Soc14
Deepening connections among critical change makers in Africa: experiences from the MasterCard foundation scholars program

Convenors:
Hélène Grégoire (Mastercard Foundation)
Ben Kerman (The Social Sciences Research Council)
Stream:
Sociology
Location:
Chrystal McMillan, Seminar Room 5
Friday 14 June, 10:45-12:15

Short abstract:

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is anchored in a belief in the power of individuals and institutions as catalysts for social and economic transformation in Africa. To facilitate that impact the Program connects partners and Scholars to each other and to others in their broader ecosystem.

Long abstract:

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program (SP) is anchored in a belief in the power of individuals and institutions as catalysts for social and economic transformation in Africa. To facilitate that catalytic impact, the Program promotes several types of connections. After introducing the Program's theory of change, which includes individual, institutional and system-level outcomes, panelists will describe and share insights on their efforts to connect. First, SP partners connect Scholars with educational opportunities and with employers to facilitate their transition into the world of work and change-making. Second, the network of SP partners is conceived as a learning partnership, a collective learning enterprise that intends to improve the impact of the Program and influence change based on systematic knowledge creation and sharing. Spaces for authentic conversations are deliberately created so that partners can share experience and learn from one another. Thirdly, partnerships between institutions are enabled so as to leverage their strengths and resources for reciprocal learning and benefit. Lastly, Scholars are connected to one another with the hope that a vibrant, purpose- and values-driven alumni network will offer alumni moral and practical support, inspiration and accountability. It may also help them to secure employment, create jobs for others and expand their transformative impact. The session will end by inviting reflection on other connections that that might helpful in scaling up the benefits enjoyed by Scholars to other young people and in promoting equity of outcomes. Panelists will include representatives from the Foundation, partner institutions as well as a Scholar.