On July 25th, the Yale Young African Scholars (YYAS) program kicks off its seventh year of programming for African high school students. Sessions are typically held in-person in Ghana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, but are moving online for the 2020 sessions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
YYAS is a high-intensity academic enrichment and leadership program that brings together outstanding secondary school students from across Africa. Students are exposed to the rigorous university admission and financial aid processes, attend college-style seminars led by Yale University graduate and undergraduate students, and build a network of peers from across the continent. New to the 2020 sessions, participants will attend a career guidance seminar and take a career aptitude test to discover their strengths and potential career paths.
The live sessions will take place from July 25th to July 28th, 2020 and be held virtually via Zoom, a free communication and video conferencing software. To supplement the sessions this year, students are currently accessing a curated curriculum of pre-recorded content including leadership lessons provided by Africa Matters Initiative and a new mental health component supported by Africa’s Mental Health Matters. By combining pre-recorded videos and live sessions, YYAS 2020 participants will receive the same program components, and more, as students in the residential programs of years past.
This year, as a result of the new virtual model, YYAS is able to increase its reach and extend 400 offers of admission to students across Africa. All admitted YYAS participants are between the ages of 14-18 and currently attend high school on the African continent. The 2020 cohort includes students from more than 280 different secondary schools in 39 African countries.
Thanks to the generous support of the Higherlife Foundation, the YYAS program remains free of cost for all participants. New this year, in order to increase accessibility, YYAS has partnered with MTN Rwanda, MTN Ghana, MTN Eswatini, Econet Zimbabwe, and Econet Lesotho to provide internet data support to YYAS participants in their respective countries.
Following the virtual YYAS sessions, new alumni will have the opportunity to receive mentorship through the online YYAS Mentorship Program or one of YYAS’ local partner organizations including Ahaspora in Ghana, Akili Dada in Kenya, and Education Matters in Zimbabwe. These mentorship programs are designed to help students refine their essays and applications as they apply to universities and gap year programs across the world.
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