Edinburgh Global

Skoll Foundation Emerging Leaders

We are delighted to announce that two Mastercard Foundation Program Scholars have been selected by the Skoll Foundation as Emerging Leaders.

Each year the Skoll Foundation, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, select a number of Emerging Leaders, scholars who show great potential in social entrepreneurship. Those selected as Leaders are currently taking part in projects that are making significant changes to their community.

Launched in 2013, the Emerging Leadership Initiative was established to help bring together the next generation of social entrepreneurs from around the world.

It aims to give a voice to young people by equipping them with the relevant skills, resources and connections in order to help their businesses succeed. The initiative also aims to help integrate the next generation into high level global conversations.

This year, 14 scholars were selected as Emerging Leaders including University of Edinburgh graduate Ritah Namwiza and recent Mastercard Foundation Summer School Scholar, Edith Violet Naisubi. Johanna Holtan, Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Edinburgh, said:

We are thrilled to see our Postgraduate Scholar Ritah and Summer School participant Edith recognised for their inspiring and meaningful work through the Skoll World Forum. These women are true examples of the power of platforms such as the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program – to support and celebrate those who are rolling up their sleeves and making a great deal of impact in their communities.

The Scholars

Ritah Namwiza graduated from the University last year and is the co-founder of the social enterprise Collage. Being selected as a Skoll Emerging Leader has given Ritah the opportunity to network and exchange ideas:

It is such a privilege being selected as one of this year's Skoll Emerging Leaders. I have met so many amazing social entrepreneurs, exchanged ideas and learnt immensely. But importantly, I have been given a platform to share my story and the story of the young men and women that I represent.

Ritah established Collage to help small businesses grow their market reach through its online platform and training programmes. She said:

Collage is a social enterprise I founded to nurture local producers, creators and innovators in Uganda. Our big picture is to connect these people to markets, resources, networks and importantly to training opportunities in order to plug them into the global economy. At Collage we recognise that for enterprises to become competitive and thrive, a mix of these ingredients must be present. Whereas we are mostly focusing on the local crafts and apparel sector currently, our dream is to showcase and facilitate connections across sectors. Our next addition will be creations and innovations around agriculture.

Reflecting on her experience as a Mastercard Foundation Scholar, she said:

Being a Mastercard Scholar challenged me more than I could ever imagine possible. I remember in one of my International Development classes, the lecturer talked of how South Korea had transformed from producing noodles, expanded its capabilities to the industrial giant it now is in a period of less than 50 years. It got me thinking about the role of small producers, creators and innovators in spurring inclusive development, fostering job creation and improving lives. It's amidst such reflections that I realized that I needed to do something when I returned home and this is how Collage was birthed.

Edith Violet Naisubi is studying for a Bachelor’s degree at Ashesi University in Ghana and attended the Mastercard Foundation Summer School on Transformative Leadership, held at the University last year. She said she felt very excited to have been selected as a Skoll Emerging Leader:

I remember reading over and over the congratulatory email because I couldn’t get enough of it. Also, I found a renewed energy and passion for the work that I do. With this shiny and new reset button and energy, I’ll continue to stay the course and encourage young women and girls to consider social entrepreneurship.

Edith runs the social enterprise AgriSan, which aims to boost agriculture, improve sanitation and reduce poverty in Ghana. She said:

AgriSan aims at establishing community market gardens where underprivileged rural women in Pallisa District, Uganda can grow vegetables as a source of food and income. The residual vegetables are turned in to manure that is applied to the community garden. Also, AgriSan provides training in other areas to these women for example entrepreneurship, financial management (where a saving scheme is established for these women), family planning and menstrual hygiene among others.

About the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program and the Skoll Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation Scholarship Program provides funding for students from Sub-Saharan African countries to pursue university studies. The Program helps those who possess academic and leadership potential but have few educational opportunities. The Program will provide 200 fully funded scholarships for students to study at the University of Edinburgh. Thinking about her time in Edinburgh, Ritah said:

The Mastercard Scholarship Program at Edinburgh prepares you to take on extraordinary challenges, to question and be curious, and importantly, to recognise and own your capabilities and use them to transform your life and the lives of others.

Reflecting on her Summer School experience, Edith told us that:

The Summer School was very enlightening. It accelerated the entrepreneurial and problem-solving skills in me. I had never had an opportunity to learn and unlearn so many things in such a short time. I integrate most of the skills I learned there in my daily life and my project. After the Summer School, I applied all the design thinking lessons I learnt to my project and refined it to make it more feasible. And other additional lessons like reflection have been very helpful in that I now reflect on mistakes and successes and always find a way forward. It is no exaggeration to say the summer school experience was transformative for me – both professionally and personally.

The Skoll Foundation helps to create large scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs who are trying to tackle the world’s most pressing problems.

Since it was established twenty years ago, the Skoll Foundation has invested in 128 social entrepreneurs and over a hundred organisations across five continents.

Skoll World Forum

The annual Skoll World Forum brings together social entrepreneurs and helps to connect them with essential partners. Taking place over the course of a week at the Saïd Business School in Oxford, the focus of this year’s forum was accelerating possibility, which examined how society can accelerate a future that is fair, inclusive and sustainable.

The Skoll World Forum gave the Emerging Leaders the chance to share their own stories as well as the opportunity to learn and enhance skills, to network and to develop relationships with strategic partners. Edith explained:

I was motivated and encouraged because I met a lot of people across the globe working on different things. It built more confidence and self believe that I can also make change in my community. Also, I met and connected with a lot of people who I never imagined I would ever meet. More so, most of these people expressed their willingness to support me even after the forum. This forum will long remain a high point of my life.

The Leaders are now part of the Skoll alumni community, helping them to stay connected as well as receiving ongoing support and access to further opportunities.

Find out more about Collage and AgriSan:

Collage Website

AgriSan Facebook

Find out more about the Skoll Foundation:

Skoll Foundation Website