Rwandans benefit from IITA Women’s Group scholarship for the first time
The IITA Women’s Group has awarded scholarships to 14 Rwandan students in its annual scholarship initiative, which reached Rwanda for the first time since inception. The award ceremony was held in February 2020 in Kamonyi District, southern Rwanda.
The award scheme is designed to assist IITA junior national staff in sponsoring their children for an academic session. Eligible students must not be above 21 years old. Since IITA Rwanda junior staff did not have children in that age range, the eligibility was extended to children in districts that partner with IITA. Kamonyi District was selected as it hosts many IITA activities.
Twenty-six Rwandan children competed, and 14 passed the test and were awarded prize money and certificates. Among the 14, two students who scored 70% and above got full scholarships and the other 12 who scored over 50%, but less than 70%, got half scholarships.
Munyaneza Denis, who scored 83% and received $50 on top of the $250 scholarship award, wrote a thank-you note to IITA commending IITA Women’s Group for motivating and financially supporting Rwandan students. He said that the scholarship is a success enabler. “The award you gave us motivated me, and I promise you that I will work hard and succeed,” Denis said.
Students from Rwanda performed well in tests of mathematics, English, and essay writing, while general aptitude results indicated that more effort is needed to improve performance.
Nurturing future scientists
The IITA Women’s Group perceives its scholarship initiative not only as a way of promoting equality and supporting junior staff but also as an opportunity to nurture future scientists through motivation and financial support of young children.
“As a research institution, we know that future researchers come from children who go to school, so it is important to promote education to encourage the development of future scientists, not only for IITA but also for the entire society,” says Speciose Kantengwa, Technical and Partnerships Officer at IITA Rwanda.
Students qualify for the annual grant through a competitive written exam and an oral interview done throughout IITA stations. Junior-Secondary students who score 70% win US$250, Senior-Secondary laureates win US$300, and Post-Secondary winners get US$350.