Job vacancy Program Lead, Innovation (Sandbox)

Bole Medhanialem, Zewdu Bldg 5th Floor Next to Kebe Pastry, Addis Ababa

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Mastercard Foundation
Job Type
Job Status
Full Time
29 November, 2022
Job Title

Program Lead, Innovation (Sandbox)

Job Location
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Job Presentation


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, young people, and other funders to improve the quality of education and vocational training, prepare young people for the workforce, 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.


The Foundation has begun working within Canada in partnership with Indigenous communities and post-secondary institutions to listen, learn, and best understand how we can act in meaningful ways. The EleV strategy was co-created with Indigenous communities, young people, and partners to enable 30,000 Indigenous youth to complete their education and transition to dignified work aligned with their values and aspirations.

As reflected in Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, education is a key driver of improved socio-economic well-being. Through building partnerships with Indigenous communities, we look to expand our initiative ultimately helping to support a generation of transformative Indigenous young leaders who will be change agents within their communities. We believe that by setting a bold target, we will encourage engagement across sectors and create momentum that will elevate the strengths and opportunities of Indigenous youth. In keeping with our approach, Indigenous communities and young people will be the drivers of this transformation. The program will promote innovations to address longer-term systemic change to achieve economic prosperity and social well-being within Indigenous communities.

The EleV team oversees current and emerging partnerships related to Indigenous education. Consistent with our overall vision and Youth Africa Works strategy, we will share learnings and opportunities to connect across the work of the Foundation. While operating in distinct contexts, the centrality of youth voice and vision, affirmation of culture and identity, and priority to enhance community capacity for self-determination are common threads upon which our work is strengthened and reinforced.

If you are an experienced innovation professional looking to increase your impact, read on!


Reporting to the Country Head, the role will be responsible for building impactful country programs by setting direction and engaging country teams throughout innovative Interventions that demonstrate strong potential for impact at scale. The Job holder is expected to drive and support innovation in projects management, implementation, strategic thinking and leadership.


  • Provide inputs in the design of country strategies through working with the Country Director and other relevant colleagues, in view to fostering innovation into the programmatic approach and to allow the piloting of emerging opportunities to unlock opportunities for young women and men in the country.
  • Develop an innovation portfolio, including innovative approaches to exploring opportunities in emerging sectors, and scaling successful pilots.
  • Identify challenges and opportunities in new and promising sectors to drive job growth.
  • Collaborate with country teams and other team members in the development or implementation of new programs, including co-creation of programs and due diligence practices.
  • Communicate progress and learnings from programs to foundation colleagues and the wider development community.
  • Collaborate with the program and country teams to leverage synergies across programs and across geographies.
  • Manage a portfolio of programs, distilling learnings for Foundation staff and country teams.
  • Provide perspective and expertise on emerging and promising solutions to the problem of youth employment in Africa and trends in programs.
  • Contribute insights to the Foundation’s thought leadership on youth employment in Africa
  • Lead and supervise teams of program partners by providing coaching and support necessary for success and growth.
  • Identify and help overcome challenges and other barriers to team effectiveness
  • Build relationships with partner organizations, communities of practice, and global stakeholders.
  • Represent the Foundation and collaborate with key internal and external audiences.


  • Post-graduate degree and/or equivalent experience and training is required. A knowledge of research methods, and in particular research approaches and skills related to gathering data and insights among indigenous communities, youth and other vulnerable groups, using appropriate cultural lenses and perspectives.

  • Ten (10) plus years of experience working with the private and non-profit sectors, particularly in a role relating to leading/coordinating planning, M&E and reporting systems.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and manage strategic and operational plans to manage, track the implementation of Roadmaps and partnerships – delivery of outcomes and deliverables, timelines, and responsibilities.
  • Experience in working closely with stakeholders in developing countries (such as government ministries and NGOs) to design and implement results-based management systems; this should be done in such a way that the M&E systems become useful for local stakeholders and get used by them.
  • Experience in working with international stakeholders (e.g., donors) to design/implement results-based management systems for complex programs, including programs that have a wide scope of emergent interventions and a focus on adaptation and learning.
  • Working experience in developing, updating, and delivering training on M&E systems.
  • Experience with introducing new ideas and methods to M&E systems, and in setting up computerized MIS.
  • Experience applying a range of tech-enabled tools for data collection, analysis, reporting, and communication.
  • Experience in participatory approaches and demonstrated commitment to gender inclusion and youth engagement.
  • Experience with data quality assessments of administrative, qualitative, and quantitative data mixed methods.
  • Experience with beneficiary feedback loops and participatory methods.
  • Experience in senior leadership and management, preferably leading a country.
  • Experience living and/or working in a local country/community.
  • Experience navigating research protocols, review processes and management of big data with government and academic institutions.
  • Solid experience in strategic, portfolio and implementation work planning.
  • Deep familiarity with strategies for collecting, collating, and analyzing data for the purpose of measuring and reporting on outcomes and impacts. Deep knowledge of monitoring systems, local research and evaluation methods.
  • Strong language, culture and identity/affiliation with national people.
  • Membership in national networks and authorities as applicable.
  • Skills and competency to develop Measurable Outcomes and Impacts, as well as methods and tools for measuring the same within government and non-governmental institutions.
  • Understanding of systems thinking and strong ability to develop and test theories of change and associated practice tools as they may be relevant and appropriate for indigenous communities.
  • A dynamic thinker, you bring effective experience in stakeholder engagement and policy influencing. This can include experience working in community-based organizations, governance and related councils/commissions, regional and national government, and the private sector.
  • High tolerance for ambiguity and change, and ability to adapt to changing priorities within a fast-paced work environment with a “roll up the sleeves” attitude.
  • Strong problem-solving skills combined with a track record of pivoting in response to opportunities and challenges
  • Possess professional maturity, sensitivity to different cultures, and impeccable integrity that exemplify the Foundation’s values.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to Mastercard Foundation’s values and vision.
Valid Till
19 Dec, 2022

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