The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program office at the University of Gondar hosted representatives from Arizona State University to enhance the opportunities of all students via a revolutionary new platform. The Baobob Platform is a social, professional and learning community for young African leaders and the largest network of Mastercard Foundation program participants.
The Mastercard Foundation, a leading global philanthropic organization, helped fund the Baobab platform, in cooperation with Arizona State University. The Platform is a digital solution aimed at enhancing the capacity of young leaders across Africa. The Baobab platform offers a range of resourceful tools for young leaders who are trying to better themselves and their continent.
The representatives from the Arizona State University, who received a grant from the Mastercard Foundation, focused on a number of tasks while at UoG. Since the Scholars Program at UoG is unique in nature because of its attention to people with disabilities and disadvantages, the Baobab Platform team made it a priority to observe whether the useability of the application and site is up to the standards of people with disabilities.
Some Scholars shared their delight on how the Baobab network and application is creating new ways for them to interact with other like-minded young leaders and other talented individuals. However, others shared their concerns about the inclusivity of the platform and the need to correct some issues that prevent the full incorporation of people with disabilities into the program. The guests from Arizona State University took all of the comments and also conducted usability testing to gather enough information about the way people with disabilities use the platform and will later share their results with their team back in the States to fix all outstanding difficulties.
Although the platform was only available to Mastercard Foundation Scholars in recent times, the Baobab Platform is now available in all African countries and to all people who abide by the rules, regulations and values of the network.
In a statement, Dr. Molalign Belay, Co-Director of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UoG, said, “The Baobab platform is a game-changer for networking and inclusion in Africa. It is a powerful tool that will help to reach millions of people who have felt excluded. By providing the platform to our students, we can help them improve their lives by creating a more inclusive and equitable society with a range of prospects.”
The Baobab platform has been well-received by all communities, with many experts hailing it as a significant step towards inclusion and progress in Africa. It is expected to have a major impact on the continent’s growth and capacity building efforts, by providing small and comprehensive trainings with access to easy to learn certificate programs and scholarship opportunities.
Speaking on the vast benefits of the Platform, Joanne Tolkoff, who is lead content creator of the platform, said, “This platform will help us to reach more people in remote areas, where opportunities, professional development, mentorship and networking will create a new generation of African leaders.”
The Baobab platform has already begun to make a difference in the lives of people in many African communities. For example, in places like Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, it has helped to dish out scholarships to many students who are now doing their postgraduate studies in the United States. It is also focusing on the development of individuals. Baobab has a growing catalog of courses designed to provide young African youth with the tools that guide their professional and personal development. Select courses also award certifications on completion from highly prestigious organizations and institutions.