The Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI)
Ashinaga UK is part of the AAI: an international leadership program that cultivates the next generation of leaders to contribute to the development of sub-Saharan Africa. Find out more.
Journey of an AAI Scholar in the UK
Scholars leave their home countries and study at world-class universities in the UK. We cover the costs of tuition and all other necessary expenses, but the Scholars do the real work, developing academic, personal, and professional skills in an international environment.
The Scholars create detailed plans to tackle the big problems they have identified in their home communities. They work on this plan throughout their studies, receiving feedback and support from Ashinaga staff and their peers. They conduct field research in African countries and work internships in their vacations to gain the skills and connections they need.
Scholars return home after their studies to begin their careers and realise their goals to help others. Our final goal is not the Scholars’ education, but that through education and training Scholars will be equipped to initiate change, innovation, and development in sub-Saharan Africa.
Our approach is to effect change through grass-roots development, empowering young people to identify issues, develop solutions, and have a positive impact in their communities. We believe that the best people to change communities are the people who live in those communities, once they have the tools and experience needed to make a difference. Read more about our strategy.
- For the 2019-2020 academic year, we are supporting 27 Scholars, from 18 countries, studying at 18 institutions across the UK.
- 85 percent of our Scholars are enrolled at one of the top 500 universities in the world.
- Alongside their studies, Scholars develop projects to improve communities in the region of sub-Saharan Africa, undertake internships and field research, and continue to develop leadership skills through our program.
How We Work
Ashinaga UK is divided into five overlapping categories of work:
- Student Relations
We support the Scholars on every step of their academic and leadership journey, beginning with their preparation year in Africa (Uganda or Senegal) and continuing through their undergraduate degrees with frequent meetings with an assigned Student Relation Team member for updates and guidance. Our goal is for the Scholars to get the most out of their university experience, building programs to develop their academic, professional personal skills.
- University Relations
We build relationships with universities across the UK, creating joint scholarships with some of the best universities in the country. We also work with universities to strengthen their understanding of the context from which our students have come and to support our program in other ways.
- Professional Network and Career Development
The Professional Network and Career Development Team have two roles. First, to develop programs to cultivate professional skills in AAI Scholars, and second, to build relationships with organisations across the world, focusing on ones in Africa, for internship and recruitment opportunities for Scholars.
Our fundraising team is focused on building relationships, awareness and much needed support to ensure the long-term sustainability of our work.
We work to make our operation as effective and efficient as possible, ensuring that as much time as possible is spent on the work that has the greatest impact. Our comprehensive Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning system allows us to track the impact of our work so that we can refine it and ensure it is being delivered as cost-effectively as possible.
The Ashinaga Africa Initiative is already having a demonstrable impact. Ashinaga UK has become the largest recruiting provider of undergraduate scholarships to students from sub-Saharan Africa in the UK. We recruit from 48 of the 49 sub-Saharan African countries. Many of these countries are under-represented in the UK: for example, we support two of the 20 students from Lesotho, and two of the 15 students from Benin, currently in UK higher education. In 2019 our first Scholars graduated from their undergraduate courses and are preparing to begin their work as compassionate leaders for Africa. Find out more about how we measure our impact.
Interested in joining us empower young people to change their communities? We’d love to hear from you.