From April-August 2020, IIE undertook an independent study to assess the long-term impact of United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded programs that provided scholarships for individuals to study for academic degree programs at U.S. universities. The study focused on the impact that the scholarship program had on the professional and personal lives of alumni once they returned to their home countries. IIE reached out to alumni who participated in the USAID/Indonesia Human and Institutional Capacity Development Program (HICD, 2006-2011) and it’s follow-on, the Program to Extend Scholarships and Training to Achieve Sustainable Impacts (PRESTASI, 2011-2020), as well as the USAID/Egypt Higher Education Initiative (HEI) MBA and STEM Scholarships for Women program (2014-2020). IIE sent a survey to the 157 HEI alumni and 357 HICD and PRESTASI alumni. The survey had over 200 respondents and IIE also conducted long-form interviews with 23 alumni. Overall, 96% of respondents indicated that their participation in a USAID scholarship program had a positive impact on their lives. Some of the main thematic impacts of these programs are summarized below.
“The program completely changed my life. I don’t think I would have ever gotten to where I am right now personally without it. I’m more open, I’m more positive, I can do whatever I set my mind to. It was a life-changing experience.”- Zienab Badreldin, HEI MBA alumni
USAID alumni are encouraged to volunteer and be involved in community, professional, and university organizations during their time in the U.S. Alumni reported that as a result of the experiences gained during their USAID scholarship program, they have made greater efforts to volunteer, share resources, help others seek similar scholarship opportunities, and mentor students. Alumni also collaborate across sectors to support humanitarian, economic, and social assistance programs through their government ministries or non-governmental organizations.
“I was a co-founder of a foundation that helped the elderly. We managed to get support from the government; like home visits to take care of them. I helped them with management systems, HR, to coach the staff and volunteers. Again, these skills are not there suddenly, it’s from experience from America and the learning process from my organization really helped me to transfer the professionalism aspect of my life.” – Frans Samosir, PRESTASI alumni
Empowerment of Women
“When I left Egypt, I was the only girl in my family, community, society to travel alone. After that, many girls are starting to feel that it’s an achievable thing to travel alone. I became independent and I gained a lot of skills” – Heba Saleh, HEI MBA alumni
Acceptance of Diversity
“The way America teaches people to be open minded without changing their own principle is the most precious lesson. The way that we can be different, be friends and work together, with different principles.” – Dwi Martina, PRESTASI alumni