The Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest nation in 2011, following a peaceful secession from Sudan. Since then, the country has struggled with the legacy of more than 50 years of conflict. The statistics are unsettling: less than a third of the adult population is literate; the majority of citizens live in poverty; economic and health indicators are in the bottom quartile of nations; and the country has very little infrastructure. On-going fighting, hyper-inflation, and emerging famine have made life very difficult for most South Sudanese. Beginning in 2017, the VAD Foundation helps South Sudanese high school graduates pursue post-secondary education in the following ways: 

1. MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

The MasterCard Foundation believes that all young people, no matter their starting point in life, should have an equal chance to obtain a quality education and pursue their aspirations. The vision of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program (MCFSP) is to develop a group of next-generation leaders who will contribute to the economic and social transformation of the African continent. This is a global initiative to educate and develop the leadership capabilities of 15,000 young people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa – students who are bright, academically talented, and demonstrate a commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.

The African Leadership Academy, on behalf of the MCF, establishes relationships with recruitment organizations such as the Marial Bai Secondary School to nominate low-income, high-achieving sub-Saharan African students as applicants. Following the nomination, the MCFSP selection committee undertakes a rigorous selection process that includes an analysis of previous academic performance, written applications, recommendations, and interviews. The committee then matches selected Scholars to university partners that best fit their academic, personal, and professional goals. 

For the 2018 incoming freshman year, the VAD Foundation will nominate up to 20 talented South Sudanese high school graduates, of which 4-6 will be selected by MCSFP selection committee and matched with the following university partners:

Africa University, Zimbabwe
African Leadership University, Mauritius
Agnes Scott College, U.S.
Jacobs University, Germany
Marist College, U.S.
Quest University, Canada
Trinity College, U.S.
United States International University, Kenya
University of Rochester, U.S.
West Virginia University, U.S.
Westminster College, U.S.

Nominations will occur between June 30, 2017 and August 1, 2017 for the 2018 fall academic year. If you would like to nominate a MBSS alumnus who graduated in the past two years (2015 or 2016), please contact to request information.


In order to build a cadre of leaders to rectify this situation, the VAD Foundation has created a program that will run for approximately 25 years and will cover the annual costs of a Professor of Public Leadership, 40 undergraduate scholarships (Public Service Scholars) and 10 graduate scholarships (Public Service Fellows). 

Selection for both the scholarships and professorships will be competitive, involving an in-depth application and interview process. Only candidates with a demonstrated commitment to public service will be considered. 

This university-level Public Service Scholars program will enable our high-achieving Marial Bai Secondary School graduates to enroll in a four-year university program at the University of Juba or a three-year medical diploma program at Aweil Health Sciences Institute. Two of the Public Service Scholars will be dedicated to talented, visually impaired students who are already enrolled in an undergraduate program at the University of Juba. The Public Service Fellows program will enable government, NGO and private sector professionals to study at the School of Public Service (SPS) and will focus on building robust leadership and management skills. The Professor of Public Leadership will coordinate enrichment programs benefiting the Scholars and Fellows: 

 • Transformative Leadership - Day-long workshops will focus on developing a range of leadership competencies among our public service leader scholars. 

• Transitions to Employment - To enable transitions to employment, SPS will support scholars with a Careers Network and the support needed early on in their studies to apply for internships and jobs in South Sudan and Africa.

• Scholars and Fellows Community - The Scholars and Fellows Community will develop and maintain connections, contribute to a sense of belonging and shared passion for the continent and enable Scholars to fulfill their give-back aspirations. SPS will eventually develop online and in-person opportunities to strengthen the community of Scholars and Fellows, both during and beyond their education at the University of Juba.

The VAD Foundation will act as fiscal sponsor to a joint endowment with the University of Juba and the Aweil Health Sciences Institute, called the Endowment for Public Service Leadership, enabling donors to give with a long-lasting impact.  Donors contribute directly to the Endowment for Public Service. These funds will be responsibly invested through a Barron's Top 100 Independent Financial Adviser. Oversight will be conducted by the VAD Foundation and a Board of Advisers from the three organizations. All donations to the joint endowment are tax-deductible. 

Like all endowments, the original grant, will be invested. Each year, interest earned from the endowment will be withdrawn to cover the scholarships and professor’s salary.  Any interest earnings in excess of these distributions will be returned to build the fund’s principal value. In this way, the endowment will leverage investment returns to supplement the initial grant. Based on an annual cost of $120,020, we estimate a grant of $1.8 M will cover the costs of the program for 25 years.

The table below are the associated costs: 


The Endowment for Public Service Leadership is a unique opportunity for a donor to create a powerful legacy in support of South Sudan’s public service and long-term development.

After 5 years, the endowment will have produced a cadre of 75 Scholars and Fellows. 
At 10 years, the cadre will have grown to 150.
At 25 years, there will be 375 skilled and committed leaders working throughout the public sector.

3. College Access Support for MBSS Alumni

Attention MBSS alumni: VAD Foundation can make referrals on behalf of MBSS graduates who are interested in applying to university through the EducationUSA office in Juba. Mr. Joseph Mike is able to assist students on Wednesday mornings at the American corner at the University of Juba library or by appointment ( 

If you are interested in paying your own way through private enrollment at the University of Juba and the Aweil Health Sciences Institute, please email The VAD Foundation is in the process of signing Memorandum of Understanding with these and other universities to ensure automatic private admission to all our MBSS graduates who have successfully passes the South Sudan Secondary School Certificate Exam. 

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HELP NOW ($6,000) 

I want to help now. Donate a one-time gift to tuition and board for one student to attend university or study a medical diploma program in South Sudan.

Create a Legacy ($100)

I want to make a long-term investment in South Sudan and give to the interest-bearing scholarship endowment fund benefitting over 300 undergraduates and graduates over 25 years.