AUN Alum Kenechukwu Wins Derek Cooper Scholarship to Cambridge

Ms. Kenechukwu Nwagbo, class of 2016, was among the thousands of Africans from more than five countries who submitted applications for the Standard Bank Africa Derek Cooper Award for a full scholarship to the University of Cambridge.

She came out in the top three.  As a result, she will be pursuing an MPhil in Education, Globalization, and International Development at Cambridge.  She credits her work to AUN’s TELA program. 

In 2016, AUN was awarded a USAID grant to educate 22,000 disadvantaged children in Adamawa State using radio as a medium of instruction in reaching rural communities.    “I was tasked with the responsibility of assisting with three undergraduate classes and conducting action research on the USAID-funded TELA project.”

Ms. Nwagbo, the Best Graduating Student in International & Comparative Politics said,  “Six months into my internship, I had helped to produce over 30 educational radio shows, broadcast to 22,000 internally displaced and other vulnerable children in Yola.  These radio shows taught English and Math through drama and folk songs.”

With a flair for literature, Ms. Nwagbo worked with students in a Community Development course to develop the main characters Mallam Nuhu and Mallama Rasheeda who voiced the subjects for the radio show.

Towards the end of the TELA project, Ms. Nwagbo organized a special live performance of the radio show for about 500 children who had been listening to the show for the past few months.  Incorporating dance, drama, and music, they staged a play, bringing each character from the radio show to life.

This was the beginning of a journey for her into development education.  "The play was an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.  Seeing the children's faces light up as they came face-to-face with their radio show heroes was amazing."

On that day, it was a wonderful moment for everyone who watched the children excitedly sing along to “Koyo Na Di Dadi” in Hausa, meaning “Learning is fun," a song written by AUN students.  This was a response to the Boko Haram militants (whose name loosely translates to “Western education is forbidden”) who had displaced many of the children who watched the play. The children were laughing and enjoying every minute of the show.

“Through the TELA program, we were winning the ideological war, one child at a time.”

With such projects and many more scholarships (such as the 2011 Shell Petroleum Development Company Scholarship) to her credit, she applied for the Cambridge scholarship.

The Scholarships are awarded annually to three outstanding African students with the aim of enhancing their skills to enable them to contribute to the future growth of their countries.   The scholarships cover the university’s composition fee at the overseas rate, full maintenance grant for a single person, and £2,500 travel and settling-in allowances.


By Nelly Ating

American University of Nigeria
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PMB 2250, Yola
Adamawa State, Nigeria

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