Promoting academic excellence: A compassion-led project for disadvantaged youth

Involved alumni:
Postgraduate Corner

The challenge that the project addresses

The Global South Research and Policy Group is a female youth-led organisation which was founded in 2018 to address the research knowledge gap and promoting study abroad opportunities for students in Africa. Our work focuses on providing access to scholarship information for youths in Africa who may not have access to such information, including youths from rural areas. The project founders have studied in Ireland, England and Hong Kong and we felt that our experience and training can help a lot of other African students to experience the same opportunities and excel academically. Africa has a lot of intelligent minds, some of whom are missing out on opportunities because of a lack of knowledge and financial constraints. Our aim with this project is to increase access to research training and scholarship information to disadvantaged youths from Zimbabwe.

What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?

We are currently curating scholarship opportunities for students from African countries and posting on our social media pages. We are also supporting students who are interested in applying for particular opportunities to sharpen their research and academic writing skills in order to improve their chances of winning scholarships. We also have a mentorship program where we match undergraduate students with mentors who have successfully studied abroad. The aim of the mentorship program is aimed at ensuring that undergraduate students are aware of opportunities available to them and get them interested in research at an early stage.

Describe the project's impact

Since 2018 we have worked with several students from Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and others from outside Africa who access our social media pages (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn). We have two students who have secured scholarships in Ireland (Masters and PhD), and we have supported other students to get local scholarships in South Africa, for example one is currently doing her PhD at University of KZN. We currently support 20 postgraduate students studying in Ireland, UK, Hong Kong, and China with their research journey which includes providing them with study tips, dealing with supervisors and post-study career guidance.

How will you spend the R20,000 award if you win?

We want to use about R5-7 000 to set up an interactive website for our project so that we can be visible to academic institutions and universities in Africa so that we can partner with them to access more students. With the remainder of the money we plan to host a 2-day programme at the end of the academic year which will attract possible scholarship applicants. We will use the funds to advertise the programme and to pay for a venue as well as refreshments. We are also looking into inviting former scholarship recipients to be speakers at the event so as to motivate prospective students.

What do you hope to achieve?

  • Widen our reach to places that we have not accessed with our social media pages
  • Increase awareness of scholarship opportunities to students in Zimbabwe
  • Contribute to closing the learning gap and achieving SDG 4 of inclusive and equitable quality education for all
  • The opportunity to transfer professional knowledge and expertise from the vantage point of former postgraduate students
  • This project will enhance our skills and promote our individual professional development. This is a unique opportunity to establish our reputation as thought leaders and higher education practitioners.