Oct 2013

The MasterCard Foundation, a Toronto-based independent, global organisation, is assisting the Campaign for Female Education, Ghana (Camfed-Ghana), with US$ 41.7 million to support 4,000 girls through Senior High School (SHS) and 2,000 young women through tertiary education in Ghana.

 Under the MasterCard Foundation/Camfed-Ghana partnership, the first class of 70 tertiary scholars have gained admissions for the 2013 academic year to a number of partner tertiary institutions while the first class of 720 secondary scholars will join the programme for the 2013/2014 academic year at selected Ghana Education Service (GES) category A and B SHSs in the Central, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.

The comprehensive  scholarship package for the secondary scholars in the three northern regions and the Central region—where Camfed-Ghana operates— will include bursaries, life skills camps and extra tuition, where needed, while the tertiary scholars will receive tuition fees, textbooks, accommodation, transportation, meals, computers, a living and communication stipend, and  career service programnmes in the final year.

The Camfed-Ghana package forms part of the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme for three new partners, Camfed International, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and BRAC —a development organisation formed in Bangladesh in 1922 and a global leader in creating opportunities at scale as a means to end poverty—who will administer comprehensive scholarships worth US$106 million to support  approximately 11,000 secondary students in Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda and Ethiopia, 80 per cent of whom will be girls.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme is a ten-year, US$ 500 million global education initiative which seeks to educate and develop next generation leaders to contribute to social and economic progress through collaboration with partner organisations in 46 countries.

Through these partner organisations, the programme identifies academically-talented young people with a demonstrable commitment to making a difference in their communities. The young people, who are  selected from economically-disadvantaged communities and on the basis of daunting challenges they face in accessing and completing quality education, are then supported to learn and prosper by  completing quality secondary and tertiary education, and to  make successful transitions to further education or to the workforce in their home countries.

An estimated 15,000 young people, primarily from Africa, are expected to benefit from the programme which is uniquely designed to provide the beneficiaries with a holistic support including an academic curricula that is relevant to growth sectors in the scholars’ home countries; mentoring and counseling, including academic and social support; service and experiential learning by way of volunteerism, internships and social entrepreneurship; and career counseling and connections to jobs in the scholars’ home countries.

Welcoming participants to the launch of the MasterCard Foundation/Camfed Partnership in Accra last Friday, Mrs Delores Dickson, Executive Director of Camfed-Ghana, noted that a well-educated workforce was bound to provide a substantial impetus to the engine of economic growth needed for Africa, particularly when Africa’s young people under the age of 25 would have reached an estimated one billion by 2020.

Mrs Dickson, therefore, stressed the need to harness the educational potential of Africa’s young people to reverse the situation where Africa spent about US$ 4 billion annually employing the skills of about 100, 000 foreign expatriates.

Mrs Matilda Bannerman, Director, Girl-Child Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service, noted that without the possibility of progression that a scholarship scheme such as the Scholars Programme would offer, many parents would hardly have the motivation to send their children to school in the first place and many girls would not be motivated to study hard.

The launch took place as part of activities marking the International Day of the Girl-Child (IDGC) which was celebrated on the theme: ‘Innovating for Girls’ Education’ and the occasion was graced by Mr Philip Clay, a member of the Board of MasterCard Foundation, Ms Miranda Curtis, Vice Chair of Camfed International Board, Deepali Khanna, Director of Youth Learning and Professor Florence Dolphyne, former Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, who chaired the function, among others.

Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)