The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is a 10-year global initiative to educate and develop next-generation leaders who will contribute to social and economic progress. The Program enables young people from economically disadvantaged communities to complete quality secondary and tertiary education, and make successful transitions to further education or to the workforce in their home countries. Through comprehensive support, Scholars receive learning opportunities that equip them with knowledge, skills, and values needed to succeed in the economy, and make positive impacts in their communities.
The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program identifies academically talented young people who have a demonstrated commitment to making a difference in their communities, yet face significant barriers to accessing and completing quality education. It is uniquely designed to provide them with holistic support, including:
- Comprehensive scholarships (school fees, living expenses, books, stipends, transportation);
- Academic curricula relevant to growth sectors in the Scholars’ home countries;
- Mentoring and counseling, including academic and social support;
- Service and experiential learning (volunteerism, internships, social entrepreneurship); and
- Career counseling and connections to jobs in the Scholars’ home countries.
Scholars in the Program are primarily from Africa. In recent years, the continent has experienced unprecedented economic progress and political resurgence. More than 60 percent of its population is under the age of 25, making it the youngest continent. Yet, Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the lowest enrollment rates in secondary and tertiary education. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program supports economically disadvantaged young people from across the continent, and encourages them to apply their education towards the betterment of their home communities and countries.
The Program will educate an estimated 15,000 young people from economically disadvantaged communities. This network of next-generation leaders - unified by a common philosophy of change and ethical leadership - will drive social and economic transformation in their communities. At an institutional level, the Program will develop best practices to identify, educate and mentor students of this profile, and transition them from secondary to higher education and into the workforce.