We celebrated the First Annual Meeting of the Learn Africa Program at UNED Pontevedra

The First Annual Meeting of the Learn Africa Program was held on Wednesday, June 12th at UNED, Pontevedra, a university that has supported this cooperation on the program since its inception. The event was attended by María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, President of Women for Africa Foundation; the Rector of UNED, Ricardo Mairal Usón; the President of the Pontevedra Provincial Council, Luís López; the Secretary General of Universities of the Xunta, José Alberto Díez de Castro; and the director of UNED in Pontevedra, Victor M. González Sánchez.

The main aim of this event was to reunite all the beneficiaries of the Learn Africa scholarships currently in Spain so they could get to know each other, establish institutional contacts, and interact with the Women for Africa Foundation and the collaborating universities. Representatives from institutional partners who collaborate with the foundation, African ambassadors, and rectors from participating universities also attended. This event was an opportunity to celebrate a decade of university cooperation with Africa, which has enabled more than a thousand African students to pursue postgraduate studies and complementary training courses at some of the best universities in Spain.

One of the most emotional moments of the day was when the Learn Africa program beneficiaries took the stage to share their experiences. Many highlighted that this initiative has allowed them to realize a dream and that they now feel part of a community aspiring to a better world. They emphasized that this experience encourages them to believe in the possibilities that hard work and perseverance offer, thanks to the efforts of the Foundation.

During the event, the Foundation´s General Director, Teresa Langle de Paz, presented the RED Learn Africa project to the collaborating universities. The specific objectives of the project are to promote interaction between institutions and beneficiaries, generate international debate spaces on best practices and the role of higher education in advancing Agenda 2030/ODS5, foster academic collaborations with African universities to enhance superior education of youth women, and facilitate their integration into the development processes of their countries. Additionally, it aims to establish links with other universities or foreign university networks committed to equality and international cooperation in Africa to develop regional strategies and to promote Spanish language as an instrument for professional promotion and personal development, making Spain a destination for higher education of young African women.

Furthermore, a round table was held on various topics related to the challenges of university cooperation. Participants included Susana Reboreda Morillo, Vice-Rector University Extension at the University of Vigo; Laura Alba Juez, Vice- Rector of Internationalization and Multilingualism at UNED, José María Mella, Emeritous Professor at UAM and Director of the AMENET Network of Africa-Spain universities; Bolanle O. Oboh, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos; Ndeye Coumba Touré Kane, Rector of USSEIN University; Ali Azdimousa, Dean of the Multidisciplinary Faculty of Nador; moderated by Ainhoa Marín, Program Coordinator at the Women for Africa Foundation.


About the Learn Africa Program

Launched in 2013, Learn Africa has become one of the main projects of the Women for Africa Foundation. It is a postgraduate scholarship program for African students and researchers at Spanish universities, aimed at fostering knowledge transfer and empowering young women from the African continent.

Although it began its journey with only 2 scholarships in 2013, the Learn Africa program has continuously increased its scholarship offerings each year, reaching 76 scholarships in the latest 2024 call. The total number of scholarships awarded to date under the program is 377.

With the sponsorship of the Department of Economy, Knowledge, and Employment of the Government of the Canary Islands, in 2020 we launched Learn Africa Canarias, an online scholarship program aimed at providing additional training opportunities to African women enrolled in university or those who have already completed undergraduate or postgraduate studies. Since its launch, 946 women from 44 African countries have been able to enroll in one or more of the online courses offered through the 1,300 scholarships provided under the program to date.

Thus, between the two branches of the program, more than 1,650 scholarships have been awarded in various master’s programs, doctoral programs, research stays, expert titles, and other short complementary courses of a university, technical, or language nature.

Similarly, the number of academic institutions affiliated with the program has continued to grow, and today, Learn Africa has a network of 50 Spanish universities and business schools (both public and private), as well as a dozen public and private funders.

The ultimate goal of the program is that, after completing their training, the young women will apply what they have learned to benefit their communities, thus contributing to the development of African societies.

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