This year, 19 scholars from different fields in Rwanda secured the Chevening scholarships to go to study in the United Kingdom (UK).
This is the biggest number of students to get scholarships under the UK academic cooperation programme in the 20-year history of Chevening.
The students will pursue master’s degrees in different fields, ranging from engineering, gender studies, and medicine to economics, law, public health, as well as energy and media studies, among others.
They will go to different universities in the UK, including globally Manchester University, Lancaster, Cardiff, among others
According to the British High Commissioner to Rwanda, Jo Lomas, this year is the biggest cohort globally with 1700 scholars having been selected to be part of the programme.
“There is been an increase, particularly in Africa. When the former Prime Minister made a visit to the several African States, that was one of the announcements made,” she said in an interview with The New Times on Thursday.
The main reason, she added, is to support development in Africa.
All the scholars have to commit to coming back to serve in their countries for two years and to commit to using that master’s degree to support those countries’ development.
The High Commissioner said they were looking at people who are going to be future leaders in the fields they are being trained in.
“We want them to see ministers, judges, and people in civil society, basically movers and shakers,” she says.
Celeste Dushime, one of this year’s Rwandan scholars believes attending studies at the UK University will equip her with the knowledge to contribute to what she says is a needed change in women’s rights.
“We have incredibly smart women and we are represented in many places but there more other women especially in villages who are exposed to sexual violence, who are impregnated at an early age. When I think of my masters, I want to focus on sexual violence, “she said.
Dushime is going to do a masters degree in general sexuality studies at the School of Oriental & African Studies (University of London).
This year, Bank of Kigali is supporting a scholar for the next three years to study finance and business development.
Over the last 20 years, Rwandan scholars have been benefitting from the Chevening. There are over 90 alumni so far.
Brekmans Bahizi, one of the earliest beneficiaries of the programme told The New Times that they have formed an association to bring together all the alumni to network and pursue activities that of importance to the country.