Secondary School Students in Africa to Benefit from The MasterCard Foundation's Global Education Initiative

New partners BRAC, Camfed, and FAWE will administer comprehensive scholarships and support to 11,000 secondary students in Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda, and Ethiopia

*Scholar profiles, video, and infographic can be accessed at http://mastercardfdnscholars.org/*

TORONTO, Oct. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - The MasterCard Foundation announced today the addition of three new partners to its innovative MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, a 10-year global initiative which is providing $500 million to educate young people, primarily in Africa. BRAC, Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) and Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) are the first African secondary school partners to join the Program. They will administer scholarships worth US$106 million to approximately 11,000 African students so they can complete their secondary school education. The Program identifies youth who face significant financial hurdles in completing their high school education and who are therefore often overlooked. Eighty per cent of the Scholars attending the secondary school partner schools will be girls.

"Completion of secondary school is vital to helping youth find jobs, start businesses, and bring about change in their communities," explains Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. "Our partnerships with Camfed, FAWE, and BRAC prioritize secondary education for young girls. Data from the World Bank show that for girls, one extra year of secondary education increases their earning potential by 15-25 percent. Additionally, staying in school also delays early marriages, and over the long-term, promotes healthier and more economically secure families."

The financial burden of secondary schooling on African families is often the most significant barrier to achieving greater enrollment. According to UNESCO, Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rate of secondary school enrollment in the world at 43 percent and more than 21.6 million children of lower secondary school age may never spend a single day in school[i].

Rebecca Winthrop, Director of the Centre for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, confirms, "Despite steady progress over the last decade in getting more children into school, Sub-Saharan Africa still has the lowest rate of participation in secondary education and the most severe gender disparities. Investing in relevant learning for youth in secondary school is essential in order to provide them with the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to live healthier and more productive lives. It is also a critical element for continued economic growth and social change for Africa."

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is not just about providing scholarships. Scholars enrolled in the Program are students who have shown leadership potential and a desire to give back to their communities. Through mentoring, leadership development, and service-learning, students gain the skills and competencies needed to become change-makers and ethical leaders and to succeed in the global economy.

"I believe that with the aid they have given me, I will become a person ready to make a change starting with my family, my relatives, my community, and Uganda at large," says Isma Kayiza, a 19-year-old high school student at Seroma Christian High School in Kampala. "I want to attain a good future. I want to become a doctor, a person who will help somebody who is poor."

BRAC, Camfed, and FAWE will work in partnership with families, communities, educators, and government officials to identify and demonstrate best practices for strong, high quality secondary education institutions.

About The MasterCard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $7 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 46 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation's programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is a separate and independent entity. The policies, operations, and funding decisions of the Foundation are determined by its own Board of Directors and President and CEO. To learn more about The MasterCard Foundation, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.

About BRAC

BRAC, a development organization founded in Bangladesh in 1972, is a global leader in creating opportunities at scale as a means to end poverty. With more than 100,000 employees, it is the world's largest non-governmental organization, touching the lives of an estimated 135 million in 11 countries using a wide array of antipoverty tools such as microfinance, education, healthcare, legal rights training and more. BRAC USA is a US affiliate created in 2007 to advance and support BRAC's global mission. For more information, please visit http://www.brac.net.

About Camfed

Camfed (The Campaign for Female Education) works to solve long-term health, economic and social issues in rural Africa by educating girls and investing in their economic independence and leadership once they graduate. Since 1993, 2,420,900 children in some of the poorest regions of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi have benefited from Camfed's education program. Camfed works in each country by building partnerships with the national government and by utilizing a model of inclusive power-sharing with rural communities. By placing a high degree of responsibility in the hands of the local community, Camfed ensures that its bottom up governance model is founded on transparency and accountability at every level. This places the client, in Camfed's case girls and young women in rural Africa, at the centre of action and change. For more information, please visit www.camfed.org.

About FAWE

FAWE is a pan-African non-governmental organization working in 33 African countries to empower girls and women through gender-responsive education. The organization believes that through education of women and girls, livelihoods are improved for entire communities and civic education and liberties are enhanced. Educated girls become educated women who have the knowledge, skills and opportunity to play a role in governance and democratic processes and to influence the direction of their societies. For more information, please visit http://www.fawe.org/.

[i]

UNESCO, Global Education Digest 2011 – Focus on Secondary Education http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/ged-2011.aspx

CONTACT: Toni Tiemens, The MasterCard Foundation, +1-647-837-5787, ttiemens@mastercardfdn.org

SOURCE: The MasterCard Foundation

For further information:

http://mastercardfdnscholars.org


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