Mastercard Foundation partners with USIU-Africa to expand access to higher education in Africa
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program will enable 1,000 high-performing students facing financial, gender, displacement, or disability constraints to receive quality education and leadership development over the next 10 years.
By Taigu Muchiri, Brenda Odhiambo and Laurie Armstrong
On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, USIU-Africa and the Mastercard Foundation announced a partnership that will enable 1,000 high-performing students to receive quality education and leadership development over the next 10 years under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. The partnership provides scholarships for high potential students facing financial, gender, displacement, or disability constraints. At least 70 percent of the young people who benefit from the partnership will be young women, while 25 percent will be displaced or refugee youth, and at least 10 percent will be young people living with disabilities. With this USD 63.2 million partnership, USIU-Africa joins the Foundation’s expanding global network of partners committed to developing a generation of African leaders who will use their knowledge and skills to lead change in their communities, and contribute to meaningful transformation across the continent.
Speaking after the signing of the partnership, USIU-Africa’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Paul Zeleza noted that the partnership was a milestone in the University’s history.
“With the support of the Mastercard Foundation, we look forward to significantly expanding the impact and reach that USIU-Africa has had all across the world, by moulding students who will catalyze Africa’s continued advancement into a better, brighter future. By embracing the Scholars Program, we will increase the international student population from 15 percent to 20 percent which is in line with the university’s strategy of internationalization. Also, the Scholars Program will enhance socio-economic diversity of the student population as it will increase the number of students with disability, refugees, young women and displaced youth to address barriers to higher education for these marginalized populations,” he said.
Mastercard Foundation’s Chief Program Officer, Peter Materu, is excited to on-board USIU-Africa as a partner in the Scholars Program, noting the university’s excellent academic standing and demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion.
“For close to a decade, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has worked in Africa, through initiatives like Wings to Fly and direct partnerships with educational organizations at the secondary and tertiary levels, to enable young people from disadvantaged communities to access quality learning and develop their leadership potential. Our partnership with USIU-Africa builds on this historic work, which is already serving thousands of young leaders on the continent. Fundamentally, it is about expanding opportunity to all young people, irrespective of their socio-economic background,” he said.
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is an initiative to develop Africa’s next generation of leaders by giving students, whose talent and promise exceed their financial resources, an opportunity to complete their education. Through the Program, Scholars receive holistic student support, including comprehensive scholarships, leadership development, and access to internships and industry-driven career services. The Scholars Program is a growing commitment and to date, the Program has committed over USD 1 billion to supporting the education and leadership development of more than 37,000 young people.
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at USIU-Africa is expected to kick off in the 2020/2021 Academic Year.