Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Phase One of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Our new impact report site summarises learnings and reflections gathered over the seven years of Phase One of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

MCF Scholars

About the Scholars Program

The Scholars Program supports a network of scholars who are stewards of social transformation and economic growth in their communities, countries and across Africa.

Between 2016 and 2013:

  • 240 scholarships were awarded to talented students from Africa with great academic and leadership experience, who have face barriers to their education.
  • Most students came to Edinburgh to study on-campus, and others to study through Online Distance Learning.
  • The Scholars Program provided a financial scholarship, holistic support and facilitated transformative leadership programming to inspire and support scholars.

Principal’s introduction

Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor shares his thoughts on the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program:

Being part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program for the past seven years has been an immense privilege for the University of Edinburgh. We have benefited from 240 scholars coming from 26 different African countries and studying in 13 of our Schools. Their presence has enlivened and diversified our campus and our city, allowing people who have never had the opportunity to travel to the African continent to meet and learn from some of the young, capable, and exciting people that the continent is producing.

After their studies in Edinburgh, they have gone on to a wide range of influential roles in which we are confident they will continue to shape a better world, including in fintech, agribusiness, education, healthcare, policymaking, and the arts. We want more: we hope further cohorts of Africa’s future leaders will grace Edinburgh and we will continue to contribute to the potential of that magical continent and its talented progeny….

Principal Peter MathiesonPrincipal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh

Learning and reflections

The report site is divided into five sections that reflect the student lifecycle, from recruitment and admissions through to transitioning out of studies. The site has the purpose of strengthening other similar higher education scholarship initiatives.

Hear from Charlie Bevan (Program Director 2021-present), Johanna Holtan (Program Director 2016-21), and Mastercard Foundation Scholar alums, Aisha Janki Akinola and Ifeanyichukwu Ezinmadu, as they reflect on their learnings and experiences of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program transformative leadership film

Video: MCF Impact Report
Learnings and reflections gathered over the 7 years of Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Phase One.

Phase one conclusions

Over the past seven years, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has demonstrated that it’s not only the costs associated with tuition and living that contribute to the success of scholars but a holistic support system that allows scholars space to face challenges, adapt and be aspirational in community with others.

Through this, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has been well-positioned to shine a light on what it takes to create a truly welcoming, nurturing environment.

The Program and its scholars have helped inform the University’s recruitment and admission processes, as well as other student support services to help ensure that Mastercard Foundation Scholars and other international students facing barriers to education not only gain admission but also have every chance to succeed once here.

Phase two

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is now looking ahead to the second phase at the University, which will run from 2023-2030. The learning from phase one will go towards breaking down the barriers to education, enabling talented young people from the African continent to be agents of change in the communities and influencing wider systemic challenges in relation to climate change and sustainability.

Our thanks go to our scholar and alum community through whom we have learned so much, been challenged and co-created an inclusive and diverse community, a transformative leadership curriculum and contributed to institutional change across the University.

Scholars Program Team

To read the full impact report, visit the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program’s Impact Report site:

Visit the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Impact Report 2016-2023

Related links

  • The Transitions and Mentoring Toolkit is a place where you can find information and support whether you are an international student or staff working with international students in a mentoring or other role.

Visit the Transitions and Mentoring toolkit

  • Identities in Transition Photo Voice booklet: This photo voice book captures the experiences of twelve African students who made the journey from their respective home countries in Africa to universities in the UK and North America.

View the Identities in Transition Photo Voice booklet