The Zawadi Africa Education Fund is a program designed to provide undergraduate scholarships to academically gifted girls/ women from disadvantaged backgrounds from Africa to pursue higher education in the US. Google encourages African women through the program to pursue careers in computer science as part of it’s ongoing support of education in Africa and commitment to diversifying it’s engineering talent pool. In 2009, Google partnered with the Zawadi Africa Educational Fund to grant five Kenyan women full undergraduate scholarships to complete degrees in computer science, computer engineering and/or ICT.
Selection criteria includes excellent academics, extracurricular involvement, leadership potential and financial need.
The Zawadi Africa Education Fund is based on the highly successful Kennedy/Mboya Student airlifts of the 1960’s, through a partnership with individuals and institutions with an interest in creating leadership opportunities for girls/women in Africa. US colleges and universities provided full scholarships, while the program sponsors paid for airfare and student upkeep. Over 80% of East Africa’s immediate post-independence leaders were graduates of the student airlift program, including Kenya’s Professor Leah Marangu the Vice Chancellor Nazarene University, Professor Wangari Mathaai, Africa’s first Nobel Peace prize Laureate, and Barrack Obama Sr., father of Senator Barrack Obama of Illinois, to name a few.
Although the program included women, the post-independence move to self- actualization largely bypassed the women of the region.
In 2002, Dr. Susan Mboya, daughter of Tom Mboya, created the Zawadi Africa Education Program to help young African women obtain a college education. The program pairs US universities with talented but needy young women from East Africa.
To date, there are said to be a total of 55 undergraduate students enrolled at top universities in the US including Yale University, Xavier University and Smith College.
The students in the program have an average GPA of 3.70. This is made even more impressive by the fact that the students are all required to be partners in this initiative, by holding down on- campus jobs to pay for books and incidentals. On average, the program pays for less than 10% of the total cost of a 4-year education, with the balance funded by merit based college grants and scholarships.
To find more about the Zawadi Africa, it’s current and future scholarship opportunities, please visit
Zawadi Africa Education Fund