MBA Door Opens for Zambian Women Through New Scottish Scholarship

Photo by Adam Wilson

The Scottish Government and Heriot-Watt University announced an expansion of their partnership on Monday, unveiling a new initiative that will provide 30 fully-funded MBA scholarships for women in Zambia.

The scholarships, funded by the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund, will allow Zambian women to pursue a Master of Business Administration degree through distance learning with Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh Business School starting in March 2024.

The announcement comes just ahead of a roundtable meeting between the Scottish and Zambian governments at Heriot-Watt’s Dubai Climate Hub during the COP28 climate conference in the United Arab Emirates.

“The Scottish Government is committed to tackling poverty, injustice and inequality around the world,” said Màiri McAllan, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition, in a statement. “Initiatives like this illustrate what that means in practice.”

McAllan emphasized the flexibility of the online scholarships, which allow students to continue working and caring for family while studying. She also framed the program as part of Scotland’s effort to make amends for its role in climate change as an industrialized nation.

“As a country that has long benefitted from the industrialisation that has driven the current climate crisis, it is only right that Scotland contributes its fair share to support countries that have been unequally impacted,” she said.

The program builds on an earlier collaboration between Heriot-Watt and the Scottish government that provided similar scholarships to Zambian women.

Heriot-Watt President and Vice-Chancellor Richard A. Williams heralded the news as an opportunity to expand access to world-class business education. “We very much look forward to welcoming the scholars to our community of students from around the world,” he said.

In Zambia, government leaders also praised the program as a boost for women’s empowerment and leadership development.

“Thirty Zambian women will now have the chance to study for a world-class MBA thanks to today’s announcement,” said Mainga Kabika, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President’s Gender Division.

Kabika positioned the scholarships as part of Zambia’s broader efforts to enhance women’s rights, including a recent push to provide free education for girls.

The deadline to apply is January 31, 2024. The Scottish government said preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate financial need or a commitment to advancing gender equality in their communities.

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