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  • Akaba James

The fruit of joining the HALI Access Network begin falling out!

Last April 2017, Open Dreams participated in the HALI Access Indaba, which took place at the shores of Lake Kivu in Rwanda. The three-day event, sponsored by the MasterCard Foundation, brought together 39 representatives from 28 organizations (from 14 countries) dedicated to providing mentorship and guidance opportunities for high-achieving, low-income (HALI) students in Africa. The organizations collectively support thousands of African students through the very rigorous admission and scholarship application process to colleges and universities. While the organizations vary in the level of support they offer to students, they all have so much in common – linking brilliant students to educational opportunities. Founded in 2016, the High Achieving Low Income (HALI) Access Network has grown from 19 to 28 organizations in just one year. Open Dreams got admitted into the Network last year (see

The HALI access network is the biggest network Open Dreams is part of, in its effort to expand its vision and harness more opportunities for mentees.

The focus of last year’s inaugural HALI Access indaba (meeting in Swahili) which took place in Zimbabwe, was “Access” i.e. getting more students to access educational opportunities. This year, the focus shifted to “Success” i.e. assessing the success of our students in accessing the scholarship opportunities, managing the transition to college in a foreign land and their success on the ground upon returning to Africa.

During the conference, discussions ranged from the role of the HALI facilitator, facing issues and opportunities to networking! This gathering of passionate professionals who believe in the power of education to transform Africa and the world gave birth to an effervescent atmosphere with so much experience sharing and lots of incredible testimonies of success stories! The diverse stories inspired and reinforced all the participants! We are indeed building our professionalism in the field, sharpening our strategies and adopting more best practices in the hope of achieving more results and creating a greater impact in the field. There is so much talent and human capital in Africa, and we want to help many HALI students to achieve their dreams against all odds! Without the necessary push, many high achieving low income students just never make it; the world might miss another brain which can address some of the persistent global challenges humanity faces today, like reducing the threat of new and reemerging diseases, accelerating scientific and technological breakthrough to improve the human condition, providing more democratic leadership on the African continent to help the continent reduce poverty and inequality gaps etc

The conference was very successful and we returned with so much that we shall be working on! Together we are making the difference!

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