Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is a global initiative designed to develop the next generation of transformative leaders by enabling highly talented, service-oriented young people, primarily young Africans, to pursue higher education and cultivate their leadership potential.

We work with education institutions, NGOs, and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars community to create the conditions that will enable young people to attain inclusive and relevant education, transition smoothly into dignified and fulfilling work, and lead transformative lives.

How to Apply to the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

More Information About the Program

Find out how to become a Mastercard Foundation Scholar.

Where to Apply to the Program

Our partners manage the recruitment and selection of Scholars for the Program.

Mastercard Foundation Alumni Network

Are you a Mastercard Foundation Alumni? Check our our Alumni Network.

Applications Tips Series Hero

Scholarship Application Tips Series

We asked our partners the questions we receive the most about applying for a scholarship to create a series of videos of application tips. This series provides invaluable tips on crafting a strong application, gives insights into what to do and what not to do and will equip you with the tools to make your application stand out. These firsthand tips will help you become better prepared to take the next step in your educational journey. 


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News and Updates

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program At CAMFED Ghana: Celebrating A Decade Of Impact

Read the article to learn about the Mastercard Foundation’s decade of impact at CAMFED

Read the article here

Akoben: Stories of Impact. Tales of Courage.

Read the inspiring impact stories of Mastercard Foundation Scholars from ALU, Science Po and Ashesi University.

Read their inspiring stories here

Small Actions, Big Changes: Connecting Students to Scholarships

Jacob Deng Bol Deng is an EARTH University student and supports youth in rural areas, refugee camps, remote locations, and vulnerable communities in Africa.

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Introducing the New Alumni Magazine

Check out the inaugural edition of “Changemakers: The Alumni Journey,” a Mastercard Foundation Scholar Alumni Publication in partnership with the Baobab Platform.

Read the first issue here

Beyond Bias and Barriers: Ipti’s Journey to Becoming a Mining Engineer

Ipti grew up in North Kaneshie, a suburb of Accra, Ghana’s capital, where she experienced the value of community. She had no aspirations to study outside Ghana until she completed high school and was selected for the Zawadi Africa Education Fund Program.

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From humble beginnings to inspirational leadership: Lincoln Olatunji’s journey of transformation

In the dynamic landscape of social impact and leadership, Lincoln Olatunji, a first year BA in International Relations student and Mastercard Foundation Scholar at USIU-Africa, emerges as a catalyst for change, particularly in rewriting the narrative of people with disabilities in Africa.

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Thirteen Mastercard Foundation Scholars at USIU-Africa selected as winners of the 2023 Social Venture Challenge

Thirteen Mastercard Foundation Scholars at USIU-Africa have been selected as winners of the 2023 Social Venture Challenge that the Mastercard Foundation recently hosted as part of the annual Baobab Summit, held at the Windsor Hotel in Nairobi.

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Africa: Sciences Po and the Mastercard Foundation to provide 1,450 African students with scholarships over the next decade

Sciences Po has committed to supporting 1,450 students from Sub-Saharan Africa over the next 10 years through the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. With the same ambition of breaking down barriers to quality education, the partnership between the Mastercard Foundation and Sciences Po will enable young people from Africa to use their skills to secure dignified and fulfilling work.

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Ritah Mbabazi: Empowering Communities Through Innovative Entrepreneurship

Apply now: Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship, Deadline December 4, 2023

And read about Ritah Mbabazi, a recipient of the fellowship, and her incredible journey.

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HSRC screens "The Spirit of Kanju: Leaders Transforming Africa" - A documentary film created by Alumni of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

In the documentary film “The Spirit of Kanju: Leaders Transforming Africa”, 19 Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Alumni interrogated the concept of transformative leadership and documented the contributions of people they believed exemplified the leadership Africa needs.

Read more about the film

Towards a Decade of Excellence with the University of Cape Town and the Mastercard Foundations Scholars Program

The University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program are celebrating a decade of excellence. As a reflection on the last ten years of partnership, the following report captures the achievements and transformative journeys of some Mastercard Foundation Scholars.

Read the Report Here

Introducing the Mastercard Foundation’s Africa Higher Education Health Collaborative (AHEHC)

The Mastercard Foundation is proud to introduce the Africa Higher Education Health Collaborative (AHEHC), a pioneering initiative aimed at strengthening primary healthcare across Africa and empowering the continent’s health sector through transformative education and innovation.

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Baobab Summit 2023: Here. Now. Using Our Voices, Shaping the World.

The Baobab Summit is a gathering of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, where our Scholars, Alumni and partners come together to connect, co-create, share, learn and reflect.

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The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Expands to University of the Western Cape

The Mastercard Foundation and the University of the Western Cape will collaborate to provide 500 talented and service-oriented young Africans with fully-funded higher learning and leadership development opportunities over the next seven years.

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Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Council Retreat at USIU-Africa

What happens when you bring together 35 young people from Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program partner institutions across the world, seven Foundation staff and other partners on  United States International University-Africa’s beautiful Nairobi campus? Lots of learning, deep conversations, laughter and fun.

Read more about the convening

Ashesi University Foundation Canada Receives Endowment from Mastercard Foundation to Strengthen Higher Education in Africa

Ashesi University Foundation Canada has received an endowment to establish the “Mastercard Foundation Endowment for Educational Excellence,” which will enable world-class, inclusive higher education in Africa while driving innovation and entrepreneurship on the continent.

Read about the new partnership here


In 2022, the Scholars Program turned 10. To celebrate a decade of transformative impact and learning, we hosted a series of virtual events, social conversations, documentaries and our annual summit. Together we reflected on what we have learned and looked to the next 10 years to develop Africa’s youth leaders.

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Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Celebrates A Decade of Developing Young Leaders

The Mastercard Foundation celebrates the decennial anniversary of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. Launched in 2012, the Program began as a $500 million initiative to develop the next generation of leaders who would drive social and economic transformation.

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Breaking Taboos and Paving the Way for a Healthier Future

Mastercard Foundation Scholars have a deep personal commitment to changing the world around them and improving the lives of their families, communities, and countries.

Find out how Derrick Tumuhairwe and Jovia Nazziwa are breaking taboos and paving the way for a healthier future in Uganda.


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Social Venture Challenge

Scholars are creating positive change in their communities through social ventures.

Read about Scholar ventures addressing big challenges

Scholars Program e-Learning Initiative

Find out how the initiative will deliver high-quality and inclusive online learning.

Learn More

Envision a World Where ...

Mastercard Foundation Scholars express their ideas for change.

Hear Scholars' visions for the world

International Women's Day

Our International Women’s Day series highlights stories from Mastercard Foundation Scholars about how gender has shaped their leadership.

Read how gender has shaped Scholars' leadership

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