University of Nairobi graduate Samson Ekeno Lokwakai

University of Nairobi graduate Samson Ekeno Lokwakai is one of 10 global recipients of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

The McCall MacBain Scholarships are Canada’s largest leadership-based scholarships for master’s and professional studies. They are the result of a landmark C$200 million gift in 2019 by John and Marcy McCall MacBain, the then-largest single donation in the country’s history. Designed to encourage purposeful leadership, the scholarships enable students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree while participating in mentorship, coaching, and a leadership development program. “Receiving the McCall MacBain Scholarship filled me with excitement, especially knowing it would bring joy to my mum,” said Ekeno. “I received the message while on a matatu, but the noise made it impossible to have the call. I rushed to the house and had the call with the great news. I then travelled to Turkana, my hometown, to tell my mother the news.”

Ekeno is one of three recipients from Africa, chosen from thousands of international applicants. Every scholar participated in six different interviews over the course of seven months. The top 118 international candidates participated in a first round of regional interviews in October and November, and 37 attended final interviews in Montreal with travel expenses covered.

“My favourite part was the thought-provoking questions,” said Ekeno. “They led me to introspect deeply, articulating my values and aspirations. Such reflections affirmed my commitment to community service and resonated with the scholarship's goals.”

Recipients were chosen based on exceptional character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic strength, and intellectual curiosity.

Ekeno recently graduated from University of Nairobi with a bachelor's degree in microprocessor technology and instrumentation and is enrolled in a software engineering program. As a volunteer with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), he helped lead the design and implementation of a solar-based water borehole and storage system in a rural community. Ekeno also contributed to cleaning at a primary school, planted trees, and led a database study group. Previously, he worked with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

At McGill University, he will pursue a master's degree in electrical engineering with the goal of helping address community resource constraints.

“The scholarship is my lifeline, empowering my dream to engineer change in underserved communities,” said Ekeno. “It's not just financial aid; it's a testament to my belief in my potential, driving me to create a brighter future where everyone thrives, regardless of circumstance.”

“These students inspire us with their compassion and drive,” said Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain, Chair of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill. “Our shared mission is to provide them with an unparalleled graduate education, leadership development opportunities, mentors and lifelong connections. We hope to accelerate their ability to make an impact in communities across Quebec, Canada, and around the world.”

The McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill also offered 117 entrance awards ranging from C$5,000 to C$20,000 each to top candidates who were not selected for the cohort.

Applications will open in June 2024 for the 2025 cohort. More information about the McCall MacBain Scholarships can be found at

2024 McCall MacBain Scholarship Finalist Ekeno Lokakwai