Zawadi was inspired by the Kennedy airlifts in pre-independence Africa, that enabled talented Africans to study in the United States in the 1960’s, and then return to Africa as the first generation of African leaders. Over 70% of • Over 1000 Africans from 5 countries were educated in the US through this program, including Prof Wangari Mathaai, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Barack Obama Sr • However only 15% of the beneficiaries were women, only a handful went on to become leaders.
The ZawadiAfrica Education Fund is a program designed to provide scholarships to academically
gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds from Africa to pursue higher education in the US.
Zawadi Africa was founded in 2002, and enrolled its first students in Fall 2003, with 2 students at Xavier University and 1 student at Miami University in Ohio.To date, the Program has enrolled over 170 students in over 60 participating universities.The program approaches Colleges and Universities for scholarships, and works with donors to raise the funds to cover transportation of the students to and from Kenya. Students work on campus to pay for their own incidentals, making the program extremely self sufficient.
The vision is for the students to return to Africa, to provide a base of educated African women
leaders, to help spread female leadership beyond the privileged classes and the urban areas.