 58% due to lack of funding.
In addition to infrastructure issues, the UoN struggles to meet obligations such as payroll taxes, pension benefits and insurance premiums for employees.