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A call for adventure and collaboration with young scholars from Africa

Creative Edinburgh member Jo Holtan talks us through her exciting plans with the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme

For the next seven years, 200 students from Africa will call Edinburgh home as they embark on a life changing learning journey in the city.

In partnership with the MasterCard Foundation (MCF) Scholars Programme, the University of Edinburgh will provide full postgraduate and undergraduate scholarships to young Africans with great potential but few educational opportunities. On top of their studies, they will also participate in an immersive transformative leadership curriculum at Edinburgh before they return to their home to make a change in their communities and countries.

It’s an inspiring programme and we invite you to join us in not only making a difference to these young people’s lives, but also working together to create solutions to challenges we face in Edinburgh.

This June, we will be launching the first MCF Edinburgh Summer School as part of the programme. The School is a 4-week academy which takes students through an immersive learning experience to build the practical skills and mindset for transformative leadership. Our syllabus is a blend of theoretical, mindful, reflective and active practice, built around a series of live local projects in Edinburgh.

Community partners are central to the action-led learning that takes place during the Summer School. Partners could be social enterprises, community interest companies, third sector organisations, creative agencies or organised volunteer groups that are passionate about change in their community.

Your involvement could take place in the following ways:–

Live Project

For this month-long project, Scholars will work closely with a partner to focus on a challenge that you face in your community. We aim to provide students with the opportunity to practically apply their learning into a live context and provide partners with the opportunity to approach a community challenge in a new way. Challenges could address homelessness, high street culture, young people, refugees, active transport, older people, digital learning, accessibility, and any other issues that affect your areas.

We value the process of learning but also see the importance in developing a professional client/ consultant relationship to ensure partners get the most out of the experience as well. We will work closely with partners to create a strong challenge brief and provide support throughout the month.

Weekend Project

Weekend Projects are all-day or half-day opportunities for students to volunteer as a group in the city. This are one-off projects where students get to know local organisations and different ways to approach challenges in the community.

Fast Hack

In collaboration with the University of Aberdeen’s CityLab students, the Fast Hack is a two-day mini-hackathon where we take a community partner challenge and go through the process of defining the problem, developing and prototyping a solution in a short space of time.

You can find more information on the Summer School, guidelines, and support around the community partner opportunities here.

We also welcome any interest in other kinds of collaborations with scholars– including mentorship, joint events, project-based placements for throughout the year, and any other ideas. Please email johanna.holtan@ed.ac.uk with interest.

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