Transforming African lives for a second decade

05 Apr 2013 16:47:52.237
As the University of Nottingham’s Developing Solutions scholarship programme enters its second decade, graduates of the scheme continue to make a real impact to the development and prosperity of their home countries.

Aimed at nurturing talent for a global future, the scholarship supports students on a one-year Masters of Science (MSc) programme with development and sustainability at its core. Since its inception in 2001, over 1000 future leaders from developing countries have benefitted from this scholarship, which has enabled the University of Nottingham to invest in the growth of emerging nations through highly skilled individuals.

Shaka Essa from Sierra Leone won a Developing Solutions scholarship in 2007, when he embarked on a masters degree in Electronic Communications and Computer Engineering.
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Shaka graduated with an undergraduate degree in Engineering from the University of Sierra Leone in 1999 and, after having worked with a number of telecoms companies in his native country, then chose to pursue an advanced degree. He specifically wanted to specialise in Electronic Communications and give himself international exposure in order to help rebuild the West African country’s telecommunications infrastructure, after it was ravaged by civil war from 1991-2002.

The resulting economic crisis in Sierra Leone had made it virtually impossible for Shaka to realise his ambitions, until 2007 when he applied to the University of Nottingham’s Developing Solutions scholarship programme and was offered a place on the MSc degree.

The 75% scholarship made it possible for him to study for the degree he needed to improve his knowledge and skills, while gaining a world-class international experience to help prepare him for the challenges ahead.

His hard work paid off and as soon as he had completed his degree, he was quickly recruited by Teltac Africa Ltd, which handles all voice and data traffic in and out of Sierra Leone, where he now works as their Technical Manager.

“My degree proved attractive enough for my present employers who immediately recruited me upon completion of my course in 2008,” Shaka reflects. “My studies at the University of Nottingham have greatly improved my knowledge and skills in the fields of telecommunications, satellite and microwave communications and also advanced computer analysis and these have helped me in my current role.”

Shaka is one of many beneficiaries of the University of Nottingham’s Developing Solutions scholarship programme from across Africa. Other recent award-winners include a Ugandan doctor, whose MSc Public Health is helping raise AIDS awareness in South Sudan and Swaziland, a graduate from MSc Toxicology, who is helping the fight against malaria in Ghana, and an MSc Environmental Engineering alumnus, who is working with the United Nations to help protect the environment in Nigeria.

“The Developing Solutions scholarship provides a lifeline to students with similar backgrounds to mine, who are motivated and able to pursue higher international education but have limited resources to do so,” Shaka added. “I would definitely advocate for its continued influence in advancing education in developing countries and aiding such students to play vital roles in advancing their countries and the world at large.”

This year’s Developing Solutions scholarship deadline is 26 April. Scholarships of 50% and 100% are available to applicants from a range of developing countries who wish to study for a University of Nottingham postgraduate degree in the fields of engineering, medicine and health, science, environment and operations management.

For further details of the scheme and eligibility, visit


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Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Maire Rockley, International Office University of Nottingham at  or Katherine Lakeland, International Media Relations Manager, University of Nottingham on 0115 74 67156 or email
  Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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