Sub-Saharan Africa



Ashinaga - Ashinaga Africa Initiative 2022 Movemeback African initiative cover image


Applications are open for the Ashinaga Africa Initiative 2022 for Anglophone and Francophone countries. The Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI) is an international leadership program that cultivates the next generation of leaders to contribute to the development of sub-Saharan Africa.

AAI Scholars have lost one or both parents and are committed to returning to sub-Saharan Africa to initiate change, innovation, and development. The AAI provides access to full financial support to study at university abroad (equivalent to an undergraduate degree), including tuition, room, travel costs and other necessary fees.


Applicants must:

  • Have lost one or both parents
  • Have completed secondary school and passed national secondary school examination (technical and vocational degrees not accepted) within the last two years (any date after September 1, 2018, including all of 2019 and 2020) or will have completed secondary school and received final exam results before February 28, 2022
  • Have citizenship and have completed/are completing high school in one of the following countries: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, CAR, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, DRC, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Kingdom of eSwatini, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sénégal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania, The Gambia, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  
  • Were born after September 1, 1999
  • Do not have the means to attend university abroad without external financial support
  • Are proficient in English or French
  • Are regularly ranked in the top 10% of their class during their last 2 or 3 years of secondary school. Students without strong grades are unlikely to be successful
  • Are able to participate in the two Ashinaga preparatory programs, over the course of one year, before attending university.
  • Are committed to return home, or to Sub-Saharan Africa, and contribute to society in Sub-Saharan Africa after graduating from university
  • Have no dependents who could interfere with academic progress
  • Have a good enough health condition to be able to study abroad


There are two stages to the Ashinaga Africa Initiative application process;  

  • Registration: All applicant must first confirm the eligibility by registering for the programme. Only students who register for the program and are deemed eligible (based on criteria/eligibility above) will receive the application form
  • Application: All students who register for the programme will receive an email with a link to the application form within 1 month of their registration if they are eligible for the programme


Beyond simply providing financial aid, our program has five key features to ensure that students receive the education, training, networks, and opportunities needed to realize their vision for Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • The Support: We are with our students every step of the way, with full-time staff available to provide guidance whenever necessary
  • The Network: Students are connected to a global network of volunteer mentors, Ashinaga alumni, partner organizations, our Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council, and fellow students
  • The Proposal: During their studies, students spend four years developing a thoroughly researched proposal addressing an issue faced by their local community
  • The Promise: Most importantly, all of our students promise to pass on the benefits of their education by returning and contributing to Sub-Saharan Africa’s development

About Ashinaga

Ashinaga is a Japanese non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides support and education for orphaned students around the world. Our support is centered around providing financial and emotional support to children and young people who have lost one or both parent(s). We help to secure their access to higher education through loans and scholarships, encourage them to have ambitious dreams for their futures, and foster in them a sense of ‘paying forward’ the support they have received to their community or others who are in need. Ashinaga has been providing this means of support in Japan for several decades, and over 100,000 students have benefited from our work. Our activities expanded internationally in 2001, with the establishment of a new branch in Uganda, focusing initially on the support of HIV/AIDS orphans. Since then, we have opened further offices in Senegal, the United States, the UK, and France to support our latest venture - the Ashinaga Africa Initiative.

The Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI) is an academic leadership program that aims to provide an opportunity for higher education at the world’s leading institutions of higher education to orphaned students from 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The goal of the program is to nurture future leaders who will contribute to democratic realization, economic development and poverty eradication in their home countries post-graduation. Ashinaga hopes that education will empower these students to overcome their difficult backgrounds and bring positive change to their societies. One outstanding student from each Sub-Saharan African country will be selected to join the program every year. Ashinaga will provide these students with the training, opportunities and finances necessary to study at academic institutions around the world.