On the occasion of the 48th Session of the Council Ministers, on 30th November 2022 in Khartoum, the Executive Secretary of the regional organisation, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, was pleased to announce the admission of students at the International University of Africa (IUA) located in Khartoum, Sudan, under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Scholarship Programme. Three students received their letters of admission from the Chair of the IGAD Council of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan, and the Executive Secretary of IGAD in a ceremony to officially welcome some of the first entrants.
The IGAD Scholarship scheme is one of the flagship programmes of IGAD which was conceived during the 100 Days in office of the current Executive Secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, in 2020 under the motto of “Taking IGAD to the People”. The actual scheme was officially launched via a web-based application in December 2021 during the Executive Secretary’s Annual State of the Region Address.
A total of 1,260 applications were received from all IGAD member countries, and all levels of studies, including doctoral programmes. The selection process was lengthy and intense as the majority of applicants expressed interest without accompanying credentials, according to Dr Tadjaden Niam, Director at the International University of Africa (IUA) in Khartoum, Sudan.
“The day the Director of the Health and Social Development Division of IGAD, Ms Fathia Alwan, and her team came to us at the University, we agreed on the importance of providing education to the vulnerable people, particularly the Internally Displaced persons (IDPs), refugees and hosting communities”, he said. Dr Tadjaden recalled the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the International University of Africa (IUA) and IGAD during a conference which brought together institutions of higher learning from the IGAD region at the University of Jijiga in Ethiopia in 2021.
“That is when our University did pledge 200 Scholarships within the framework of the IGAD Scholarship Programme. In fact, we are providing full scholarship to the IGAD Scholarship awardees: accommodation, meals, medical services, education services free of charge”, he revealed. IUA hosts students from 85 countries from around the world, 49 countries of the forum African countries.
Ms Zemam Admasu Ayele, an IGAD Scholarship Awardee among the entrants who were honoured during the ceremony of November 2022, is 20 years old. “I am Ethiopian, and I was born and raised in Sudan”, she said. “My high school educational years were thankfully funded by IOM organisation and after finishing high school in 2020, I couldn’t find a supportive side to continue my studies. I was utterly hopeful when I stumbled on the IGAD scholarship opportunity”, Zeman confided.
The scholarship is giving Zeman the chance to study the field she had 2always wanted and dreamt of”. “It is giving me more ambitions to achieve my plans for the future”. She is planning to study studying Subjects related “human safety and disaster recovery” and work in platforms that “help students continue or complete their education”.
Mr Kamal Tom Modi Ladu is an Awardee residing in Juba, South Sudan. Kamal is admitted to the Faculty of Sharia and Law at the International University of Africa (IUA) located in Khartoum within the IGAD Scholarship Programme. “I thank the Intergovernmental Authority on Development for providing an opportunity to obtain scholarships. In fact, I am very happy to have obtained a scholarship to complete my educational journey after losing hope of completing the educational path”, he said. Born in 1997, Kamal’s hobbies are reading, books, drawing and football.
According to IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, “scholarship is one of the most effective tools of access to inclusive education for young boys and girls from refugee, returnee and underserved host communities”. “Implementing scholarship schemes by regional organisations like IGAD contributes to the attainment of the SDGs, Agenda 2063 and global initiatives on education for displacement affected populations. I therefore wish to encourage Member States as well as development partners to invest in tertiary education and skills development opportunities in the IGAD region where the gap is immense.”
The Health and Social Development Division of IGAD, which is covering the Education programme within the organisation, is in the process to bring the first entrants to the International University of Africa during January 2023.
The Scholarship is an integral part of the Djibouti Declaration on Education for Refugees, Returnees and Host Communities adopted by the IGAD Ministers of Education in December 2017. It intends to ensure inclusive access to quality tertiary education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) through the provision of scholarship opportunities. It is also anchored on a decision of the IGAD Heads of State and Government Summit of March 2017, the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) Agenda 2063, the SDGs, and the Global Compact on Refugees.
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