The MasterCard Foundation has announced a $500 million initiative to provide disadvantaged youth from developing countries in Africa with financial assistance to attend secondary school and university.
Announced at a United Nations special session marking the launch of the global Education First initiative, the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program will provide fifteen thousand students with financial assistance and the academic, social, and skills-building support they need to succeed in secondary school, at the university level, and in the workforce. The program also will work to develop a peer network of alumni who share a "give-back" ethos.
Institutions participating in the initiative include the American University of Beirut, Ashesi University in Ghana, the University of California, Berkeley, Wellesley College, Duke University, Arizona State University, Michigan State University, Stanford University, and EARTH University in Costa Rica. In addition, the program will partner with the African Leadership Academy to develop an African-based careers network to assist scholars in accessing internships and jobs.
"An education does more than liberate people from poverty, it is the foundation of social and economic progress," said MasterCard Foundation president and CEO Reeta Roy. "The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is a network of extraordinary educational institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and young people. Together, they will contribute to the emergence of a more equitable, dynamic, and prosperous Africa."