MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program: 2016 Internship Reflection Event

MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program: 2016 Internship Reflection Event

September 14, 2019 3 By Ronny Jaskolski


The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program
is a highly-visible, impact-oriented and multi-stakeholder initiative that’s designed to prepare the
next generation of African leaders with a world-class education and practical skills
that they need to transform their communities and the world. Today’s program is what we call a Reflection
Event and we’re giving them an opportunity through poster presentations to share their
experiences from the program, and to have other students ask them questions and be inspired
by what they learned. The internship component of The MasterCard
Foundation Scholars Program is really critical because all of the students are required to
do an internship back on the continent of Africa. It’s an opportunity for them to connect back
with their home country or with their region so that they can really understand, “What
are the current problems?” And so it’s a great opportunity not only for
them to check back in, but also helps to influence their future career choices. Our internship program started the summer
of 2013, and we actually started at that point with just five scholars. So this past year for 2016 we had 36 scholars
from 27 different majors in 16 countries at 42 different sites. So it’s been a really wonderful year for the
internship program. I’ve always had a dream to impact children’s
lives, and through TPP and UNICEF I’ve managed to do that. My internship was focused on girls’ education
in southern parts of the country, where I had to develop elementary clubs to empower
girls to realize their potential. I can see my future focused more in community
work and children-related issues. I did my internship with NEPAD agency. NEPAD is a new partnership for Africa’s development. So as part of my work I was with the communications
department and I was supposed to help in terms of outreach, the African continent, with
what NEPAD was doing and the African Unity is doing. Most people think that the goals of the African
Union is too big and it’s a dream that’s not achievable. But going there and seeing people who are
keen on making things happen and believed in that dream motivated me and inspired me
to achieve — or to aim higher and know that I can do everything if I set my mind to do
it. My first internship I was at the Malaria Alert
Center and then the second one I was at the Gwery Provincial Hospital. I chose to work with the Malaria Alert organization
because I really, really love neuroscience. I’m fascinated by the brain and I also really
love kids. And the project really combined the two aspects
that are really dear to me so that’s why I chose it. And also considering that malaria is a very
prevalent disease in Malawi, I really wanted to be actively doing something in a real situation
that people are facing. I did my internship in Cameroon at Plan International. Plan International is a non-governmental organization
that is centered on working with children, local communities, displaced people like refugees
and generally on development issues. I thought this was the time for me to give
back. Secondly, I’m a journalism student and I’m
interested in reporting issues about refugees, about displaced people, about the underprivileged. And this organization was just the best for
me to have access to these kinds of people, to understand the kinds of lives that they
lead. I do work with the MasterCard alumni and have
been remarkably impressed with them. In specific I work with one Jimmy Vareta who
is one of the most motivated, sharp intellects that I’ve met in Malawi. One of the things that excites me about The
MasterCard Program here at MSU is the dedication and commitment you see in the MasterCard Scholars,
and I can see that they really realize what they’ve been given, and the diversity of what
they plan to give back is incredible. This program is making an impact in so many
ways. The impact starts right here on campus: their
interaction with other students who have never been to Africa and who maybe have very limited
views of what Africa is all about. There’s amazing stories of their internships,
their community service, their interactions with one another, their reflection sessions
like the one we’re having here, that we haven’t documented. So immediate future is to really create a
clear compilation of these activities and share them. In the more longer-term future, we would like
to see these young people truly stepping into the role of leaders and serving as agents
of change in their communities and in the larger world. Spartans Will empower communities. Spartans Will, through transformative leadership,
transform Africa.