What took place on 1 December 2017 in the CBR office in the College of Medicine and Health Sciences was a show of self-evaluation for the MCF team at the University of Gondar. It allowed the MasterCard Scholars program, that was approved a few months ago, to elevate their goals and assess their work thus far. The MasterCard Foundation, the University of Gondar and Queens University, Canada signed the landmark agreement on 20 September of this year.
As a first of its kind in Africa, this program will give attention to disabled youth who have great potential. Upon approval of the milestone program, 20 students were inducted into the MasterCard Scholars program and admitted into UoG (Ethiopia’s top-ranked Educational institution).
Dr. Asrat Atsedeweyn, vice president of Academic Affairs at UoG, welcomed the guests who were in attendance. He began by thanking the university community for their dedication and strenuous work. The vice president of Academic Affairs reflected on the responsibility that has been given to the University of Gondar and its various organs. “We have to learn from any setbacks,” he said, “if there are any, we need to grow from them and make this experience like no other for the students.”
At its initial phase, 27 candidates were interviewed (16 females and 11 males). The report of this had been submitted and approved by the program office and was then sent to the Academic vice presidents office for finalization.
Dr. Solomon, who is the Director of the CBR program at UoG, also gave a brief presentation of the current status and recruitment process of the kids. He alluded to the fact that the program manager, program M&E expert and program coordinator were accustomed to going door-by-door and house-by-house to interview the disabled candidates. This ensured 2 key things. Firstly to verify the students’ application form and supportive documents and secondly, to conduct face to face interviews with the applicants.
Some issues such as eligible applicants not accessing information on time to meet deadlines, institutions not being able to fill posts in the committee, incomplete applications, and change in the academic calendar of the university were mentioned at the management meeting. It is clear though that such issues will be fixed in the future to ensure the intellectual growth of the students.
The MasterCard Foundation was founded in 2006 and works to improve education, financial inclusion, and livelihood. Its main objective in Africa is to create transformative leaders. And over the next 10 years, by allowing 450 disabled students in the Horn of Africa to be given an opportunity of a lifetime, its aim will be sure to hit its mark.
Samuel Malede| Communications and Learning Coordinator, Scholars Program