Young Africa Works

The Foundation launched its Young Africa Works strategy in Rwanda in 2018 marking a shift to focus on looking at countries holistically and identifying key growth sectors and opportunities to build a skilled workforce.

Our Goals: Equip 30,000 young men and women with the skills they need to transition into employment in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Improve the quality of teaching and learning in secondary schools so young people have the skills and competencies they need to succeed in work and in life

Context: Since 2000, Rwanda has experienced a period of sustained economic growth, social development, and political reform, lifting a million people out of poverty. Rwanda has set ambitious targets to achieve middle-income status by 2020 and is in the process of developing its National Strategy for Transformation and Vision 2050. The population is young and growing; close to 80 percent of Rwandans are below the age of 35 and the median age is 23.

Our Approach: Through consultations with government, the private sector, civil society, other funders, and young people, we launched the Young Africa Works strategy with the announcement of two new projects in Rwanda:

Hanga Ahazaza

Hanga Ahazaza will increase work opportunities for young people in the tourism and hospitality industry. The sector is a priority growth area for the Rwandan government and will position the country to compete globally. Growth in this sector will have a ripple effect and create another quarter-million jobs in sectors like food, logistics, IT, and banking.

Read more about Hanga Ahazaza.

Leaders in Teaching

Leaders in Teaching develops passionate, skilled teachers and prepares them to deliver high-quality secondary education so that young people have the skills and competencies they need to succeed in work and in life.

Read more about Leaders in Teaching.

Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT

The Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) is a five-year initiative lead by the Mastercard Foundation. It aims to spark innovation in the use of ICT in secondary education.

Now in the early stages of planning, work from the Centre will: drive the innovative use of technology to close the gap in access to  quality education; build evidence of what works in ICT for education; and create an active network of ICT leaders in secondary education to advance the integration of technology in education policies and practices across Africa.

Read more about The Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT.

Learn more about other active partnerships in Rwanda.

News and Announcements

Eleven Young Professionals Graduate from the Inaugural Young Impact Associates Program in Rwanda

Eleven young Rwandan professionals, aged between 21 and 35, have graduated from the Young Impact Associates (YIA) Program.

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Financial Literacy as a Tool to Enhance Rwandan MSMEs’ Access to Finance

Financial literacy is a catalyst for enhancing access to finance for Rwandan MSMEs.

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Reimagining the Future of Youth Employment in Rwanda: A Journey of Resilience and Hope

Rica Rwigamba, Mastercard Foundation, provides reflections on tourism, digital readiness, and the future of our young generation in Rwanda.

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Unlocking the Potential of EdTech in Rwanda

EdTech in Rwanda is at an early but promising stage. Now is the time to build on this momentum to create a strong and inclusive EdTech industry in the country. Laterite, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, has prepared a new report that maps the state of the EdTech ecosystem in Rwanda.

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Teaching a New Generation to Own Their Narrative

A Mastercard Foundation Scholar studying economics in France, Gaju Benita Rutagarama is also working with iDebateRwanda to train children back home in public speaking, leadership, and owning their stories. “Debating allowed me to discover my leadership potential and my ability to influence others. That is why I am convinced that debate is a valuable and life-changing experience for the post-genocide generation of Rwanda to rise and create a better country,” she says.  

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Supporting Creative Industries as a Potential Job Sector

With the influence and reach of African artists and creatives having now gone global (thanks to social media marketing and digital streaming services), the continent’s creative sector is gaining momentum and interest from abroad. But what does this mean for a sector that is often overlooked and untapped from within? Helping creative entrepreneurs leverage digital technology through upskilling and digital literacy training, so they can capitalize on rising economic potential. 

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Closing the Gender Gap in STEM Education in Africa

Women and girls are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) across the globe. And in many areas of Africa, there is a demonstrated lack of female STEM role models, as well as domestic pressures placed on girls and an entrenched cultural perception that men and boys are more suited to this work. To help close the gender gap, the Mastercard Foundation collaborates with local partners to design programs for increased participation of African girls and women in STEM education, two of which are in Rwanda.  

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COVID-19 Pivot: From a Blood Drive to a Wide-Reaching Health-Care Campaign 

MasterCard Foundation Scholars Jobe  Wuyeh and  Ozioma Paul were set to launch a blood drive and storytelling initiative in Rwanda. Then COVID-19 hit, and the pair had to think fast about how to give back to these same communities, now made even more vulnerable by the pandemic. They came up with the HOPE Campaign to raise funds in support of Solid’Africa, an NGO helping vulnerable patients by providing meals, hygienic products, and other services to accelerate their recovery

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Acting Fast to Help Vulnerable Families

“I was raised from a humble background. I know what it is like having a day without food,” says 25-year-old Norman Mushiga. When the COVID-19 pandemic led to social isolation and closed businesses in Rwanda, the agricultural studies graduate felt compelled to act. He began working with the local government to help identify the families most in need, and it wasn’t long before Mushiga’s friends at home and abroad joined in. Now, Mushiga and a small team of volunteers support 250 vulnerable families, including 50 women who are survivors of the 1994 genocide. 

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Making Life-Saving Information Accessible

Marie Pierre enjoyed her part-time volunteering job translating maternal and infant health information into local languages for Uridu, an international NGO. But when the call came to translate critical health protocols to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Mastercard Foundation Scholar stepped up. “Our project targets rural women and marginalized women,” says Pierre, who now works six hours every day translating life-saving information for the local community.  

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