MONROVIA – The Cummings Africa Foundation (CAF) has awarded nine fully-funded scholarships to prospective students to pursue tertiary studies in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM), and Agriculture.
Beneficiaries for the 2022-2023 academic year are drawn from Stella Maris Polytechnic University, Starz College of Science and Technology, Smythe Institute of Science and Technology, and the Adventist University of West Africa.
CAF, a not-for-profit organization launched its scholarship program in 2017 and has since provided approximately US$120,000 to more than 100 Students.
In brief remarks at the award ceremony on Wednesday at CAF’s head office, the founder of the foundation, Mr. Alexander B. Cummings said the scholarship is based on merit and is open to every Liberian student irrespective of their gender, political affiliation, cultural and religious beliefs.
“It is the choices that you make that can make a difference. And we want to build a Liberia that is based on merit. The application doesn’t ask whether you are an ANC [Alternative National Congress], CDC [Coalition for Democratic Change), Gio, Gola, Vai, Christian, or Muslim. Those things are not your choice, it is what you do with your life that matters,” Mr. Cummings said.
He said he and his family were delighted to support Liberian students in their education sojourn to be in a better position to contribute to the development of their country and called on them to study hard to stay on the scholarship.
“We want to build Liberia on merit. Liberia will not change because we talk about change or we wish it to change. Liberia will only change because we do the work, make the sacrifice, and apply the effort. That’s the only way we will make this country better for all Liberians. And so you should be very proud of this achievement but it doesn’t end here.”
Continuing, he said, “You got to keep learning every day, you cannot sit on your laurels. You got to keep pushing hard every day. That’s life’s lesson. Success comes if you put God first, do things with integrity, and work at it every day. And if you do those things, nine out of ten times, you will be successful in life.
Also speaking, CAF’s cofounder and wife of Mr. Cummings, Mrs. Theresa Cummings said she and her family were honored to help Liberian students to create opportunities not only for them but for their country as well. She said the scholarship is open to every student across the country, and not only to students based in Montserrado.
Speaking on CAF Scholarship Program, Country Director, Dr. Wede Elliott-Brownell said, “The Cummings Africa Foundation values education and believes that financial constraints should not limit a person from pursuing higher education. As the late Dr. Emmet Dennis, former President of the University of Liberia said on several occasions, ‘Scholarships provide an opportunity to economically- challenge but intellectually rich students.’ This Program focuses on STEM and agriculture disciplines because of the dearth of these graduates in Liberia. Liberia needs more doctors, engineers, scientists, and agriculturalists to meet its development agenda. This Program supports the vision of CAF and we intend to expand it in the future.”
Dr. Brownell said the scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence, potential leadership skills, and demonstrated need. To be awarded the scholarship, students must maintain a “B” average and remain active in their communities.
She noted that the scholarship program has grown significantly since its inception, stating that over the next few years, as the scholarship recipients graduate from college and enter the workforce, CAF expects to see measurable and impactful results.
Explaining the steps in attaining the scholarship, the CAF’s Country Director said it starts with a call for an application published in the local dailies and followed by the review of all applications and shortlisting of candidates.
Thereafter, shortlisted candidates are called in to be interviewed by a team of panelists before the final selections are made.
“We have a question sheet. They look at your appearance, your diction, and your community service.”
She called on the Liberian students to make use of the opportunity and assured them that the Cummings family has committed to ensuring that CAF and its scholarship scheme will stay forever. “There will be an endowment that will be set up to make sure that this continues after they have gone,” she said.
Also speaking, Jeremiah Joshua Kekula, a past recipient and a prospective graduate of Stella Maris Polytechnic University, studying Civil Engineering thanked the foundation for helping him and his colleagues accomplish their dreams.
“The scholarship is challenging, but it is helping a lot. It helps make students realize their dreams. Without the scholarship, most of us wouldn’t have completed our studies. That’s why I want to thank Mr. Cummings and his family for their support through the foundation.”
About Cummings Africa Foundation
The Cummings Africa Foundation (CAF) believes and works from the position that if every person, in every community, is given the right opportunities for better healthcare, better education, and the ability to earn a meaningful income, he or she can reach his or her full potential.
Since its creation in 2015, the Cummings Africa Foundation has invested over US$5 million in implementing education, health, and entrepreneurship programs. The Foundation s programs and initiatives have impacted communities in almost every county in Liberia. CAF remains committed to having a positive impact on the lives of people in as many communities as possible. For more information on CAF, visit http://www.cummingsafricafoundation.org.