African Development University (ADU) has received a grant from the Mastercard Foundation to provide young people from economically disadvantaged communities access to quality and relevant education. The grant, which will be spread out over five years, will support 400 students from across Africa’s Sahel region and spur ADU’s effort to equip young Francophone Africans with 21st-century skills, including leadership, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, and problem-solving.  

“We are confident of the positive impact the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program will have on the higher-education ecosystem not only in Niger but in Africa’s Sahel region,” said Oyindamola Johnson, Director, Office of Global Advancement, ADU. “ADU intends to continuously galvanize support to improve educational outcomes, employability, and help young people access meaningful and dignified jobs.”  

The grant will also help ADU strengthen its capacity for inclusive education while providing financial, social, and academic support to students who have leadership potential to become change-makers in their communities. 

Since 2017, ADU has been on the Education Collaborative at Ashesi’s institutional mentorship program, through which they have received support and guidance in shaping and scaling quality education outcomes. During this period, Ashesi University leadership, staff, and faculty have worked with ADU in capacity-building for student services, executive management, academic development, human resources, and areas required to ensure the sustainability of outcomes and impact.  

With a decade’s experience running its own Mastercard Foundation Scholar’s program, Ashesi University, through the Education Collaborative, worked closely with ADU in building its institutional capacity to access the grant.  

“For a long time, it seemed as if the youth in the Sahel region have received little attention in terms of access to quality education opportunities,” shared Araba Botchway, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Ashesi University. 

“ADU is looking to flip the script. It has been rewarding to work with ADU, whose goals align with Ashesi’s mission to train ethical and entrepreneurial leaders in Africa. Working with the ADU team was an opportunity to scale Ashesi’s impact on the continent and contribute a cause to raise a community of changemakers in Africa.” 

“This milestone reinforces the effectiveness of the Education Collaborative’s charge to support institutions to grow individually and collectively through learning and sharing best practices from Ashesi and peer exemplars on the continent,” shared Rose Dodd, Director, Education Collaborative. “As ADU continues to build its internal systems for transformation, we look forward to seeing its growth into an exemplar institution to impact peers in Niger and the Sahel region.”  

“We intend to cascade our learnings from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program and serve as a mentor institution to other universities in the Sahel,” mentioned Johnson. “We are proud and honoured to have Ashesi University serve as our mentor university and strong ally over the years. It is indeed a new dawn for higher education in Niger and across the Sahel.” 

Learn more about the partnership between ADU and Ashesi