The Mastercard Foundation has set aside Sh2.7 billion to award scholarships to university students in Kenya and Uganda as part of a project geared towards promoting regional development.
Egerton University and Gulu University in Uganda will be the main beneficiaries of the programme whose main theme is 'Transforming African Agricultural Universities'.
According to Professor Nancy Mungai of Egerton's Njoro campus, the scholarships - which kicked off last year - will run for eight years before ending in 2024.
“At least 110 undergraduate and 110 Master's scholarships will be awarded to academically deserving and disadvantaged scholars over the eight years,” said Prof Mungai, who is also director of the board of undergraduate studies.
The first batch of 15 undergraduate and 15 Master's students drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania have been been selected.
“The programme will help the scholars discover their talents and making it work for entrepreneurship and enterprise development,” said Prof Mungai.
The project also aims to help beneficiaries acquire skills in agricultural value chain, entrepreneurship and continuous community-based research.
“At the end of the programme, the skills acquired should be able to spur rural transformation and instil creativity that will be felt beyond their borders,” she said.