Camfed Ghana launches MasterCard Scholar's programme
News Date: 12th October 2013
The Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation that supports the education of girls and empowerment of young women on Friday, launched its MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme.
The 41.7 million dollar programme is a partnership between Camfed Ghana and the MasterCard Foundation, which is a global independent foundation that advances micro finance and youth learning to promote financial inclusion and prosperity in developing countries.
The Scholars Programme would, therefore, provide comprehensive scholarships to 4,000 girls through Senior High Schools and 2,000 young women through their tertiary education in Ghana.
Ms Dolores Dickson, Executive Director of Camfed Ghana, in an address, explained that potential scholars would be selected from young girls in impoverished rural communities in the Central, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.
She said the opportunity was for girls, who were academically talented, yet from economically disadvantaged communities and have leadership qualities to access quality and relevant secondary and tertiary education.
She said the Scholar's Programme, which would run under the initial partnership support for ten years, delivers holistic financial, social and academic support such as bursaries, life skills camps and extra tuition.
It would also provide tuition fees, textbooks, accommodation, transportation, meals, computers, a living and communication stipend and career service programmes in the final year for tertiary scholars.
She said the education and approach of the partners was intended to create pathways for their transitions to jobs, entrepreneurial activities or further education and encourage the scholars to become leaders who would be committed to giving back to their communities, plowing back the benefits of their education into their families, communities, nation and the world.
"They will serve as mentors, role models and problem solvers and will bring the voice and potential of rural communities to social and economic transformation of Africa," she said.
Ms Dickson said the first class of 70 tertiary scholars have gained admissions to a number of partner tertiary institutions including the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Cape Coast, the Central University College, Ashesi University and the University for Development Studies.
"The first class of 720 secondary scholars will join the Programme for the 2013/2014 academic year at selected Ghana Education Service category 'A and B' SHS in the selected Regions," she said.
Mr Mathias Asoma Puozaa, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, who performed the launch, commended Camfed Ghana and the MasterCard Foundation for providing educational opportunities for so many girls in the country.
He commended Camfed Ghana for their numerous achievements over the years in supporting brilliant but needy girls' right from the primary levels through to their secondary education.
He said the Government of Ghana appreciates such partnerships which would complement its efforts towards the expansion of access and creating equal opportunities for females to gain quality education.
Mr Puozaa pledged the continuous support of the Parliamentary Select Committee towards the visions of Camfed Ghana and the MasterCard Foundation to ensure the development of an enlightened society through women.
Ms Miranda Curtis, Vice-Chairperson to the Board of Camfed International, the mother Orgainsation, in an address commended the MasterCard Foundation for being exceptionally generous in their financial disbursements towards the development of girls' education in Africa.
She said educating girls was a joint enterprise which required support from all angles and must involve a network of all stakeholders to ensure that beneficiaries distinguished themselves for the sustenance of the Programme.
Mrs Matilda Bannerman Mensah, Director of the Girls Education Unit, Ghana Education Service, said Ghana had made tremendous strides in achieving equal access to girls' education, especially at the primary level, through the expansion of infrastructure and partnerships of NGOs.
However, there were still fewer girls in school than boys, and the girls are more likely not to complete school because of the numerous challenges that confront them, she said.
She said secondary education does make a great impact on the life of girls, as it increases their chances of being empowered economically, socially and of being positioned to take their proper place in society.
It also raises their social capital and provides them with vital human resources and increases the nation's competitiveness as recognised in the highlights of the 2012 World Economic Forum Report.
Mrs Bannerman congratulated Camfed and the MasterCard Foundation, which would scale up interventions and motivate more females to excel in their academics.
Ms Deepali Khanna, Director of Youth Learning, the MasterCard Foundation, said unlocking girl's potentials was critical to the development of the African continent and also works to promote youth learning and ensure the total development of a country.
She said the Foundation's support goes beyond the formal school system, and also works to prepare the youth for the market by focusing on three areas such as the scaling of access to education in Sub-Saharan Africa, developing skills of out-of-school youth and connecting them to jobs.
Present at the ceremony were officials from Camfed International, an International Charity Organisation, Parliamentarians, representatives from secondary and tertiary institutions and other Civil Society Organisations working to promote girls education in Ghana.