Lead: Scholars Program Partner Network - Mastercard Foundation

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Lead: Scholars Program Partner Network - Mastercard Foundation

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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 are currently in an exciting period at the Mastercard Foundation as we intensify the implementation of the Young Africa Works strategy, aiming to empower 30 million young people throughout Africa to access dignified and fulfilling employment.

To ensure the Foundation’s accessibility to our partners and program participants, we have established offices in Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Uganda. These offices provide strong in-country support for the implementation of Young Africa Works. We collaborate with governments, the private sector, educators, and other funders to enhance the quality of education and vocational training, equip young individuals with the necessary skills for the workforce, expand access to financial services for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and facilitate connections between job seekers and meaningful employment opportunities.

Our values serve as our guiding principles, transcending and surpassing all other considerations. We wholeheartedly encourage you to bring your bold ideas, curiosity, and expertise to your work.


The Scholars Program is the Mastercard Foundation’s flagship education initiative. Since launching in 2012, the Program has grown to a $2 billion initiative working with 45+ partners globally and enabling 50,000 young people in Africa to pursue secondary or tertiary education.

The Scholars Program Roadmap to 2030 sets an ambitious goal of strengthening higher education ecosystems and driving innovation in Africa so that young people, especially those most marginalized, can access relevant and inclusive education, transition smoothly to dignified, in-demand work, and lead transformative lives.



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


Reporting to the Head of the Scholars Program Partner Network, the Bilingual Lead Scholars Program Partner Network will be responsible for building and implementing partnerships with higher education institutions within Africa, Europe and North America for the successful design and delivery of the Scholars program.

The successful candidate will be based in West Africa.


  • Lead development of portfolio-level strategy, including outcomes, approach and work plan.
  • Lead the identification of new partnership opportunities globally and structuring collaboration/partnership framework, ensuring that the focus is on developing opportunities for youth and institutional strengthening in Africa.
  • Drive co-creation process with new partners, in consultation with Program Partners, Leads and Head, and also colleagues in support services, operations and impact.
  • Establish means of measuring the success and progress of relevant partnerships, in consultation with Scholars Program Heads and Impact team.
  • Develop terms of reference for new work and lead identification of external resources to support delivery.
  • Contribute to the development of new initiatives or programs for institutional building and impact across the partner network.
  • Support Partners with implementation, tracking progress, and ensuring high-quality delivery of the Program.
  • Contribute to problem-solving and escalate issues as necessary.
  • Drive collaboration with the Scholars Program Transitions and support services teams to ensure Scholars’ well-being and successful transition of Scholars into the world of work or further education.
  • Drive collaboration with the Transformative Leadership team within the Transitions team to ensure that all program partners build and implement their on-campus transformative leadership programs and experiences for Scholars.
  • Drive inclusion, ensuring that all Scholars Program partnerships consider and respond to the specific constraints and realities of marginalized youth, particularly women, refugees displaced youth, and young people with disabilities.
  • Utilize the Foundation’s tools and systems to manage data, projects and initiatives effectively.
  • Support data capture and identify learnings, ensuring that insights and impact are routinely and effectively reported and integrated into program adaptations.
  • Ensure that partners ensure the safeguarding of young people including Scholars and program participants.
  • Manage the work and performance of consultants.
  • Cultivate and manage relationships with stakeholders to scale impact, by, e.g., developing partner networks, engaging governmental bodies overseeing education, and coordinating cross-organizational collaboration.
  • Facilitate connections, exchange, and learning across the Scholars Program regional portfolio, including taking a lead role as requested in planning and delivering face-to-face and virtual advisory groups, convenings and working groups.
  • Build and maintain effective business partnerships with other teams within the Foundation.
  • Leverage feedback to provide recommendations to inform broader program development activities.
  • Coach and mentor colleagues driving towards the delivery of high-quality work, alignment with the Foundation’s values and a supportive and collaborative work environment.
  • Some Leads may be requested to line manager others on the team.
  • Champion safeguarding of Scholars and all program participants.
  • Contributing to the design of a new initiative or transforming an existing one into something more impactful, in a multicultural environment.
  • Managing multiple projects, building partnerships and delivering results in a fast-paced, fluid environment.

Who You Are

  • Masters degree and/or Professional qualification in International development, education, public policy, social sciences, economics or another related field is required.
  • Excellent knowledge of the Francophone and international higher education ecosystem and context
  • Working across cultures and geographies and experience working in Francophone Africa is required.
  • Deep knowledge of key issues and emerging trends and barriers in education and youth employment in Africa.
  • Excellent analytical skills, the ability to think strategically and contribute as a thought partner in the Foundation’s strategy development.
  • Experience and sensitivity to issues of inclusion; experience delivering programs for women, people with disabilities, and/or refugees and displaced youth highly desirable.
  • Exceptional interpersonal and listening skills with the ability to build effective partnerships across all levels of the Foundation.
  • Proficiency with MS Suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint).
  • Passionate about youth education and employment in Africa.
  • Commitment to engaging and empowering young people, particularly women, and other marginalized groups such as refugees and displaced youth, and young people with disabilities.
  • Ability to plan and act strategically over long timeframes, patience, and persistence to achieve goals; and ability to balance immediate execution needs with longer-term visioning.



  • A team player with a high degree of emotional intelligence.
  • Entrepreneurial mindset to build a new function in a dynamic environment.
  • Service Mindset and striving towards becoming a trusted business partner to drive common Foundation goals.
  • Results-driven and motivated by a high sense of performance excellence and urgency.
  • Drive to continually experiment and innovate, building and leveraging best-in-class expertise and learnings.
  • Excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Flexible, adaptable, and able to execute a range of job duties and changing priorities.
  • Excellent verbal, written and presentation skills both in English and French with the ability to articulate information to a variety of constituents across cultures.
  • 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.
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