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.