Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. Through its Young Africa Works strategy and Canadian EleV program, the Foundation works with partners to ensure that millions of young people, especially young women, access quality education, financial services and dignified work. Mastercard Foundation was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. The Foundation is independent with its own Board of Directors and CEO.


We have entered a very exciting time at the Foundation as we scale up our operations across Africa to realize our Young Africa Works strategy. Our role at the Mastercard Foundation is to be a catalyst. Our Young Africa Works strategy focuses on working with others to spur systemic change so young people have the opportunity to find work that is dignified and fulfilling.

The Foundation has opened offices in Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda, building a broader leadership presence in Africa to develop specific strategies that support youth employment.  Within a country, we work with governments, the private sector, educators and other funders to improve the quality of education and vocational training, prepare young people for the work force, expand access to financial services for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and connect job seekers to dignified and fulfilling work.

We are ambitious and driven. Our values transcend and rise above everything else as our guide. We encourage you to bring your bold ideas, curiosity, and expertise to your work. We laugh at ourselves and with each other. We are a team. Our journey together makes our impact even more meaningful.

If you are a Head, Design & Learning ready to build something new and increase your  impact, read on!


The Head of Design & Learning is a newly created position at the Foundation with enterprise impact. They will lead one of the three enabling programmatic functions that will serve and be informed by ongoing core program delivery implemented by Regional and Country Heads and the Head of the Scholars Program. The role comes at an exciting time of growth for the Foundation as we implement our new strategy, Young Africa Works, a bold new strategy aimed at addressing youth unemployment in Africa.

Reporting to the Chief Program Officer, the Head of Design & Learning supports the design of country strategies, portfolio design and programming innovation, leveraging market-leading technical expertise. They hold primary responsibility for portfolio design, program integration and innovation, institutional learning, employee innovation, and technical expertise. They will work in close collaboration with the Chief Program Officer as well as the Regional and Country Directors, Head of Research, and the wider Program and Foundation team. The Head of Design & Learning will incorporate research-based insights into program design and will ensure continuous learning by assessing the performance and impact of programs and projects, supporting knowledge creation, capture and dissemination. They will drive the optimism for Africa’s future and scalable impact in Mastercard Foundation’s target countries.

Portfolio Design

  • Supporting Country, Regional and Scholars teams in country strategy development, portfolio design and program development linked to the Young Africa Works strategy, and enabling nationally tailored portfolio and program development processes.
  • Providing depth of expertise in strategy development and program design.
  • Championing robust implementation of the Foundation’s comprehensive programming approach, ensuring consistent application and quality assurance.
  • Facilitating co-design workshops and supporting Programs teams with technical expertise for country strategy and program design.
  • Leveraging data, diagnostics, and expertise for country strategy and program development.

Program Integration & Innovation

  • Leading and facilitating program integration and innovation across the Foundation, supporting teams in adopting and leveraging best practice.
  • Linking activities across Country, Regional and Scholars programs, and across countries where relevant.
  • Identifying new impact opportunities across countries and supporting Country, Regional and Scholars teams in actioning them.
  • Piloting new programming ideas and collaboration models.


  • Supporting Country, Regional and Scholars teams to regularly collect and collate learnings from program implementation.
  • Facilitating formal learning sessions with Programs teams and partners.
  • Synthesizing, socializing, and integrating learning from across country programming in collaboration with Research and Impact teams.

Employee Innovation

  • Developing mechanisms to encourage ideation and innovation from Foundation colleagues in collaboration with Country Heads.
  • Managing and implementing the Employee Innovation Fund (c. $2 million per year).
  • Collaborating with teams to identify innovations to scale up.


  • Ensuring that teams have access to leading technical expertise in Youth Employment, MSMEs, Gender, Education, and priority sectors, including Agriculture, Creative Industries, and Digital Technology. Building communities of practice internally and externally across such key areas of interest to programming.


  • Support the design of all Country strategies and portfolios, guiding delivery and Mastercard Foundation to its 2030 goal of seeing 30 million young Africans, particularly women, have dignified and fulfilling work. This entails broad consultation with key stakeholders and in-depth understanding of the drivers of economic growth and employment, and sectors that offer the greatest opportunities for young people, tailored to local country requirements.
  • Establish and align metrics for all programs and develop and implement processes to collect and collate learnings from program implementation. This will require close working relationship with programmatic and country leadership to assess impact, capture learning and share results with peers across the Foundation and with stakeholders in countries of operation.
  • Cultivate and manage relationships with technical communities of practice to ensure the Foundation has access to, and leverages effectively, relevant technical expertise.
  • Catalyze innovation and build and share evidence to influence and mobilize others.
  • Build and lead a team and support their performance. This includes coaching and professional development of staff, while holding people accountable and recognizing achievements. Develop, build and maintain relationships with the team across Africa and in the Toronto office for stronger collaboration and to ensure overall success.
  • Represent the Foundation at relevant events.


  • You have 15+ years of experience of increasingly senior management experience working in Africa for a global or regional organization in international development and/or the private sector. Experience across sectors is preferred.
  • You hold Master’s/MBA in global development, education, public policy or another related field.
  • Strong leadership experience in international relations, education, development and/or government or public policy within non-profit organizations, international NGO’s and/or learning institutions.
  • Significant experience working with and leading practice leads and content specialists.
  • Expertise in working with development, political and social issues across Africa.
  • Excellent strategic planning skills with the ability to merge technical and operational demands of the Global and Country programs into a cohesive structure.
  • Proven ability to think in a strategic, transformative way, able to co-design initiatives/processes that will drive large scale change.
  • Proven experience effectively engaging with technical experts to build communities of practice. Ability to effectively develop and manage mutually beneficial relationships with internal stakeholders at all levels, garnering enthusiasm and energy around Young Africa Works.
  • Demonstrated success in building and managing high performing teams with proven success.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with and relate to a board range of internal stakeholders, including other senior team members, staff, and board members.
  • Client service mindset, always seeking ways to create impact for program teams. Commitment to the value of co-creation, employing deep listening and authentically inclusive approach.
  • Energetic, independent and self-motivated individual with a solution-based approach while demonstrating innovation, integrity, quality, creativity, flexibility and resilience.
  • Innovative and entrepreneurial individual who can develop new or creative approaches to problems while inspiring others on the team. Drive to continually experiment and innovate, building and leveraging best-in-class expertise and learnings.
  • Ability to travel across Africa and internationally (30-40%).
  • Flexible, adaptable, and able to execute a range of job duties and changing priorities.
  • Possess excellent verbal, written, and presentation skills with the ability to articulate information to a variety of constituents across cultures.
  • Possess professional maturity, sensitivity with different cultures, and impeccable integrity that exemplify the Foundation’s values. 
  • You have a commitment to Mastercard Foundation’s values and vision.
  • French language and/or local language skills are an asset


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