We work with partners at each step of the journey from school to university to entering employment to ensure the best chance of success for the girls and women we work with. We believe in the value of university education and its ability to change lives.
At school… Through partnerships with secondary schools and organisations in Malawi, we work together to support and encourage girls to access university education. We work with seven partner secondary schools, which can nominate potential Soko Scholarship candidates. We also promote the benefits of university education across a wider school network with talks from Soko graduates and we are developing a mentoring programme for school students supported by Soko graduates. Read more...
At university… Soko provides scholarships to women from disadvantaged communities in Malawi to study vocational degrees at one of Malawi’s four public universities (University of Malawi, Mzuzu University, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Malawi University of Science and Technology).
Each Soko Scholarship covers the full cost of tuition and a small allowance, which the students can use for accommodation and/or study materials. Scholarship candidates are nominated by partner universities and recipients are selected based on proven need and academic potential. Scholarships are reviewed annually. Students must successfully complete the current year to the satisfaction of the university for their scholarship to be renewed.
The number of awards is determined by the amount of money available each year, together with estimates of future income. This involves careful planning due to exchange rate fluctuations, which can be significant, and unpredictable annual increases to university fees. It is Soko’s policy that all scholarship holders who complete each year successfully will be supported until graduation. And beyond… The Soko Graduate Association (SGA) was launched in 2017 in response to the need for support to help graduates secure employment following graduation. Managed by Soko graduate Winnie Mkandawire, SGA provides:
Online Job Centre and peer support network: Graduates can access and share information about job opportunities online, including sharing advice and support.
Workshops to build knowledge and skills, including on interview strategies and applications.
Internships to enable graduates to gain work experience. In SGA’s first year, six internships were set up with First Aid Africa, TAPP (an agricultural NGO), Lilongwe international library, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority and Malawi Music Fund. Two graduates have recently been offered employment at the organisations where they completed their internships. We welcome enquiries from any organisations looking for skilled, hard-working interns.
Our principles and values
Recognising the essential need for women to fill roles of high-level skills, qualifications and leadership to ensure the long-term development of Malawi and of gender equality within the country.
Promoting the value of higher education as a means for personal and community development.
Working with the educational institutions of Malawi, rather than the private sector, to invest in the future of the country.
Reducing economic barriers for women identified as being the most in need.
Investing in the skills that are most needed for the development of Malawi (e.g. education, health, agricultural science, etc.).
Working closely with partners and Soko students and graduates to ensure that they drive the direction of activities, both short and long-term.
Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all involved is a priority at all times.