2018 Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Convening
Contributed by: Dr. Heather Aldersey
Dr. Aldersey is Assistant Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and interim Director of the ICACBR. She is the co-Director of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Queen’s and PI on the Queen Elisabeth Scholars for Excellence in International CBR grant.
Last week, I had the pleasure to attend the 2018 Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Convening in Accra, Ghana. Every year, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars program brings together representatives from its 28 partner institutions to discuss key issues related to the Foundation’s strategy, as well as to highlight some of the partners’ work and discuss key successes and challenges of implementing the Scholars program over the last year.
In addition to me, Queen’s University representatives included our Principal, Dr. Daniel Woolf, and the University of Gondar/Queen’s University Mastercard Foundation Scholars Project Research and Learning Coordinator, Dr. Nomusa Mngoma. Queen’s University Chancellor, Jim Leech, was also present in his role as Chairman of the Board of the Mastercard Foundation.
On the first day of this event, all attendees participated in small-group field visits to various Mastercard Foundation-funded partner sites in Ghana. I visited the Young Africa Leadership Initiative (YALI) in Accra to learn about their 5-week leadership and entrepreneurship training program and I visited a beauty-product manufacturing site that was created by a YALI alumni. On the second day of the event, we all came together to hear from the President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation, Reeta Roy, about the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy (https://mastercardfdn.org/research/young-africa-works/ ).
This new strategy will guide the Foundation’s charitable objectives over the upcoming years. We also heard from a number of Mastercard Foundation Scholar alumni and had interesting discussions with Ghanaian employers of young people about transitions to the workplace. Finally, on the third day, program administrators had the opportunity to focus discussions around monitoring, evaluation, and learning and to connect with one another and discuss common issues we all face in implementing our programs.
This is the third year I have attended this event, and as always, I leave inspired by the great work of my colleagues, motivated from the discussions and problem solving, and eager to be back at Queen’s to share all of my learning with the rest of our project team!
Photo: Queen’s Chancellor Jim Leech addresses Convening participants