Welcome to the Summer of Service (SOS) Scholarship
Governor-General His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen launched the Summer of Service (SOS) Scholarship Programme under the ‘I Believe’ Initiative (IBI) in May 2013. The primary aim of the scholarship is to encourage a spirit of volunteerism among youth, while offering them opportunities to pursue their academic goals.
Since 2013, more than 60 scholarships and bursaries have been awarded to undergraduate matriculating students and those entering their second year of study. Each year, SOS participants all over the country spend their summer volunteering for a noteworthy cause within their communities. Before the start of their projects, they are expected to submit a short proposal that describes the work that will be undertaken. A supervisor that is nominated for each candidate overseas the implementation of their projects and provides a report on the impact of the candidate’s work. The candidates themselves also provide a report at the end, to the Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence (GGPE) — the coordinating body of the ‘I Believe’ Initiative and by extension the SOS Scholarship.
After the reports come in, a panel comprising of sponsors, IBI Ambassadors and members of the GGPE secretariat reviews them and makes recommendations to various donors for potential awards.
The Scholarships are typically sponsored by various academic institutions and cooperate entities. They make their donations directly to the schools that are also responsible for monitoring the students performance and facilitating renewals in accordance with the stipulations of each scholarship awarded.
The Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence as a facilitator of these scholarships, connects each donor with the respective academic institutions for payments to be made. The GGPE also routinely monitors the students against the terms of their scholarships and will annually endorse the renewal of their awards if placed on a full scholarship.
Students who were offered partial scholarships could be granted additional funding in the following academic year should support become available and they satisfy the conditions of their awards.
The students have a responsibility to honour the terms of their scholarships and the institutions and sponsors reserve the right to revoke or discontinue a scholarship if not satisfied with a student’s performance.
- To reward academic excellence among students who are desirous of pursuing a tertiary education but whose financial circumstances limit this possibility.
- To increase the spirit of volunteerism among youth.
- Young people matriculating or are completing their first year at an accredited local university / college in a full-time undergraduate;
- Young persons (18-24 years old) with track record or academic excellence, volunteerism and financial need.
- Participants must be matriculating to, or be a first year student at a local accredited tertiary institution to complete a Bachelor’s degree.
- Participants must submit the name and nature of their project by the deadline. Any amendment/s to the project submitted must also be completed by the deadline.
- Participants are required to be engaged in their project for a specified time period each week. However, in light of the corona virus, this has been temporarily nullified.
- Participants must report regularly to their Supervisor. Communication streams should be determined between participants and their designated Supervisor.
- Any difficulties which emerge during the implementation of the project must be brought to the Supervisor’s attention as soon as possible.
- Participants must sign a Log Sheet each day of service in order to document the number of contact hours given to their project. Supervisors must sign this Log Sheet as confirmation that the service was indeed executed.
- Participants are encouraged to keep a diary on the project. The diary should detail achievements, difficulties experienced and how they were resolved. The Supervisor should check the diary at least on a fortnightly basis.
- Each participant must submit a final report to the GGPE Secretariat by the stipulated deadline. This report should include photographic or videotaped proof of their involvement before, during and after the project.
- The Supervisor’s report must be submitted separately to the Secretariat by the deadline.
Will a stipend be provided?
Regrettably, the IBI cannot provide a stipend. However, participants are encouraged to seek the support of a sponsor (which may include their church or community associations) to assist with any travel costs. In some cases, the organization within which they volunteer may also be able to assist.
What are the prizes?
These include scholarships and book grants. All prizes are announced in the particular year of the programme.
How will the projects/voluntary work be judged?
Judging is done in two stages:
- A GGPE Panel assesses all entries and determines a short list which is submitted to the judges. If necessary, the Panel will visit the shortlisted projects in order to present the fullest possible information to the judges.
- The judges, comprising of GGPE stakeholders, examine the submissions from the shortlisted participants, their Supervisors’ Report and the report from the GGPE Panel.
The quality of the final project report will factor into the decision whether to retain or remove candidates from the Programme.