USIU-Africa formally welcomes the fourth cohort of Scholars under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

By Brenda Odhiambo and Mimi Koranteng

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at USIU-Africa held the Scholars Award Evening to formally welcome the fourth cohort; a total of 86 Scholars, 6 of whom are differently-abled and are drawn from different parts of the country and 13 different African countries joined the University during the May semester. The Award Evening forms part of a series of events organized by Mastercard Foundation partner universities including USIU-Africa as part of Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program’s 10-year anniversary celebrations across the globe in transforming the lives of young men and women particularly in Africa lead, pursue their aspirations, and enrich their communities.

Since the inception of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at USIU-Africa in July 2020, the Program has recruited 254 Scholars, with 74 percent of them being women, with the remaining 26 percent being male. 50.8 percent of the Scholars are enrolled in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs and 49.2 percent are enrolled in the Humanities and Social Sciences programs respectively.

In her comments, the Interim Vice Chancellor, Prof. Freida Brown noted that the selection of the fourth cohort underpinned USIU-Africa’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“We are proud to have recruited a diverse and inclusive student body, which includes 5.5 percent of young men and women who are differently-abled which includes physical/mobility disabilities, visual impairment and hard hearing impairment. Our goal is to recruit 10 percent (100 students) with disabilities over 6-year period,” she said.

“As the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program marks its tenth year, I am confident that our continued collaboration and our joint passion in imparting knowledge, mentoring the next generation of leaders and providing transformative education will change Africa and the world,” she added.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program was established ten years ago as an initiative to develop Africa’s next generation of leaders by giving students whose talent and promise exceed their financial resources and opportunity to complete their education. Launched with nine partners and a first cohort of 145 Scholars, the Scholars Program has enabled over 41,000 young people to pursue secondary or tertiary education and brought together a robust Pan-African and global network of partners. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program will double its target by 2030 to reach 100,000 Scholars, as it accompanies the next generation of diverse young African leaders and higher education institutions on their journey to creating a new era of equitable and inclusive prosperity and growth.

In his comments, Prof. Philip Cotton, Director, Human Capital and Head of Scholars Program, Mastercard Foundation, noted that “the Scholars Program, now in its 10th year of existence, had grown to be one of the largest scholarship initiatives of its kind, enabling over 41,000 young people to access learning and leadership development opportunities. Welcoming the 86 new Scholars at USIU-Africa, he reminded them that they had become part of a heritage and community marked by common values and a commitment to transforming their communities:
“More than 17,000 of these individuals have graduated from this program and gone on to become leaders in their families, workplaces, and communities. They are supporting their siblings. Lifting up their families. Inspiring other young people. Creating jobs. And exhibiting excellence to drive a new narrative about what it means to be young and African.”

In order to expand and strengthen the Program, last year, USIU-Africa in partnership with the Arizona State University and Mastercard Foundation launched the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative, which will enable more than 600,000 university students to successfully pursue their studies online, from anywhere across Africa over the next five years.

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