Our programs assist people living in poverty by providing access to education, financial inclusion and skills training, with a particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.
We put the people we serve at the center of our program design and take a holistic, long-term approach to our work.
Hundreds of millions of people in Africa, many of them living in poverty, lack access to basic financial products and services. In many rural and remote communities there are simply no bank branches or ATMs. Banks and other financial service providers often see these clients as too risky, too remote and too poor to serve.
Financial inclusion means that low-income individuals, households and small businesses have access to and can effectively use appropriate financial services such as savings, credit and insurance. It also means these services are provided responsibly and sustainably in a well-regulated environment.
Access to appropriate financial services allows people greater opportunity to reach their economic goals. It can also enable those living in poverty to smooth the financial impacts of unexpected crop failure, food shortage, illness or other negative events in their lives.
Millions of young people in Africa lack access to a quality education. Only 20 percent of young people move from primary to secondary school and only 5 percent transition to university. Research shows that education is an effective path out of poverty, particularly for women.
We define education as learning that takes place both within and outside of the formal school system. Our partnerships focus on providing quality, accessible secondary and tertiary education, as well as skills development for those living in poverty.
With chronic unemployment and underemployment on the continent, we believe it is important to focus on appropriate education that addresses foundational skills, such as literacy and numeracy, as well as market-relevant skills that young people need to transition to employment, such as digital literacy and financial management.
Many young people lack the necessary skills to find formal or stable informal employment. In Africa, young people are about three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, and globally, almost 200 million young people require a second chance to develop the skills necessary to find employment.
There are a number of hurdles that young people in Sub-Saharan Africa face in gaining these skills. Educational institutions may not provide a relevant or high-quality curriculum that addresses the needs of the labour market. Young people may also not have the chance to develop work experience in the formal sector or they may have to drop out of school due to cost.
Our Youth Livelihoods Program helps the transition from education to employment by providing young people with a comprehensive and tailored package of support. Providing economically disadvantaged young people with a combination of training, life skills and financial literacy will prepare them to transition to meaningful employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program provides quality secondary and university education to economically disadvantaged but academically talented young people living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Scholars selected for the Program have shown a commitment to giving back to their communities.
In addition to education, these students receive skills training, leadership development, mentoring and transition support. The Scholars Program is fostering a cohort of next-generation leaders who will contribute to social transformation and economic growth on the continent…