The average shelf life of a sponsorship is 1 year. According to a recent GeoPoll rapid poll. 38% of respondents have had the same sponsor for 1 year while 34% have spent less than 6 months with the same sponsor. The GeoPoll rapid poll was conducted among women only in Kenya’s major towns.
The word ‘Sponsor’ has undergone numerous iterations in meaning here in Kenya. For the longest time, saying you have a sponsor meant that you were probably struggling with your school fees and a certain brand or organization had come to your aid. It also meant that you are an event organizer and that your event has brands that have come in willing to sponsor it.
In today’s Kenya however, if you are a lady, you have to be careful throwing the word ‘sponsor’ around lest you elicit certain reactions among your audience.
A sponsor is now a colloquial term for an older, rich, married man who supports a woman financially (often younger women often referred to Pretty Young Thing – PYT) in return for intimacy.
In the GeoPoll rapid Poll conducted via the GeoPoll mobile application to 293 female respondents from 28 towns, 53% of the respondents who took the survey feel that it’s wrong to have a sponsor. 19% think it’s a complicated moral issue that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. When asked if they have ever had a sponsor, 80% said they have never, however, 73% said they have friends with sponsors.
The new sponsorship phenomenon has often been viewed as something only prevalent among girls in campus or those pursuing their tertiary education who are in pursuit of fun, a fancy lifestyle and flashy items but do not have the finances to support this sort of lifestyle.
GeoPoll sought to confirm the authenticity of this college myth by asking the women respondents if they are in college. 72% said they were currently pursuing their tertiary level education. Among the benefits enjoyed by women with sponsors, a fancy lifestyle was the highest with 45% indicating it as one of the biggest benefits they have enjoyed from a sponsor. Others were school fees payment at 17%, holidays to exotic places at 15%, a great job and fancy apartment at 9% respectively.
Having a sponsor among many campus girls has become acceptable and according to the rapid survey, many (82%) said they have not received any criticism from their friends on having a sponsor. The practice has become such an accepted part of campus girls lives such that, a majority (72%) of those who have sponsors have a boyfriend as well.