It has been eight years since the Mastercard Foundation partnered with the AIMS network, a journey which began in November 2014. The goal over the years has been for the foundation to provide support to 30% of AIMS admitted students, with a keen interest in women. Qualified, yet economically disadvantaged Africans are the target, ensuring that they are able to complete a master’s-level education in the mathematical sciences. The Mastercard Foundation has been a major support to the AIMS Secretariat, thus increasing the profile and prioritization of STEM education in Africa.
Mastercard Foundation Scholars at AIMS are carefully chosen on need-based criteria that focuses on academic excellence, leadership potential and how committed they are to giving back to their communities. In demonstrating these qualities, students are required to participate in outreach activities such that they heighten their sense of responsibility. Being a scholar also affords them the opportunity to reinforce leadership skills enabling them to take charge of positive transformation within communities and across the African continent at large.
This year the foundation offered to provide support to 20 students. AIMS Ghana then proceeded to shortlist potential Mastercard Foundation Scholars on the 11th of January 2021. The three-person interview panel conducted meetings with each of the prospective scholars, which lasted a period of two days, after which the 20 scholars were selected. The 2022 Council constitutes, scholars from eleven African countries comprising of eleven females (55%) and nine males.
Their orientation took place on the 27th of January 2021 with the Chief Operations Officer, Ms. Asante, Program Manager, Mrs. Kwawu and the Academic Manager, Dr. Bainson, gracing the occasion. A presentation by Mrs. Kwawu demonstrated what it meant to be a Mastercard Foundation Scholar, it highlighted past scholars and their activities while at AIMS Ghana and it shed more light on the benefits as well as the expectations of a scholar. Ms. Asante also went on to encourage the students to be creative in their outreach activities and find innovative ways to give back to society, be it through time or money. With regards to their academic life, Dr. Bainson admonished the scholars to remain focused in order to continue in the excellence that brought them this opportunity in the first place – after all the socio-economic advancement of Africa through STEM, is the ultimate goal.
The 2021/2022 council of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars conducted elections on the 2nd of February 2021 selecting 2 members as Council Leaders. Their outreach activities are scheduled to commence over the course of February.