University commits to Ashinaga Africa Initiative
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has committed to an international scholarship programme that enables students from Sub-Saharan Africa to make positive changes in their countries.
UCLan is the first university in the North of England and the third in the UK to sign up to the Ashinaga Africa Initiative, a fully-funded undergraduate scholarship intended to empower a generation of future leaders by providing them with an international university education and comprehensive support throughout their studies.
The programme, which is part of the Japanese charity organisation Ashinaga Foundation and began in 2014, is open specifically to orphaned students from Sub-Saharan Africa who will use their degree as a means to address the challenges facing the region in which they live. The charity believes strongly that when given the chance, these talented students who have already faced emotional and economic hardship are capable of becoming the compassionate leaders that Sub-Saharan Africa needs to excel.
The scholarship is jointly funded by Ashinaga and UCLan and will cover tuition and accommodation costs. The University will welcome 21-year-old Nanyori Olemako from Tanzania as its first Ashinaga Africa Initiative scholarship student in September. Nanyori will study a three-year international journalism degree at the University and fought through a rigorous selection process of 4,500 applications for only 49 places from the whole of Sun-Saharan Africa.
The University has been working with African countries for more than 20 years and already has a strong history of welcoming students from the continent, so this venture will only strengthen this connection.
Nanyori, whose passion is to is to use journalism and mass media to highlight injustices against women and fight for gender equality, particularly among Masai people, said: “Ever since the day I received the news that I had been selected as one of the 2019 Ashinaga Africa Initiative candidates, I felt an indescribable turning point in my life. I can’t emphasise more how being part of this scholarship is a life-time opportunity.
“This issue of women oppression in the Maasai tribe influenced me to go for international journalism as I want to help both women and girls who were deprived of their right to education to achieve their goals. Once I have completed my studies, I aim to set up a women and girls’ vocational training school to help them learn other skills and co-operatives to improve their economic standards of living.”
UCLan learned of the Ashinaga Africa Initiative during its African Symposium last year, where it welcomed representatives from 15 African countries to discuss potential new collaborative projects.
Dr Melinda Tan, Director of International Businesses Development within the Faculty of Culture and the Creative Industries at UCLan, said: “UCLan is committed to helping students from all walks of life reach their academic potential. We are delighted to be a part of this fantastic initiative that will make such an important difference not only to the lives of our scholarship students, but also to the communities in which they live.
“The University has been working with African countries for more than 20 years and already has a strong history of welcoming students from the continent, so this venture will only strengthen this connection.”
Dr Mike King, Board Member and Director of Ashinaga UK, said: “The Ashinaga Foundation is delighted to be working with UCLan. Since our first meeting it has been very clear that the University shares our values, our passion for widening access to education, and our belief in the power of education to enable positive change in the world.”
During her scholarship Nanyori will work closely with UCLan journalism lecturer George Ogola who has worked as a journalist in Nairobi, South Africa and the UK. The University has also been working with Peter Burdin who has worked for BBC Africa and is keen to support her.
UCLan will welcome a new Ashinaga Africa Initiative every academic year on a variety of courses. More information about the scholarship is available on the Ashinaga website.
*The picture above right shows (left – right) Dr Melinda Tan, Director of International Businesses Development within the Faculty of Culture and the Creative Industries at UCLan, Paul Rowe, UCLan Director of Partnerships (UK and International) and Dr Mike King, Board Member and Director of Ashinaga UK.