Our Work in Action

Since our founding, we’ve partnered with more than 140 visionary organizations to increase financial inclusion and access to youth learning in Africa. By sharing our experiences and those of our partners, we hope to provoke thought, start conversations, and, ultimately, amplify our impact.

At the Mastercard Foundation, everything we do begins by listening to the people we aim to reach — un- and underemployed youth in Africa. They are our partners in developing solutions to youth unemployment, and their ideas influence the design of our projects on the continent. Read through our youth-authored content to get a glimpse of the energy, enthusiasm, and ingenuity that continues to inspire our work.

Listening to Young People

Hear from the young people who we work with.

Our Work in Action

Featured Content

Rethinking Secondary Education in a Post-Pandemic Africa

Before the COVID-19 pandemic,105 million children were out of school across Africa. But now, an estimated 460 million children and young people are without ongoing formal education. This mass disruption to learning not only risks students falling behind but has also intensified pre-existing gaps in African education systems. However, providing young people with access to education through technology is offering a blended approach to secondary education, which may be a better fit than traditional class instruction for some communities.  

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Technology and Creative Passions Can Work Together

Musician, computer science graduate, and Mastercard Foundation Scholar Nkosinathi Mzembe thought he had to compromise his love of music for a career in technology. The eldest of three children from Malawi, Mzembe remains focused on his career aspirations, and yet he has found a compromise through a stage name, Contieh, under which he uploads original songs onto digital music platforms and social media sites.  

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2020 Social Venture Challenge Winner on Educating Communities Post-COVID-19

University of Cape Town student and Mastercard Foundation Scholar Samson Idabu founded the FONA Health Initiative to address malnutrition and health education needs in his native Tanzania. But when COVID-19 hit, his team was unable to travel to individual households to provide nutrition training. They quickly pivoted to educational poster deliveries and mobile phone consultations. “I have learned that the greatest asset of a leader is the confidence to change,” says Idabu.  

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Pan-African Panel Guides Aspiring Entrepreneurs on Building a Business

It’s one thing to have an entrepreneurial dream, but when given a road map of the resources necessary to realize that dream, young people have a better chance of overcoming challenges and unanticipated obstacles. This video-recorded panel of successful young entrepreneurs from across Africa, an episode of the Mastercard Foundation initiative Young Africa Connects, takes a candid look at what makes African markets unique from those in the West. It also addresses what tomorrow’s business leaders should keep in mind when attempting to build a global business.  

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Youth-Led Creative Enterprise Adapts to Curb the Spread of COVID-19 in Tanzaniaw Mastercard Foundation Scholars are Giving Back Amid COVID-19

During the global pandemic, street artists from around the world transformed ordinary buildings into vibrant canvases. Artists adorned buildings with colorful and striking murals that depict the new reality of COVID-19, while also re-enforcing the importance of practicing safety measures. 

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Africa’s Creative Renaissance

Africa is brimming with talent. With the influence and reach of African artists and creatives now global due to social media and digital streaming services, the continent’s creative sector is gaining momentum and interest. But what does this mean for a sector that is often overlooked and untapped?

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Mastercard Foundation’s Philip Cotton Selected as a Fellow of Royal Society of Edinburgh

Philip Cotton, Head of Mastercard Foundation’s Scholar’s Program was recently elected as a fellow by the prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh.

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Nigerian Recruitment Platform Aims to Connect 5 Million Young People to Opportunities

Jobberman provides skills training and connects employers to skilled youth.

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Partnership Aims to Create 560,000 Work Opportunities for Young Entrepreneurs and Smallholder Farmers

Babban Gona is a successful social enterprise, part-owned by the farmers it serves.

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Amplifying the Voices of Young Women for an Equal Future

An unequal burden of the pandemic falls on the shoulders of women and girls. Government imposed lockdown and school closures due to COVID-19 have increased the demand for unpaid caregiving, childcare, and domestic work— all which women are more likely than men to bear the responsibility. However, despite the challenges of the pandemic, women are demonstrating resilience.

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First Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Alumni Survey Provides Snapshot of Post-Grad Life

In June 2020, the Scholars Program launched its first ever alumni survey. As a Foundation we were keen to reconnect with Scholars, and eager to learn more about the alumni experience: their transitions after graduation, the types of activities they were seeking from their alumni community, and, given COVID-19, their experiences living through a global pandemic.

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