Last month, we dived into some of the top reasons why student recruitment partnership programs work, and how relying on partners can ensure the quality of the applicants, as all applicants have already been vetted by the partner organizations.
Our partners are as invested in as smooth transitions for their students as possible; this includes the transition from our recruitment partner to university and the transition to the workplace upon graduation. Upon selection, they prepare the scholars for the rigor or university, stressing the importance of soft skills in thriving in a new environment. The Akua Kuenyehia Foundation, a partner of ours in Ghana runs a comprehensive onboarding session with each of their scholars where they bring their scholars through a two-month-long crash course orientation on fundamental skills like financial management, how to keep/maintain relationships, time management, amongst others.
We find scholars who have been through some form of orientation before joining our program have an easier time with the transition, and when faced with issues, they have a toolkit that can help them navigate out of tough times. All of our partners are invested in the scholar’s success in university, thus take the time to ensure they are properly oriented prior to moving away from home.
In addition, many of our alumni have secured employment either at the organization that nominated them to the scholarship program or through the recruitment partners local networks. This investment of time and resources that our partners pledge prepare all scholars for transitions, both to university and to the world of work, which if faced alone and in insolation, can be daunting and unfamiliar.
One of the core tenants of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is ‘Go-Back, Give-Back’; that scholars will return to their communities to create positive social and economic change by investing in the local community. After their first year in the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program (MCFSP), we ask our scholars to demonstrate this commitment to ‘Go-Back, Give-Back’ through volunteerism and community service, as well as other forms of experiential learning. We ask that scholars spend a minimum of 15 days running a project that will solve a need facing their community.
The scholars have to manage all aspects of this project running from project design to a needs identification to a budget. We find that the scholars are the most successful with identifying a problem in their community and coming up with a creative way to address that need are the students who have been exposed to volunteerism or community service throughout high school.
Abaarso School in Somaliland does just that; from the first-day students step enroll in 7th grade, until 12th grade graduation, students are required to take on a ‘work-time’ activity. These activities range in terms of scale, but all activities have an impact; whether on the school community or the local community in Hargeisa.
The staff at Abaarso School have seen the importance of having students give back to their communities, and their student body completes (on average) 25,000 hours of community work a year. Students may work with Operation Green, beautifying the school campus or tutor at a government-run orphanage, impacting orphaned children by teaching them basic English and Math. Abaarso, and other partners that instill the importance of giving back to their community are instilling the values and community-oriented mindset that we look for in selecting applicants.
In conclusion, our recruitment partners are our thought partners; we can run ideas of new programming by them or ask for feedback, and they will give us their honest thoughts.
They have a vested interest in strengthening our programming, as their students will be beneficiaries of any changes or additions that we introduce.
The Program is invested in their growth and development of our partners, and the recruitment partners are equally invested in the development of the scholarship program, as they directly impact from the Program.