Head of Impact Labs

Website MasterCard Foundation

Job Description

As part of our Impact strategy, we are about to launch the Impact Labs, that will constitute a space for the Foundation and its partners to discover and experiment the next generation of solutions to understand and measure impact by, with, and for young women and men and their communities in Africa and Indigenous Canada.

Reporting to the Director of MEL Innovation and Impact Labs, the Head of Impact Labs (Africa) will manage and develop critical components the work of the Impact Labs in Africa by:

  • managing the operational details of the establishment and development of the Impact Labs in Africa;
  • contributing to scanning the innovation and impact horizon for emerging trends in areas that are relevant for the Impact Labs and the overall MEL Innovation and Impact Labs workstream in Africa, and
  • actively contributing to shaping the debate within the impact and innovation fields, both at the Foundation and broader sectoral level.

In support of the above, the post holder will also perform project, people, and consultants’ management responsibilities and provide strategic and technical support in crucial areas for the MEL Innovation & Impact Labs workstream.

The successful candidate will be based in any of our listed offices in Africa (Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria)


  • Support the selection and appointment process for the Impact Labs partners in Africa and manage them to ensure sound, transparent, and timely delivery of their innovation programs.
  • Drive the design and execution of co-creative processes with the Impact Labs partners in Africa to facilitate the generation, sharing, and use of learning and best practices.
  • Contribute to the development, adaptation, and continuous evolution of the Impact Labs approach in Africa so that it continues delivering on the workstream pillars, the Impact strategy, and the priorities of the Foundation at country, regional, and continental levels.
  • Lead the incubation and rolling out of relevant Impact-driven innovation initiatives to be integrated within the Impact Labs pillar in Africa.
  • Contribute to (and lead where relevant) the generation of research, knowledge, and insight products to help us understanding and engaging with key themes and trends that are relevant to the work of the Impact Labs in Africa.
  • Engage in ongoing discovery process to identify and define opportunities for innovation benefiting our partners, the youth, and the communities that we support with our investments through the Impact Labs in Africa.
  • Contribute to the process of continuous evolution of our MEL Innovation agenda by enabling uptake of new solutions and approaches emerging from the work of the Impact Labs in Africa.
  • Contribute to the formation and growth of a community of innovation practice by building lasting and impactful relationships with key internal stakeholders and peers at the Mastercard Foundation.
  • Engage with key external stakeholders to contribute to driving an impact-driven innovation agenda and growing support for the Impact Labs work at sector level.
  • Represent the workstream at the Foundation, and externally at relevant fora and specialized events, promoting the work of the Impact Labs in Africa (working alongside the Director and relevant country, regional, and global colleagues as appropriate).
  • Manage multi-stakeholders’ collaborative processes and projects involving Impact and other relevant Foundation’s teams to support timely delivery of Impact Labs priorities in Africa.
  • Support the Director in recruiting and onboarding new staff members and manage and develop direct reports to appropriately meet the Impact Labs priorities and needs in Africa.
  • Support the Director in selecting, appointing, and managing the work of consultants (individuals / organizations) to meet the Impact Labs pillar priorities and needs in Africa.
  • Support the Director in evolving the workstream strategy.
  • Play a role as technical / strategic lead for specific areas and themes, by ensuring timely and reliable advice to other team members, overseeing the design and uptake of user centric protocols, policies, and knowledge products, and enable consistent and high-quality standards of delivery.
  • Participate in and contribute to overarching initiatives to support the work of the Impact department and the Foundation more broadly.


  • Master’s degree or comparable professional experience is required, with strong preference for innovation-related disciplines – such as Social Entrepreneurship; Social Innovation, System Thinking, Complexity Science, Design Thinking, Behavioral Science, Data Science, Computer Science, and Impact Investing with application to International Development, Economics, Evaluation, Research Methods, Social Science, and other relevant fields.
  • Extended experience in international development, and/or market-based initiatives with a focus on one or more priority sectors of the Foundation work in Africa.
  • Extended experience in youth-led / community-based / collective / participatory approaches to knowledge generation and use.
  • Extended experience with theories, models, and tools relevant to the innovation field (both related to investment strategies and solutions development) – e.g. innovation theories, prizes, challenges, and social labs; open innovation; approaches to portfolio management; business canvas / models; agile development principles; R&D; diagnostic and discovery research; participatory research; human centered design; behavioral research; user testing; big data analytics and AI; approaches to collective intelligence; system thinking and complexity; etc.
  • Generalist experience in Impact Evidence, Measurement, and Insights with one or more areas of deeper expertise – e.g. impact evaluation; qualitative methods for evaluation; theory-based evaluation; adaptive management; advanced analytics; lean data collection; open data; routine/admin data collection, tech-enabled MEL; advanced analytics; data visualization, etc.
  • Extended experience with leading complex multi-stakeholders’ projects and processes in a user-centric and impact-oriented fashion.
  • Extended experience managing strategic, operational, and financial aspects of large portfolios of programs / initiatives.
  • In depth understanding of current trends in innovation, technology, and science with relevance for the African context and the Impact Measurement, Evidence, and Insights field.
  • Group facilitation skills, including virtual (meetings; training; solution design), ideally rooted into participants-centered methods and/or comparable approaches.
  • Project and people management expertise, ideally with broad understanding of current innovation-relevant project/product management models (e.g. agile, scrum, and other comparable approaches)
  • Budget development and management expertise
  • High level of written and spoken English, and/or French fluency
  • Strategic – With ability to think strategically to formulate and execute plans efficiently and effectively. Strong problem-solving skills combined with a record of accomplishment of pivoting in response to opportunities and challenges.
  • Adaptive – Ready and eager to support the establishment of a new workstream, oftentimes requiring to embrace fast-paced change with high tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty, and ability to adapt to evolving priorities with an action-oriented and can-do attitude while balancing an organized and systematic approach to work.
  • Innovative – Humble, curious, and willing to challenge the status quo while bringing others on this journey and continuously learn and adapt during the process. This is also someone who can bridge diverse fields of knowledge and practice to drive the design of transformative solutions
  • Entrepreneurial – Able to navigate a complex ecosystem of organizations, trends, and approaches, and identify and invest time and resources in those actors that have the potential to drive the transformation at scale of the sector in line with the Impact department and Foundation mission.
  • Team player – Demonstrating to thrive in a collaborative, creative, and mission driven environment. Valuing and positively responding to feedback with a constructive attitude and a growth mind-set.
  • Relationships builder – With the ability to establish and nurture impactful and lasting relationships, treating all individuals with fairness and respect.
  • Skilled communicator – With the ability to demystify complex concepts to varied audiences, communicate with all levels of management and staff, and inspire others by modelling great drive and commitment to the Impact department and Foundation’s mission
  • Demonstrate a commitment to Mastercard Foundation’s values and vision.

Deadline for Applications is August 22, 2022.

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About the Organization


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.

To apply for this job please visit boards.greenhouse.io.

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