Folashade Adebayo an award-winning journalist and former staff of The Punch recently launched a web resource that harnesses global and local scholarship opportunities for indigent but brilliant Nigerians and West Africans.
In this piece, she explains the motivation for the project and what she hopes to achieve through www.coursefunds.com
I have been a media entrepreneur for only a few days now but have worked tirelessly, like most entrepreneurs, for some months. I set up www.coursefunds.com as a platform to mentor brilliant but indigent Nigerians and West Africans on how to take advantage of scholarship opportunities that exist within local and foreign universities, faculties and departments. There are countless opportunities in the education sector that are not so popular and even when they are, many brilliant applicants do not know how to put their best foot forward.
The idea to set up a platform came from my one- year experience as an International Postgraduate Student Ambassador at the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom. I spoke with more than 4,000 Nigerians and many others from different parts of the world and had to mentor some of the offer-holders on not just where to find funding opportunities but also how to translate their achievements, professional or academic, into compelling personal statement narratives. Many of the applicants insisted on getting my personal contacts so they could talk to me outside office hours.
This happened almost every day in 2018.
It then struck me that strong personal statements, post-study essays and research proposals are the fulcrum of successful scholarship applications. It also struck me that there are many grey areas around funding opportunities that could be addressed through articles and interviews with scholars. My areas of intervention were taking shape and being a 2017 Chevening Scholar as well as an education/science correspondent adequately prepared me for my present occupation.
Now that is the idea. The operation side has to do with setting up a platform, putting together concise articles and basically building a venture from scratch. That is entrepreneurship. The truth is that while funding opportunities fall within the broader purview of education, there are several other opportunities across beats/desks in which media practitioners could have bigger impact/reach and build their portfolio, learning new things along the line. More journalists are stepping into the arena as social initiatives.
A sustenance model for my platform is still emerging. But I am learning/tackling things I would never have learnt. I believe that as journalists there are more grounds to cover as there are gaps that we might have identified while doing our jobs. These are opportunities to create realistic loops through which we can add value to our careers and the nation.
I look forward to having further personal engagements with my colleagues very soon in my new capacity and once again.
Adebayo Founder/Team Lead at www.coursefunds.com was a 2017 Chevening scholar and a former International Postgraduate Student Ambassador with the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom.
She holds an MSc in International Relations/International Law from the University of Aberdeen.
With over 15-years experience in researching, reporting, writing and editing Adebayo has won many awards for her in-depth stories on the education, health as well as science sectors.
In 2016, Adebayo was a finalist at the coveted CNN/Multichoice African Journalists of the Year award, the most celebrated award platform for journalists of African descent.
Her other awards includes:
2016 Conflict Sensitive Reporter of the Year of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence as well as the 2015 Child-Friendly Reporter of the Year on the same platform.
2014 Science Journalist of the Year on the platform of the Nigerian Academy of Science, among other awards and nominations.