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Pershing Square Graduate Scholar crowned 'UK's best black student'

Amidou Ndakuna Fonso, who is studying on the Oxford 1 + 1 MBA and is a Pershing Square Graduate Scholar, has been named UK black student of the year by the Rare Raising Stars Awards. He was presented with the award by David Lammy MP at the Palace of Westminster. 

Amidou, who grew up in a village outside of Bameda, in the North West region of Cameroon, completed an MSc in Social Science of the Internet in his first year at the University of Oxford and will be studying for the MBA at Oxford Saïd for his second year. 

He did not start school himself until he was ten, when one of his brothers who had been working in London started paying for his education. After taking O Levels and qualifying as a mental health nurse, he moved to the UK, working for the NHS for five years. He did an engineering degree at Brunel University, while continuing to work full time (night shifts) as a nurse throughout to fund his studies. 

After graduating from Brunel with a first class degree, he spent time working for Motorola and Vodafone. At Motorola he worked on a UN project as System Engineer, and was part of a team designing communication systems in EMEA. 

In 2008, he founded a healthcare clinic in Cameroon with £3,000 of his own money, in order to address the lack of access to healthcare in rural areas. Today his clinic, Centre de Santé HARDA, employs more than 20 nurses and two visiting doctors and helps over 100 individuals a day. The majority of the work has been in prenatal care and birthing, having to date delivered over 3,000 babies. 

The clinic has been acknowledged by the Cameroonian government which now uses it for vaccinations as part of a health campaign to reach rural areas. Once he has completed the programme, Amidou’s aim is to expand the clinic into a network and start addressing problems surrounding inauthentic medication in Cameroon. 

Established in 2014, the Pershing Square Graduate Scholars programme funds up to five exceptional individuals per year to realise their passion of addressing world-scale social challenges by studying on the Oxford 1+1 MBA. 

Amidou said: ‘It is great to be recognised with this award and when I look back at what I have done, it’s always been a case of being clear about what you want to achieve and never giving up. My focus now is continuing on the Oxford 1+1 MBA and using the experience to help me successfully grow the clinic in Cameroon.’