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.
The Social Venture Challenge, a collaboration between the Mastercard Foundation and the Resolution Project, is an initiative designed to identify young leaders focused on making a difference in their communities and equip them with the resources to implement their ideas through innovative social entrepreneurship.
A total of seven projects from the winning pool of 13 Mastercard Foundation Scholars were shortlisted for this year’s competition, with six projects eventually emerging as the winners of this year’s Challenge, marking the first win for USIU-Africa in the Challenge. The six projects will receive a total of $26,000 to support their initiatives across Inclusion, Agriculture, Entrepreneurship, and Clean Eco-Fuel.
Linet Aguko, Program Director of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at USIU-Africa, highlighted the importance of projects and opportunities such as the Social Venture Challenge for Mastercard Foundation Scholars.
“Congratulations to our Mastercard Foundation Scholars who have emerged as the winners of the 2023 Social Venture Challenge. These projects are a reminder that positive change and impact can start with the vision, determination, and a commitment to making the world a better place, one community at a time,” she said.
“The execution of these projects will give our Mastercard Foundation Scholars the opportunity to refine their leadership and entrepreneurial skills as they work towards driving lasting change in their communities.”
For Rashid Wamela and Lenora Kellen, the team behind the MbuziBora initiative, empowering vulnerable widows and single mothers was their top priority when they conceived the project. Their initiative is among the six winning Social Venture Challenge projects.
“We wanted to create a sustainable economic empowerment model involving exotic goat rearing by widows and single mothers, which would ultimately propel them toward self-reliance and building their ability to fend for themselves and their families,” they said.
Since 2016, 267 Mastercard Foundation Scholars have won the Social Venture Challenge. In addition to funding, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars are also provided with mentorship and networking opportunities with global industry leaders. The 2023 winning projects are:
The Mastercard Foundation is a registered Canadian charity and one of the largest foundations in the world. It works with visionary organizations to advance education and financial inclusion to enable young people in Africa and Indigenous youth in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. Established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company, the Foundation is an independent organization separate from the company, with offices in Toronto, Kigali, Accra, Nairobi, Kampala, Lagos, Dakar, and Addis Ababa. Its policies, operations, and program decisions are determined by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and leadership.
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