Shading Tree Fund, for field course scholarships, Rift Valley Institute

Something to keep an eye out for… 

The Shading Tree Fund—scholarships for Eastern and Central Africa

The RVI scholarship fund is relaunched this month as the RVI Shading Tree Fund. This follows a generous donation from the family of Ranald Boyle, a former District Commissioner in South Sudan.

Since the Institute was founded, the scholarship fund has enabled young scholars and activists from Eastern and Central Africa to participate in RVI annual field courses and attend classes at universities in the region. Over thirty such scholars have participated in the Sudan and South Sudan Course, the Horn of Africa Course or the Great Lakes Course.

Some former scholarship students have gone on to teach on RVI courses, and many have achieved success in their respective fields in academia, civil society and the media.

One student wrote: ‘I feel privileged to have participated in the RVI Horn of Africa Course. I benefited from the program in many ways. It helped me understand the sub-region as I pursue my own research and provided the opportunity for personal interaction with distinguished professors.

To date, RVI scholarships have been funded through a combination of grants, gifts, income from hard-copy sales of Institute publications and RVI’s own funds.

The fund recently received a donation from the Shading Tree Trust, established by the family of Ranald Boyle in memory of his lifelong commitment to southern Sudan, where he worked as a District Commissioner in the 1940s and 1950s. Taking its name from the translation of Ranald Boyle’s Dinka cattle name, Timatiep, the Shading Tree provided funds to support a range of projects in Bahr el-Ghazal.

In recognition of this donation the RVI scholarship programme has been renamed the Shading Tree Fund. The new fund will provide educational support to students and activists from all the regions where RVI works, including South Sudan, and will continue to raise further funds for this purpose.

Event: Multi-party Democracy and Political Mobilisation in Kenya – the View from Political Anthropology (Tues 24 Jan 11am), BIEA (free)

Multi-party Democracy and Political Mobilisation in Kenya – the View from Political Anthropology
24 January 2017, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Nairobi: British Institute in Eastern Africa, Laikipia Road, Kileleshwa, Nairobi
Link to website with all these same details

For the last two decades, and increasingly so since the 2007-8 post-election violence, scholarship on Kenyan politics has largely dedicated itself to explaining the phenomenon of what John Lonsdale has called ‘political tribalism’ – the mobilisation of ethnic identities in political competition. For some scholars, ethnicity in this politicised manifestation seems utterly opposed to the workings of a democracy as it ought to be, itself contingent upon an arena of debate in which other kinds of political affiliations, such as class-consciousness, can come to the fore. But whilst providing a central concern for scholars, when it comes to mainstream political discourse what democracy stands for is hardly a self-evident. How, for instance, should an anthropologist treat calls for democracy voiced by Luo supporters of Raila Odinga? This paper draws upon ethnographic data on the discourse of down-town political debates in Nairobi to reflect on the multivalent properties of democracy, and its use as a receptacle for a range of political sentiments. This data provides an opportunity to reflect on the capacity of authority figures to animate groups of opposition party supporters through oratory performances that frequently deploy concepts such as ‘democracy’, concepts that convince precisely because of their ‘open’ capacity to encompass a range of sentiments and experiences. Ultimately, this paper finds a role for a Durkheimian perspective on authority in the analysis of Kenyan politics. Pete Lockwood is a PhD student in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program

(from this link)

What is the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program?

The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) is a scholar fellowship program for educational projects at African higher education institutions. Offered by IIE in partnership with the United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa), the program is funded by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY). In the first two years of the program, the CADFP supported 110 short-term faculty fellowships for African-born academics. In October 2015, additional funding was secured from CCNY to support up to 140 fellowships. The program exemplifies CCNY’s enduring commitment to higher education in Africa. IIE manages and administers the program, including applications, project requests and fellowships. USIU-Africa provides strategic direction through Dr. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza and an Advisory Council he chairs.

Learn more about the program

Who can participate?

African-born academics currently living in the United States and Canada and working in higher education. Fellows will engage in educational projects proposed and hosted by faculty of public or private higher education institutions in the following CCNY partner countries: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

Learn how to apply

Call for Project Requests/Scholar Applications

The CADFP is always accepting applications for the scholar roster. The portal for Project Requests from potential host institutions will be open until December 8, 2016, 11:59 PM EST.

Call for Junior Researchers: Strengthening leadership & influence of women in politics (Rift Valley Institute)

Call for Junior Researchers: Strengthening the leadership and influence of women in politics in Kenya

Application deadline 25 September

The Rift Valley Institute seeks 3 current or recent MA, MSc, or PhD graduates to
conduct 11 weeks of field research from 10 October to 23 December 2016.

Project leaders are a team of Kenyan and US academics and activists working on
a research project funded by the East Africa Research Fund (EARF) on behalf of
the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID). The main objective of the study is to map the representation of women in the Government of Kenya following the enactment of the 2010 Constitution and introduction of the two third gender rule; and test the hypothesis that increased representation of women in government has a positive influence on human and economic development outcomes at both county and national levels in Kenya.

Researchers will be paid a stipend and all expenses will be covered upon participation in the team process, meeting reporting deadlines, and justification of expenses…

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University Application Support for scholars from Mathare (by 31 July)

(Trying to find out more about this one, so take with grain of salt…)

Call for Applications

Are you a bright but needy scholar from Mathare striving for a Master’s Degree, possibly abroad – but you don’t really know where to start? Get one-on-one coaching with experienced mentors who can guide you through the application process.


Through the University Application Support Program we are looking for talented and committed scholars from Mathare who are striving for a Master’s Degree.

There are a number of universities around the world that provide scholarship opportunities, yet finding them and mastering the application process is often a challenging task…

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Academic Seminar on Civil Resistance: Study of Nonviolent Power & Organised People

Call for applicants:

Civil Resistance: The Study of Nonviolent Power and Organised People

20 – 23 September 2016, Nairobi
Facilitated by ICNC, hosted by Hekima Peace Institute, with Pawa Initiative

Apply ASAP. Rolling admissions until filled. Space is quite limited, so applicants should state their interest and relevance clearly. Global curriculum. Full four-day participation required.

Full details at and pasted below.

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Tips from US Embassy advisor (Mastercard Scholars: free university!)

Here are some tips we posted to social media from the info session we held, as described in this post back in October. We also posted full programme details in this earlier post.

October 13 2015 Posts from @kenyanikwetu

Free top universities? Mastercard Scholars Program offers 15,000 scholarships. Info session @Pawa254 4pm sharp!

Info session with Faith of the @USEmbassyKenya and Mastercard Scholar Job cc @mcfoundation Scholars


  • Get the experience, and no employer will say no to you. The opportunities are there. ~ Faith
  • “All I needed was the internet.” Do you meet the criteria? Do you have the skills we’re looking for? ~ Faith’s personal story.
  • Who are you, academically? What are the things you enjoy? You need to find that out. ~ Faith
  • “I got As, sure, but I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do.” ~ Joel, @Harvard class of ‘17 Kenyan and @mcfoundation scholar!
  • Build your confidence: Write a profile of yourself. Any achievement you think you’ve ever done, however small it is.
  • Think if the school is a good fit for you… not even if you are a good fit for the school.
  • Do a LOT of research about the school you are applying to.
  • When there are many subjects and you have to choose one, it’s a problem. You have to figure out more about yourself.

Application process tips:

  • It’s hard to write about yourself. Admissions committees will sit around to examine, how do you critically analyse yourself?
  • Essays aren’t as simple as the prompts. They’re analyzing all your abilities from your essays. Tell your story. Sell yourself.
  • Letters of recommendation can be a challenge here in Kenya. They are looking for someone who can really endorse you & your skills.
  • Do you have skills? Can you sing? What do you have that is a talent that maybe that school is seeking?
  • What are you doing – and going to do – for your community? Answer that.
  • Are you that person who is able to complete your application fully, with all pieces and elements?

Getting university paid for:

  • How much does it cost? It will cost 1.5 million KES per year to study in the US. @mcfoundation #scholars programme helps you by paying for that. Travel, laptop, monthly stipend, etc, @mcfoundation #scholars will pay.
  • Stop praying for school fees. There is money. APPLY. Use that money, or it will go to waste. These universities have extra money to bring you, not even just the this programme. Each school has its own pot of money.
  • When I talk about need & merit, I mean, you are an A student who can’t afford the fees. You need to be competitive.
  • Is it too good to be true? We have Job right in front of us who’s attending @Harvard. @mcfoundation #scholars program. He didn’t get into other schools he applied to, but he got into Harvard!
  • Hard work + luck = SUCCESS. How badly do you want it? If you want it, you can GET it. @mcfoundation #scholars info session.
  • What is the way forward? Applications begin Oct 1. Deadlines Nov, Dec, Jan. August to January is prime time.
  • Worried about the costs of applying? You can request a waiver of the application fees. Write directly to the university.
  • You need to have good transcripts and strong KCSEs, as well as good SATs, to apply.
  • What about the SAT exam fees? There is some possibility of getting waivers, if you are a strong student otherwise.
  • To reach Faith & her team:
    • Email Faith at
    • Facebook EducationUSA-Nairobi Advising Center
    • The Centre is inside the US Embassy but open to the public.
    • It has set office hours, so visit the website for details!