Paving highways to the future
CLEF - the gateway to dreams
Africa Foundation’s Community Leader’s Education Fund (CLEF) tertiary education bursary programme is not only a gateway to the dreams of young leaders within rural communities, it is also an initiative that brings value to generation on generation.
Operating since 1996, the CLEF programme provides bursaries along with psycho-social support to rural youth from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Kenya. It was born out of recognition by Community Leaders, that to truly break the cycle of poverty in rural Africa, the youth had to access tertiary level education in order to gain the skills to increase their employability. This not only changes the lives of the graduates substantially, but the lives of their immediate and wider family, through the ripple effect felt by income generation within a family.
CLEF benefits from a number of graduates who have become ambassadors for tertiary level education in their communities – returning to their old High Schools to motivate youth to apply for college/university and CLEF. The ambassadors also play a mentorship role with the current CLEF students to support them through the challenges of university life.
The in-roads we have made so far
CLEF Bursaries Issued
How we structure the journey
The success of the CLEF programme lies in the strength of its carefully structured methodology, which includes:
Students participate in the funding
Recipients receive partial funding towards their studies with advice on securing further financial aid e.g. government grants or corporate sponsorships.
Students make their own decisions
CLEF recipients are not restricted to a particular course of study or institution, so choose their own studies in an environment of their choice.
Students incentivised to re-apply
The CLEF bursary provides support for just one year of study and then students must reapply. Their progress is monitored and renewal is dependent on their application to their studies.
Active support throughout the year
To close the gap between the students’ rural background and the urban environment where they study , each student has access to year-long psycho-social support including emergency crisis support, ongoing motivation and counselling.
Graduate awards and support
Graduates have an annual award ceremony and workshop with CLEF Ambassadors – previous graduates who share their experience and advice on post-university steps. During this time, graduates also enrol on a work readiness and CV development course to position them for work-search success.
Mandatory 'Buyisela' or community service
In place financial pay-back, students are give back to their communities during their holidays by doing Community Service projects. This unique element of the programme connects gratitude with generosity: as you have been blessed, so in turn, you become a blessing to others.
A diversity of career paths