Educate!, a high-growth and award-winning non-profit social enterprise, is looking for a Strategist to lead the expansion of our Education System Solutions into new countries. In this role, you’ll be at the center of a global team that is growing Educate!’s impact and scale through work with new government partners. You will build repeatable and impactful program models in collaboration with governments to solve the mismatch between secondary education and life after school, as we work towards our organizational vision of measurably impacting 1 million students across Africa each year.
We have already partnered with governments in Rwanda and Kenya to support skills-based curriculum reforms through our education system solutions, and results from a rigorous impact evaluation have shown that our cost-effective solutions create a real impact on youth through national education systems. The Strategist will work closely with the Chief Education Innovations Officer, Regional Director of Partnerships and government advocacy experts, and our programs teams in Kenya and Rwanda to continue developing program models that support long-term changes to education systems and meaningful, sustainable curriculum reforms.
The right person for this role will:
- Have experience in co-designing reform strategies with policymakers or government partners, and thrive on the collaborative design process. Experience might come from work in consultancy, government policy or service design, or change management expert.
- Enjoy devising strategies for growth and influencing stakeholders to bring about results in complex environments.
- Make data- or evidence-based decisions. Experience running experiments, product development processes, or human-centered design processes is a plus.
- Be motivated to work with government education systems to create a broad and sustainable impact on youth through those systems.
What if there was a way to measurably change the trajectory of the lives of youth across Africa? Since its launch in 2009, Educate! has worked to do just this, delivering outsized impacts at scale and at disproportionately low cost, through a product-led approach to youth development. As a disruptive, not-for-profit, social enterprise, our team leverages an obsession with evidence and entrepreneurial drive to tackle one our planet's greatest challenges - unlocking the potential of its youngest continent.
Educate!’s core model combines training in key skills with access to practical experience starting a business and mentorship, a formula that has been validated by several independent evaluations. This model is distributed through products targeting two lead channels. First, Educate! works with governments to help reform education systems at scale through policy change, teacher behavior change and tech-enabled products targeting systems-level sustainability, while also working directly with select schools. Second, Educate! builds employment-focused bootcamps and business support services targeting out-of-school youth left out of the education system. To date, more than 200,000 youth have been meaningfully impacted by this model across Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya and along the way Educate! has become the largest youth skills provider in East Africa.
Educate! is a team of over 160 largely African staff and 300 volunteer youth mentors. We prioritize building an engaging, fulfilling and growth oriented work environment. 50% of our top 30 leaders have been with us for over 5 years, 10+ alumni have started other organizations and 5 current or former team members were Acumen Fund East Africa fellows.
We have been backed by top foundations and product leaders such as Imaginable Futures, Big Bang Philanthropy, Echoing Green, the 1st Google Employee’s foundation, the head of Google Search and Rippleworks Foundation. Educate! won a 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Prize and a 2015 WISE Award, and has been highlighted by Bill Gates, in the World Bank’s S4YE's Impact Portfolio, an Al Jazeera documentary, BBC, and The Brookings Institution as one of 14 case studies in their global scaling education learning initiative. Educate! was also selected by the UN’s Generation Unlimited as 1 of 20 innovative youth solutions and by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a Goalkeepers Accelerator.
Educate!'s long-term vision is to design solutions that measurably impact millions of youth across Africa each year.
Influence and co-design government policy
- Partner with Educate! leadership to devise outreach strategies to new governments and set expansion roadmaps, in line with the wider growth strategy for Education System Solutions.
- Lead the design of advocacy agendas for curriculum and pedagogical reforms to maximise Educate!’s impact for youth through new government partnerships.
- Lead the design and facilitation of government engagement processes, such as multi-stakeholder dialogues, learning experiences and co-design workshops, to influence government policy.
- Co-design theories of change and implementation strategies with government partners, identifying behaviour change processes for key education system actors to ensure sustained impact for youth.
- Lead a team of Designers to ensure the preparation of innovative and high quality materials for all government engagement, including strategy documents, workshop agendas, facilitation guides, education system analyses, talking points for policymakers, benchmarking reports and policy briefs.
Experiment to validate product ideas in new countries
- Partner with the M&E Director to design user and stakeholder research for product development in new contexts.
- Collaborate with policymakers to create procedures for experimentation to validate new product ideas and innovations.
- Build and oversee development of prototypes & pre-tests.
- Gather and analyze user feedback to inform product iterations and improvement.
Design product learning systems with governments, to ensure the progression of Educate’s advocacy agenda.
- Collaborate with government teams to brainstorm and assess new program/product ideas to implement agreed reform strategies.
- Foster a culture of learning with government counterparts to ensure government policy adapts to user feedback and insights.
- Adapt product strategies and Educate!’s advocacy agenda based on government and payer priorities, while ensuring a clear skills-based theory of change.
- Advise country and advocacy teams on the development of governance structures or processes to support long term government partnerships with Educate!, such as steering groups, learning cycles, and adaptive management techniques.
Product and practice leader for government co-design
- Partner with the Chief Education Innovations Officer to define the vision, framework, roadmap and positioning for Educate!’s co-design work with governments.
- Continuously review international best practices in government co-design and reform facilitation techniques to ensure Educate!’s design standards are informed by the latest innovations and evidence.
- Lead the codification of Educate’s co-design method and Standard Operating Procedures, establishing ‘ways of working’ manuals, design standards and developing practical tools for use in government engagement.
- Grow Educate’s internal capacity for government co-design, creating a cross-county ‘hub’ to promote approaches across countries and leading the professional development of team members.
- Design and implement a knowledge management system to ensure experiences, knowledge and toolkits are routinely shared across countries of operation.
- Develop business cases for Educate! investments in products, partnerships, technical advisory services and government initiatives within the Education Systems Solution Line (ESS).
- Report progress on expansion strategies to senior leadership, including pipeline and dashboard monitoring reports.
Characteristics and traits
- User-centric: always thinking about the user experience, seeking the users voice in your product development process, and working with your users to build a responsive product that meets them at their point of need
- Excited about influencing behaviour change through developing strategies with government partners that lead to long-term behaviour change
- Collaborative and astute communicator able to connect, communicate with and establish good working relationships with high level government counterparts, cross-functional teams across different levels of the organization and across geographies
- Decision maker: experience making decisions at a leadership level, getting buy-in and steering the teams you work with to implement them
What else do you need to know?
As an education systems strategist you will lead product strategy that is focused on behaviour and policy change through working with an education system and the stakeholders within it.
Qualifications and Profile
- Dynamic experience in public sector preferred, with a background in change management, consultancy, innovation leadership or large scale government reforms, preferably in sub-Saharan Africa
- Demonstrated ability to operate well in complex and fast-changing environments.
- 8+ years work experience, with 5+ years of management and/or leadership experience
- Strategic thinker, with demonstrated understanding of education system and education reform strategies
- Experience of collaborative design and facilitation techniques, in a public sector or social impact setting.
- Passion for Educate!’s mission is a must, but past work in education or youth development is not required. We value diverse perspectives and encourage applications from people with a variety of backgrounds.
- Fits our Five Cultural Tenets (see What is Educate! About? below); Learn more by looking at Educate!’s culture deck here
- This role will have significant travel time to Tanzania
Location and Time Zones
- Candidates of based in East African are strongly encouraged to apply
- Candidates outside of East Africa may be considered as long as they are able to travel and spend a significant amount of time in Tanzania
What Is Educate! About?
We’re ambitious. Are you? Educate! is growing fast, so new opportunities are opening up and expanding all the time. We’re inspired by people with drive, and we love to help them reach their full potential. We expect everyone at Educate! to contribute above and beyond their job description, grow their skills, and advance their careers, and we are committed to supporting our staff members on that journey.
- We Put Youth First - The youth we serve come first. Always. In everything. That means we wake up thinking of ways we can serve youth even better and get the highest impact out of every dollar that we spend. It means Educate! doesn’t own a single vehicle, because we’d rather take the bus if it means one more student can participate. It means making every decision like the future depends on it — because if we get our way, it does.
- We Are Always Learning - When you work at Educate!, educating yourself is part of your job too. We encourage every employee to find the best book on management; share the latest article on graphic design; bring in your favorite college mentor; or meet the researcher pushing the edge of the field. We are always thirsty for knowledge and love to share.
- We Only Solve a Problem Once - We are allergic to band-aids so we love the person who brings the new system to solve the problem for good, even problems we haven’t recognized yet.
- We Are Flexible - We thrive on change — we’re driving it. We are growing every day, so we have to adapt quickly to meet new challenges, and our team keeps up.
- We Exceed Expectations - We assume we can achieve the impossible because we already have, year after year. We want our staff to create your own challenges, ask the toughest questions, and dream scary big!
Every person at Educate! — from interns to the executive director — is evaluated by how they live up to these five cultural tenets. They are at the core of how we achieve our mission and why we work as well as we do.
Educate is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all who interact in our community. In creating this environment, we encourage people from a variety of cultures, backgrounds and life experiences to join our diverse team.