Three years ago, Gede Foundation’s Calabar Office was contracted by Lafarge Africa Plc (UniCem - United Cement) to manage its scholarship programme. The contract entailed paying yearly bursaries (which are provided by UniCem) to selected tertiary students from communities where UniCem operates. Over these three years, Gede was charged with mobilizing, mentoring, assessing academic performances of all awardees (both in secondary and tertiary institutions) and feeding back to both awardees’ communities and UniCem. In the first two years, over 20 tertiary and 130 secondary students were awarded bursaries (including books and fees/levies).
The scholarship programme also included Community Health Outreach(CHO) which is a special communityprogramme designed by Gede Foundation to involve the tertiary beneficiaries to reach out to young children within their communities with information on drugs and substance abuse, sanitation and life basic skills. One of the pioneer tertiary beneficiaries who has graduated and is currently engaged by STRINGS LTD to work with Lafagre Africa Plc (UniCem) shares his success story-
“My name is Believe Francis. I hail from Abiati village, one of the ten communities where Lafarge Africa Plc operates from in Akampa Local Government Area. I am a graduate of Economics from the University of Calabar, Calabar. The scholarship award was a big assistance and financial relief to me and my family as we had faced a number of challenges. I was very focused on my education but there were financial burdens. Therefore, the scholarship programme really relieved the burden that was upon my family.
Interestingly, the scholarship programme is teaching me me how to “give back” and this has been made easy through the community health outreaches and the mentorship from Gede Foundation. I am learning life skills, responsibility and time management. I am also learning how to be an innovative thinker and this has helped me in my current work with the company, I am very grateful to UniCem and Gede Foundation for their support”
The number of Scholarship recipients for 2015/2016 is 20 and they will be involved in community health outreach.
Watch out as events unfold with the new set of awardees.