Building a Scholarship Program

“This is the first time a member in my family is pursuing a master’s degree. For me, it means responsibility towards my community, family, my country and the world. I need to make good use of the opportunity to transform and impact lives and be a good representative of Ghana.”

Dorcas Mensah, MasterCard Foundation Scholar, MSc in Africa & International Development

This September, we welcomed 12 bright and inspiring Africans to Edinburgh University through a new partnership with The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program. Over seven years, the scholarship programme will provide full tuition to 200 postgraduate (on campus and online) and undergraduate scholars from Sub-Saharan Africa with great potential but few educational opportunities.

I'm lucky enough to lead a team to develop and deliver the scholarship programme at the University. It's such an exciting job and I've loved ever moment of it since it started back in the summer. This is a special group of people - both the team and the Scholars.

In addition to studying full time on courses across the University – our Scholars will benefit from bespoke support and extracurricular activities including summer schools in Edinburgh and Africa, work placements, MCF global convenings, internships, and reflective programming throughout the year.

The idea of transformative leadership is woven throughout the programme.  Described by The MasterCard Foundation as ‘principled leadership’ – transformative leadership is driven by self-awareness and a deep sense of purpose to improve the lives of others.   Shaped by their diversity of life experiences before arriving in Scotland, our Scholars will return home with the tools, knowledge, experience, and most importantly – confidence to make positive and lasting change in their countries as transformative leaders.

The programme is fueled by a small team based in the International Office and Centre for African Studies. We are passionate about building a meaningful programme that not only impacts the lives of our Scholars – but also the wider University community.  We have been working to develop student and staff partnerships across the University that allow us to design, test, and iterate innovative learning opportunities – from our Edinburgh summer school and African work placements to repurposing existing opportunities such as the SLICCs and the Edinburgh Award around transformative leadership.

It’s a great example of what we as a University are capable of. Read more about it on our website.

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