Scholars Program: Head of Western, Central and Northern Africa Partner Network

Mastercard Foundation

Mastercard Foundation

Scholars Program

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 an experienced professional ready to build something new and increase your impact, read on!


The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is a signature initiative of the Foundation. The goal of the Scholars Program is a network of transformative leaders driving inclusive and equitable socio-economic transformation in Africa. To date, the Program has committed to supporting more than 37,000 academically talented yet economically disadvantaged young people from Africa with access to quality and relevant secondary and university education, tailored support services and leadership development inputs and opportunities.


The Head of Western, Central and Northern Africa Partner Network, Scholars Program is a newly created position and comes at an exciting time of growth for the Foundation as it implements its new strategy, Young Africa Works. This role will champion building of the Scholars Program brand and lead its translation into action, in Western, Central and Northern Africa. It is also about ensuring that the right deserving individuals join the Program, that they get a quality education and effective leadership development and that they are supported to transition successfully to their next stage in life. And it goes beyond the Scholars. It is also about influencing other institutions, funders and policymakers on how they affect the sea change in education and future of work.


Reporting to the Head of the Scholars Program, the Head of Western, Central and Northern Africa Partner Network’s key responsibilities will be to provide leadership to the team and network of Scholars Program partner institutions, in Western, Central and Northern Africa along with the following:

Program Strategy and Alignment with Young Africa Works

Lead the expansion of the Scholars Program in Western, Central and Northern Africa
Contribute to ongoing program strategy development and evolution, as a member of the Scholars Program leadership team
Set goals and targets for the Western, Central and Northern Africa Partner Network, and monitor to ensure their attainment
Identify and capitalize on opportunities to effectively link the Scholars Program with Young Africa Works country and regional programs, in Western, Central and Northern Africa
Program Design and Delivery

Identify and assess opportunities and lead co-creation of new Scholars Program partnerships with universities and other relevant stakeholders in Western, Central and Northern Africa
Provide ongoing guidance, support and technical assistance to all Scholars Program partner institutions in Western, Central and Northern Africa; lead problem solving and escalate issues as necessary
Drive inclusion, ensuring that all Scholars Program partnerships consider and respond to the specific constraints and realities of marginalized youth, particularly women, refugees and displaced youth, and young people with disabilities
Champion Program quality and branding, working in close collaboration with Program Communications, the Transformative Leadership Team and senior leadership of implementing partner institutions
Collaborate with the Scholars Program Transitions team to ensure successful transition of Scholars into the world of work or further education
Oversee the capture of data and learnings and ensure that insights and impact are routinely and effectively reported, and continually integrated into program design and implementation
Partnership and Stakeholder Engagement

Build and nurture relationships with senior leaders and relevant staff of higher education institutions in Western, Central and Northern Africa (e.g. Vice Chancellors, Presidents, and program administrators), particularly Scholars Program partner institutions
Facilitate connections and exchange and learning across the Scholars Program partner network in Western, Central and Northern Africa, including contributing to the planning and delivery of face-to-face convenings and virtual meetings
Build and maintain effective business partnerships with other teams within the Foundation
Leadership and Management

You might also like:

Country Manager

Senior Agronomist

Transport Officer

Director of Commercialisation and Communication

Zonal Project Officers

Effectively lead, mentor and coach staff in the Western, Central and Northern Africa team, ensuring the delivery of high-quality work, alignment with Foundation values, and a supportive and collaborative work environment that embraces diversity and inclusion
Identify and recruit additional talent to within the team as needed
Partner with leaders of other Scholars Program teams to ensure a collaborative and integrative approach to the design and delivery of the Scholars Program
Partner with Country and Regional Heads and teams in Western, Central and Northern Africa to facilitate delivery of the Scholars Program, in line with Young Africa Works
Champion safeguarding of Scholars and all program participants
Contribute to the senior leadership team of the Scholars Program and represent the Foundation at relevant events within and outside the region



Master’s or PhD degree in relevant field such as international development, education, public policy, social sciences or a related field.

Previous Experience

At least 15 years of working experience working in higher education and the private sector in progressively senior roles; at least 5 of which have been in key leadership level role, leading and nurturing others.
Proven experience to engage with senior leadership in higher education institutions, government, private sector etc., as well as young people.
Demonstrable experience creating and building a new initiative or transforming an existing one into something more impactful, in a multi-cultural environment
Demonstrable experience in presenting information to, and presenting to internal and external leadership teams/individuals
Some years of exposure to/involvement at the highest levels of academia
Team player and have demonstrated experience working across cultures and geographies, building teams and coaching and mentoring others.
Technical Competencies Sought

Service Mindset and striving towards becoming a trusted business partner to drive common Foundation goals
Excellent verbal, written and presentation skills with the ability to articulate information to a variety of constituents across cultures
Ability to plan and act strategically over long time frames, patience and persistence to achieve goals; and ability to balance immediate executional needs with longer term visioning
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
Demonstrated success in building and managing high performing teams in in a fast-paced, fluid environment
Proven experience to effectively engage with technical experts to build communities of practice
Fluency in English and French required
Ability to travel frequently across Africa and internationally
Behavioral Competencies

Professional maturity and sensitivity with others in a manner that exemplifies commitment to Foundation values and vision
Commitment to engaging and empowering young people, particularly women, and other marginalized groups such as refugees and displaced youth, and young people with disabilities.

Mastercard Foundation (the “Foundation”) values and respects your privacy. By submitting an application for this opportunity, you hereby agree to the Foundation’s collection, use and disclosure of your personal information in accordance with its Privacy Policy (available at Please note that the Foundation may share your personal information with third party agencies that support the Foundation’s recruitment activities, and such third-party agencies may contact you directly regarding this opportunity. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Foundation’s Privacy Officer at the address indicated in its Privacy Policy.

Mastercard Foundation is working with Stanton Chase on this role. All applications are appreciated; however, please note that only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. Please be aware all applications will be shared with the search firm.

Completion of satisfactory business references and background checks are essential conditions of employment.

For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at @MastercardFdn

Contact us

Mastercard Foundation
Open chat
Chat with us