Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Foundation celebrates decade of $500 million young leaders development initiative

The Mastercard Foundation celebrates its 500 million dollar initiative Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

The Program was launched in 2012 as a $500 million initiative to train the next generation leaders who will drive economic and social transformation. The Program supports the development of leadership skills and secondary education for talented young people from economically-disadvantaged and hard to reach communities, primarily in Africa.

Initially, the Program was intended to support 15,000 young adults. The Mastercard Foundation has spent $1.7 billion over the past decade to support nearly 40,000 young people. More than 72 percent of them are young women. To date, 18,544 youth have completed secondary and higher education.

“Through a network of extraordinary partners, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is enabling thousands of bright and deserving young people to access quality education and develop as leaders who give back to their communities and help to improve the lives of others. Mastercard Foundation Alumni and Scholars have been leaders, innovators, activists, and entrepreneurs who have tackled everything from climate change to inequity. Their collective impact will be felt for generations to come,” says Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation.

A 2020/2021 survey of Alumni from the Program found that 87 percent of secondary-school graduates are employed, and 71 percent of graduates from universities. Alumni who have been entrepreneurs have collectively created over 16,000 new jobs.

A further 40 percent of university graduate say they now support their siblings’ education. Mastercard Foundation Scholars express a strong commitment towards giving back to their communities. This is a key principle of the Program. Each person participates in or creates a project during their education that addresses a specific problem in their community.

“Throughout my journey as a Mastercard Foundation Scholar, it has always been about being a better version of yourself so that you can go back to your community and help others,” says Joanna Gunab who is now a medical doctor practicing in Northern Ghana. Joana, a young woman with a disability, also runs an initiative that supports students with basic school necessities.

Faith Kipkemboi is another Alumni of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. She is driving change in her native Kenya. Cactus Mama, a community-based organisation, was founded by Faith Kipkemboi to provide evidence-based, high-quality and affordable mental healthcare services in remote areas, particularly for women. “We hope to create a better Kenya; a healthier Kenya,” she says.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program began with a strong focus on secondary education, working with partners such as CAMFED, BRAC, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), the African Leadership Academy (ALA), and the Equity Group Foundation (Wings to Fly) to provide young people with access to high school and improve completion rates —particularly for girls.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is focusing its attention on higher education as more African countries adopt free secondary education policies. Despite the fact that tertiary enrollment rates in Africa remain low, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is focusing its attention on this area. To prepare young people for work, the Mastercard Foundation is also improving the quality, relevance and inclusion of secondary education.

“Our partnership with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is exceptional and has enabled us to fulfill our vision for the post-secondary school years,” says Ann Cotton, Founder and Trustee of CAMFED International. “Every child matters and the Foundation looks at justice in the broadest possible sense, from the most impoverished [and]From the most marginalized child to working with the most powerful institution, And there is authenticity at every point on that trajectory.”

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has evolved into a network that includes over 40 global and pan-African partners, all working together to promote inclusion in education. More than 45 percent of this network is made up by African organizations.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program’s reach will increase to 100,000 young people over the next decade. 70% of these young women will be supported by the program. It will also pay more attention to young people who are disabled or forcibly displaced.

The Mastercard Foundation will continue to support the network partners in higher education to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and dignified work for young Africans. This is in line with the Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy, which aims to enable 30 million young people across the continent to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

The Mastercard Foundation collaborates with visionary organizations to provide opportunities for young people in Africa and Indigenous communities in Canada to have dignified, fulfilling work. It is one the largest private foundations worldwide, with a mission of advancing learning and promoting financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable global world.

Mastercard’s generosity in 2006 saw the foundation established. The Foundation is an independent entity. Its policies and operations are decided by its Board and senior leadership team. It is a Canadian charity registered with offices in Toronto and Kigali, Accra. Nairobi, Kampala. Lagos, Dakar.

Source: newbusinessethiopia

By Chala Dandessa

I am Lecturer, Researcher and Freelancer. I am the founder and Editor at ETHIOPIANS TODAY website. If you have any comment use as email contact. Additionally you can contact us through the contact page of

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