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MasterCard Foundation- Advancing Sustainability in Africa through Inclusive Education

The term sustainability is broadly used to indicate programs, initiatives and actions aimed at the preservation of a particular resource. It also means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition to natural resources, we also need social and economic resources. Sustainability is not just environmental- ism but also inclusive education.

Mastercard Foundation logo. Photo: Mastercard Foundation

Successful inclusive education happens primarily through accepting, understanding, and attending to student differences and diversity, which can include physical, cognitive, academic, social, and emotional. Africa is associated with Ubuntu values such as inclusiveness and treating others with fairness and human dignity. Such values align with human rights and social justice principles and are also integral to a social approach to inclusive education. An inclusive approach to education means that each individual’s needs are taken into account and that all learners participate and achieve together. It acknowledges that all children can learn and that every child has unique characteristics, interests, abilities and learning needs.

Meanwhile, the Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world.

The Foundation is one of the largest charitable foundations in the world. It operates independently from Mastercard Incorporated, which originally set up the Foundation in 2006. It is a registered Canadian charity with hubs in Toronto, Kigali, Accra and Nairobi, and offices in Kampala, Lagos, Dakar, and Addis Ababa.

Consequently, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program envisions a transformative network of young people and institutions driving inclusive and equitable socio-economic change in Africa.

Education for Sustainability (EfS) is an educational approach that aims to develop students, schools and communities with the values and the motivation to take action for sustainability – in their personal lives, within their community and also at a global scale, now and in the future. Inclusive education is approached from three dimensions: the creation of inclusive cultures, the production of inclusive policies, and the development of inclusive practices.

The importance and linkage of education to the development of any society cannot be over-emphasised. For a society to develop, education must be inclusive (including the physically challenged). “The Program will place a particular emphasis on recruiting young women, forcibly-displaced youth, and young people living with disabilities, with postgraduate students recruited from across the continent.”

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program aims to ensure access to education for bright young leaders who have a personal commitment to changing the world around them and improving the lives of others.

The Program, according to the organization, has supported the education and leadership development of more than 45,000 young people, more than 70 per cent of whom are women. It also provides financial, social, and academic support to Mastercard Scholars. Financial support includes, but is not limited to, tuition fees, accommodation, books, and other scholastic materials.

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