The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program Learning Partnership

2012-2017
Prepared for
The MasterCard Foundation
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Mathematica is designing and implementing a monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) framework for The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program. The program's ultimate goal is to engender social transformation by developing young leaders who will use their education and human capital skills to contribute to the economic growth and social development in their home communities or countries. This innovative program employs a comprehensive approach to the development of leaders through scholarships and educational support activities that combine five areas: (1) secondary and/or university education, (2) 21st-century skill building, (3) transition and employment support, (4) a give-back component, and (5) a scholars and alumni network.

The program targets economically disadvantaged youth who are academically bright and show strong leadership potential. It includes a large number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and university partners. At the secondary level, the program is being implemented by NGOs in Africa (currently in Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Uganda), while at the university level, the program is being implemented by a number of universities including those in North America, Costa Rica, Lebanon, and Africa.

One of the project's goals is to understand the impacts of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program in improving educational attainment and career opportunities and fostering commitment to social betterment of their countries. We will start by creating a MEL results framework design and identifying key learning questions for the overall program. Our evaluation will include a mixed-methods approach involving quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. We will also facilitate convening to harmonize MEL activities of implementing partners and share lessons learned.

The project will document how implementing partners are using The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program grant funding to support their scholarship, student support, and internship programs; the successes they achieve as well as the challenges they face; and how they address these challenges. The project will also document the program targets and outcomes achieved by the implementing partners and the extent to which The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is meeting its overall goals. The project will examine the impact or incremental value added in improving outcomes for youth and understanding the extent to which they give back to their countries, over and above what would have happened in the absence of the program.

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