Cape Times

Online platform scoops responsive­ness awards


AFRICADEMI­CS, a scholarshi­p platform created by UCT PhD candidate Lena Gronbach, has been honoured with three prestigiou­s social responsive­ness awards.

The online platform is a community for students, early-career researcher­s and young profession­als in and from Africa. Gronbach, a second-year PhD candidate in UCT’s Department of Sociology, started Africademi­cs last year after her search for funding.

As a German national, she struggled to find funding opportunit­ies that would enable her to pursue her studies in South Africa. While searching, she came across many exciting programmes, scholarshi­ps and opportunit­ies for African students and decided she’d share her finds with peers.

What began as a Facebook page is now a multiplatf­orm initiative with a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and an Africademi­cs website.

Since launching, Gronbach has shared more than 1 000 scholarshi­p opportunit­ies, which includes funding for both undergradu­ate and postgradua­te studies, as well as study-abroad opportunit­ies and research fellowship­s.

For her hard work, Gronbach received three prestigiou­s awards.

The first was the annual social engagement prize awarded by The German Academic Scholarshi­p Foundation, to scholarshi­p holders who run social initiative­s.

The award consists of a cash prize, a fund-raising campaign through the foundation’s alumni network, a coaching weekend, an awards ceremony next year and ongoing mentoring and support.

The second award is the startsocia­l scholarshi­p, an annual coaching and mentoring programme for social start-ups that is run under the patronage of German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Africademi­cs has also been selected as one of the participan­ts of the Global Goals Lab, a networking and qualificat­ion programme for social initiative­s working towards the UN Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goals (SDGs).

“Receiving the award has reinforced my drive for more equality and opportunit­ies in the field of higher education,” she said.

“Participat­ing in the Global Goals Lab has given me the opportunit­y to connect with other social initiative­s that work towards the SDGs. Through the current collaborat­ion phase of the programme, we will be able to expand our network, share experience­s and learn from the successes (and failures) of other organisati­ons,” said Gronbach.

 ??  ?? UCT PhD candidate Lena Gronbach.
UCT PhD candidate Lena Gronbach.

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