How Ashesi University is planning to empower young Kenyan talent through the Mastercard Foundation Scholars program

Ashesi University
  • Ashesi University recently marked the establishment of a Young Professionals Network of all alumni from various MCF funded programmes, who have completed tertiary education and are entering the job market in Kenya.
  • Several employers, mentors, internship supervisors, alumni, students, parents/guardians of students, and personnel working within school systems managed to grace the two-day event held at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa spoke with Araba Botchway, Director of Admission and Financial Aid at Ashesi University to understand ways Africa can mentor and empower its young population.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” said anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

The saying couldn’t be truer, especially for a continent like Africa where 77 per cent of the population is below the age of 35 years. Education has never been more important.

Every year, millions of University graduates across Africa join the job market. Not every graduate is, however, that lucky to get a job immediately after they finish school.

During a recent Ashesi University -Mastercard Foundation (MCF) alumni Forum, organized by Ashesi University to mark the establishment of a Young Professionals Network of all alumni from various MCF funded programmes, who have completed tertiary education and are entering the job market in Kenya, Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa spoke with Araba Botchway, Director of Admission and Financial Aid at Ashesi University to understand ways Africa can mentor and empower its young population.

Even in the best institutions like Ashesi who intentionally introduce students to career development services and entrepreneurship during university which makes most students better off than the norm, the MasterCard Foundation scholars who are primarily first-generation college students still require additional support beyond the university setting to thrive at work or their businesses.

“So, what we are trying to do is to build a network of young professionals from all Mastercard foundation funded programmes so that there is a safety net for graduates when they finish school and start looking for jobs” Ms.Botchway told Business Insider.

Several employers, mentors, internship supervisors, alumni, students, parents/guardians of students, and personnel working within school systems managed to grace the two-day event held at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.

While students may excel on campus, their ability to thrive in the working world is not always automatic and they require a helping hand.

“Yesterday we had a session with employers in Kenya, firstly we needed to understand what the gaps were so that would inform us as we train these young Africans and secondly we also wanted to understand how corporate Kenya, corporate Rwanda, corporate Gambia, corporate Ghana, etc. can partner with institutions of higher learning to train the kind of workforce they need. So, we need various stakeholders to partner together and create the kind of workforce Africa needs,” said Botchway.

Ashesi University, located in Ghana is recognised as one of the finest universities in Africa, with an educational experience proven to successfully prepare students for rewarding lives and careers.

“I believe Ashesi University is unique because we have already started doing all the necessary things required for our students and society to prosper. We have a multidisciplinary core that every student is exposed to so in the first year Ashesi University ensures that no matter your background, your studying also incorporates the foundation of design and entrepreneurship, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, computer programming and writing among others. At the end of the day whether you are a business student and you have graduated with a business degree you still know how to code, you might also be a computer science major but you know how to start and run a business so that multiple skills is very unique to Ashesi University,”

At the end of the day when all is said and done, Ashesi University is going the extra mile to

empower its students and ensure they don’t just churn out job seekers but problem solvers as Well.

“Secondly because of our unique mission which is to train Africa’s entrepreneurs and leaders we are focusing on academics and leadership. Alongside the four-year academic curriculum, you have a four-year leadership series that every student goes through. This ensures that they come out with mindset of solving problems and starting businesses to solve the challenges around them and not just looking to be employed. These are some of the things which make Ashesi University unique,” said Botchway.

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