Scholars@10 Press Room
“Through a network of extraordinary partners, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is enabling thousands of bright and deserving young people to access quality education and develop as leaders who give back to their communities and help to improve the lives of others. Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Alumni are leaders and innovators; activists and entrepreneurs; tackling everything from climate change to health inequity. Their collective impact will be felt for generations to come.”
– Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation
The Baobab Summit brings together Mastercard Foundation Scholars every year to equip them with the skills they need to drive change. This year, the Scholars Program marks its decennial with the Summit to celebrate the efforts of our diverse and dynamic partner network, brilliant and resilient Scholars, and the elements that have contributed to the evolution of this one-of-a-kind Program in Africa.
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A Decade of Impact
Today, 18,544 young people have graduated from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. They have gone on to pursue careers in a range of fields: they are artists, environmentalists, lawyers, politicians, doctors and nurses, etc. They have not only changed their own lives and trajectories, but they are problem-solving to change the lives of others. Here’s a decade of impact by the numbers.
Docu-Series: Ripples of Impact
Mastercard Foundation Scholars are giving back to their communities and exercising leadership and agency across the African continent. Ripples of Impact is an inspiring 12-part docuseries showing how Scholars are using their knowledge, resources, and lived experiences to solve challenges, fill gaps, and drive meaningful change in their communities.
As the largest education and leadership initiative of its kind, the Scholars Program is enabling the next generation of ethical African leaders today. Transformative leadership and giveback underpin the Program. Scholars, young men, and women committed to bettering their communities gain opportunities to grow and develop, model, and enhance their leadership skills both through their institution and on platforms like Baobab and competitions like the Social Venture Challenge. Below are four of their stories.
Watch Ripples of ImpactOpen gallery
Graduate of McGill University
Founder, Cactus Mama
Faith Kipkemboi, is an advocate for child, maternal and mental health. For Faith, mental health and well-being are personal as a number of years ago her mother died while 8 months pregnant, a crushing loss to Faith and her father.
Faith is a Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program alumni from McGill University where she earned a Bachelor of Science. She is also a Registered Nurse and Founder of Cactus Mama, a telemental health program that provides women in rural Kenya with health services during and after their pregnancy. Through Cactus Mama, Faith developed BridgeMe Mobile and Web App, platforms that connect clients to teletherapy, person-centred, affordable, and quality care.
In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic Faith observed a gap in mental health care delivery; patients were unable to visit mental health providers in clinical settings due to pandemic protocols. Some were able to connect with their health providers by phone, but others saw their health recovery impacted, unable to connect to the support they needed. Cactus Mama’s BridgeMe App seeks to remove the stigma around mental health and places care in the hands of the client. It is a confidential and secure platform, enabling clients to choose when and where they receive support. Faith is currently doing an online MSc in digital education as a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at the University of Edinburgh.
Founder, Numeracy Aid Foundation
Graduate of African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Ghana
Shamsuddeen Ibrahim, known to many in his community as the “humanitarian mathematician” because of his dedication to helping children succeed, is the founder of Numeracy Aid Foundation (NAF), a not for the profit based in Adamawa State, Nigeria with a mission to help children in Africa overcome numeracy phobia. Using the latest technology and resources, Shamsuddeen has developed a three-step method to assess a child’s math skills and track their progress. Since 2013 NAF has helped more than 1397 children improve their math scores.
As a mathematician with a background in disease modelling and research, Shamsuddeen has more than 10 years of experience working in various sectors including health, education, and information technology with organizations like Sunshine International School Bauchi, Inspire Paradigm Academy Yola, Abubakar Tafawa Belewa University Bauchi and Society for Family Health Nigeria. He is a results-focused and compassionate leader who believes in instilling young people with a “you can do it” mindset.
Shamsuddeen graduated with a First-Class Honours degree from the University of Jos Plateau State Nigeria, and he is an alumni of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, holding an MSc in mathematical sciences from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Ghana
Dr. Joanna Gunab
Graduate of the University for Development Studies, School of Medicine
Medical Doctor and Founder SOFA Foundation
Joanna Gunab is a 28-year-old medical doctor living with a disability. She wears many hats – a disability activist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of SOFA Foundation a social venture that practices local acts of kindness in her local community in Ghana.
Joanna shares, “I grew up in a society that told me what I could and couldn’t do with life because I am physically challenged. I’ve seen society set standards, kill dreams, and limit people, simply because they don’t fit into society’s standards. I dream of a world where we aren’t separated by race, ability, riches, or anything else, a world where everyone gets offered the same opportunity. A world where anyone can be anything without being limited. I’m inspired to create such a world, just like the one that the Mastercard Foundation created for me.”
Joanna graduated from the University for Development Studies, School of Medicine through the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program’s partnership with CAMFED in Ghana.
Prince Baffour Agyei
Graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
Founder and CEO, MorePlex Company Ltd.
Prince Baffour Agyei is the founder and CEO of MorePlex Company Limited, a social venture that produces inexpensive cosmetics and sanitary products. The company trains under-skilled, economically disadvantaged women to produce soap and cosmetics using locally sourced, organic ingredients which are packaged, marketed, and sold by a team of local youth, providing a steady source of income for both groups.
Prince discovered his entrepreneurial talent while a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. He has received numerous awards and recognitions including: “Best Chemical Engineering Entrepreneur” by the Department of Chemical Engineering; “Most Impact Community Project by a Mastercard Foundation Scholar”; “Most Popular Brand” by the SNV GrEEn Project, and “Best Startup in WASH” as part of the 2021 Business Plan competition.
Prince uses his positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed. He is currently a YALI fellow, Generation Africa Fellow, and an alum of the UNICEF Startup lab and MEST Express Accelerator. He is seen as a champion for rural hand hygiene and sat on a panel discussion by UNICEF Ghana and Ghana Enterprise Agency on rural handwashing. He also co-founded Cocoa Potash Ltd, an early-stage social venture utilizing cocoa husk to produce 95 percent pure organic potash and other commercially viable products from cocoa husk using a clean, eco-friendly production technology.
Quotes from Partners, Scholars & Alumni
“My hope for the Scholars Program is that by 2030 we have hundreds and hundreds of leader-driven networks throughout Africa that are transforming everything.”
– Professor Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University
“The Mastercard Foundation set up this Program that really put everybody on a level playing field, and completely changed the game for those students that (so needed) support. It was very clear to the Mastercard Foundation, that the students—the young people—were the North Star.”
– Patrick Awuah, President and Founder of Ashesi University