PRETORIA, February 9, 2012 -- Seven African women received top honors and scholarship awards today, thanks to the Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund (MMMF). The scholarships will enable the awardees to pursue or continue advanced studies at masters and doctoral levels at the University of Pretoria and University of Cape Town.
Ruth Kagia, World Bank country director for South Africa, awarded each winner with the scholarship at the World Bank office in Pretoria. She congratulated each of them on their achievements and urged them to apply their “energies to bettering the lives of African women.”
“Education is a proven best investment for building human capital and improving the well-being of people, especially women and children,” Kagia said.
Scholarship winner Makondo Miyoba Kabinga of Zambia, agrees.
“It’s a privilege to receive the MMMF scholarship award from the World Bank,” she said. “The knowledge and experiences gained will be invaluable, both for professional advancement when I return to the Zambian Ministry of Health, and for the greater cause of improving the lives of Zambian women.”
The winners are pursuing research in a diverse range of fields such as anthropology, biochemistry, communications and computer integrated education, public policy, and rural and social development.
- Boipelo Freude, Botswana
- Chewachong Patience Meninkele Epouse Akih, Cameroon
- Makondo Miyoba Kabinga, Zambia
- Sandra Sherila Jatoonah, Mauritius
- Taatsu Petrina Kapewangolo, Namibia
- Vuledzani Ndanganeni, South Africa
- Kefiloe Sello, Lesotho
At the ceremony, the awardees described in vivid detail the individual circumstances that led them to choose their field of study, how research in their particular area matters for Africa’s development. They also spoke about the challenges they had to overcome in their personal and professional lives. Overall, each winner’s story was one of commitment, fortitude and willingness to confront adversity and emerge a winner.
Elna van Greuning, a member of the MMMF Board of Directors welcomed the awardees and spoke about the Fund’s work in providing grants to women from developing countries to help further their education and strengthen their leadership skills to improve the lives of women and children in developing countries. Speaking on behalf of the volunteers who screen applications and ensure the smooth functioning of the Fund’s work, Patrick Kabuya addressed the winners and spoke about the myriad ways, large and small, that individuals can positively impact other people’s lives. Melanie Jaya, co-chair of the Selection Committee proposed a vote of thanks and encouraged the winners to join the MMMF alumni network.
The Fund, founded in 1981, honors the memory of the late Margaret McNamara, wife of late World Bank President Robert S. McNamara. It was established to support her goal of educating women in developing countries and strengthening their leadership skills, empowering them to go back to their countries and improve the lives of women and children there.