27 February 2022, Bangladesh: Asian University for Women (AUW) and Bayer AG have announced that Bayer will fund the university education of sixteen AUW students through the Bayer Scholarship Program. Bayer is pledging $675,000 (USD) to the program. The scholarships will cover two years of precollegiate study and the first year of AUW’s three-year undergraduate degree program and will run from August 2022 – to July 2025. Bayer will also provide internships to sixteen AUW students who hold an interest in agribusiness.
Nine of the sixteen Bayer Scholars will be selected by AUW from the rural farming communities of Bangladesh, and seven will be selected from other smallholder farming communities in South and Southeast Asia. Bayer will amplify the scholarship program and actively promote this education opportunity through its field force network in South Asia, which serves as a trusted partner to many rural farming families. All students will be the first in their families to attend university, supporting AUW’s belief that all women deserve a right to pursue higher education regardless of socioeconomic status, nationality, or religion. Recipients of this scholarship are selected from rural farming communities based on their academic excellence, demonstrated leadership, outrage at injustice, and drive to create change in their communities and beyond.
Monika Lessl, Senior Vice President Corporate R&D and Social Innovation and Executive Director of Bayer Foundation: “At Bayer, we are constantly working towards creating a world where everyone has access to essential services – be it health, nutrition or education. A key step in achieving this goal, is to bridge the gender gap in education. Hence, we are delighted to support women students pursuing higher education at the Asian University for women through our scholarship program and hope that these women students will not only transform their lives through education but also serve as a beacon of hope to other women students in their communities.”
Kamal Ahmad, Founder of the Asian University for Women said, ” In all our communities, we are separated by one divide after another: the poor vs the rich, those with access to power and privilege and those without. In the midst of all of these divides, it is the rural-urban divide that is probably most decisive in predicting the future of those born across them. By dedicating scholarships to the daughters of landless agricultural workers, AUW joins Bayer in lifting the curtain against that great divide and creating a pathway to discover and nurture the teeming talents that the tyranny of our divided societies otherwise suppress. We look forward to welcoming the Bayer Scholars to our AUW community and so grateful to Bayer for extending such pioneering support.”
Young girls growing up in rural regions in Asia have even fewer opportunities for educational and economic advancement than their counterparts in towns and cities. With limited social networks and other services, as well as an absence of economic empowerment opportunities, the cycle of entrapment in traditional mores becomes inescapable. It is this cycle that Bayer and AUW would like to break through their groundbreaking partnership. The Bayer Scholarship Program will foster women’s empowerment among marginalized, rural agricultural communities in Bangladesh and across Asia.