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Lead, Human Capital Development, Program Research at Mastercard Foundation

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 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.


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 Program Research professional looking to increase your impact, read on!


Reporting to the Head of Program and Strategic Research, the Lead, Human Capital Development Program Research, will lead knowledge development and research in the Human Capital Development (HCD) programs to further Young Africa Works and other Foundation’s program objectives. The lead will contribute to and lead the delivery of the five-year research and knowledge development agenda as it applies to the Human Capital Development (HCD) program strategies. The lead will also respond to immediate research questions, providing quality assurance for diagnostic, R&D and other research to enable programming across regions and programs.

The successful candidate will be based in any of our listed offices in Africa (Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana).


  • Lead the design of research systems/processes/protocols for HCD initiatives and programs to ensure high-quality research design, implementation, and analysis.
  • Collaborate with HCD programs teams to identify and address research questions to enhance effectiveness of HCD programs and partnerships and alignment to the Young Africa Works strategy.
  • Contribute to building a culture that encourages evidence-informed decision making.
  • Contribute to conducting, collating, commissioning and synthesizing research on HCD to support knowledge building and program co-design & review processes.
  • Collaborate with the Impact & S & L teams to co-develop research partnerships aligned with HCD programming needs and knowledge development strategy.
  • Working with the team, they will develop and ensure quality control of internal & external commissioned HCD research outputs and content generated.
  • Contribute to developing the Research Strategy & build HCD research agenda and knowledge expertise to address long-term strategic questions on global development and youth empowerment.
  • Lead the engagement with local stakeholders and HCD and Functional teams to determine priority research needs.
  • Provide access to best-in-class external research and knowledge for HCD initiatives.
  • Commission research projects and other knowledge products for the Foundation’s thought leadership and to enhance the international development field.
  • Write and publish relevant learnings and insights on the Foundation’s programs to influence best practice internally and externally.
  • Develop strong global and in-region relationships with external research partners.
  • Lead research partnerships with the HCD programs team on proposal development and review to provide technical input into proposals.
  • Working with the team, build and strengthen the capacity of others to deliver high quality research, analysis, publications and documentation.
  • Under the guidance of the Research Heads, act with team members as subject matter experts for the Foundation HCD research work.
  • Contributes to developing and approving budgets, invoices & expenditures.
  • Contributes to approving partnerships, consultancies and hires.
  • Contributes to HCD research themes and partnerships prioritization on a quarterly basis.
  • Contributes to structure and scope of HCD research partnerships with internal and external stakeholders.


  • PhD in global development, economics, the social sciences & humanities, education, public policy or related field.
  • 16+ years leadership experience in education, health, social sciences and humanities, development and or public policy within non-profit organizations, international NGO’s and or learning institutions.
  • Experience in research development, political, economic, cultural and social issues across Africa.
  • Understanding of research methodologies and approaches, especially in the area of economic transformation or growth and development policy.
  • Experience in the Health and Education Sectors will be an advantage.
  • Experience in effectively engaging technical experts and institutions to build communities of practice.
  • Ability to plan for and prioritize multiple enterprise-wide initiatives with varying timelines.
  • Some success in building and managing high performing teams with proven success.
  • Strong research skills with the ability to translate findings to technical and non-technical teams.
  • Experience with strengthening research systems within the higher education sector.
  • Fluency in other languages relevant to the work. French would be desirable.
  • Curious and enthusiastic about pursuing new avenues of research.
  • Open to the ideas of others and shares knowledge and insight from a place of humility.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with and relate to a broad range of internal stakeholders including the Foundation leadership.
  • Service mindset, and commitment to the value of co-creation, employing deep listening and authentically inclusive approach.
  • Energetic, independent innovative, entrepreneurial and self-motivated individual with a solution-based approach while demonstrating integrity, quality, creativity, flexibility and resilience.
  • 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.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to Mastercard Foundation’s values and vision.

How To Apply For This Position

Qualified candidates should submit their CV and Application on Company Website: Click Here To Apply

Closing Date : 6th December, 2022

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