- Ten young Kenyan professionals, ranging in age from 21 to 35, have successfully completed the rigorous one-year Young Impact Associates (YIA) Program in Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL).
- The Mastercard Foundation joined forces with Research PLUS Africa to design, oversee, and deliver the YIA program's comprehensive one-year training curriculum.
- Antonio Capillo, Director of MEL Innovation and Impact Labs at the Mastercard Foundation, emphasized the YIA Program's mission to empower young African professionals to lead the transformation of the impact field.
Ten young Kenyan professionals, ranging in age from 21 to 35, have successfully completed the rigorous one-year Young Impact Associates (YIA) Program in Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL).
The graduation ceremony took place at the prestigious Emara Ole Sereni Hotel in Nairobi, marking a significant milestone for these emerging talents in the field of MEL.
The YIA Program, initiated by the Mastercard Foundation in 2022, draws inspiration from the legacy of the late Sulley Gariba, a Ghanaian thought leader in MEL and International Development.
Its overarching goal is to empower a new generation of dynamic African professionals to revolutionize the Impact Measurement domain, placing young experts with MEL expertise at the forefront of development initiatives.
This transformative program's first phase was collaboratively crafted by the Mastercard Foundation Impact Team and Impact Partner Organizations (IPOs) in five Young Africa Works strategy countries, namely Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, and Nigeria.
While the inaugural cohort of 59 Young Impact Associates from these countries approaches graduation, Kenya proudly celebrates the commencement of ten remarkable Young Impact Associates.
Ultimately, the YIA Program aspires to provide participants with access to dignified and fulfilling job opportunities in the realm of MEL, fostering an environment where young MEL professionals are central to the development communities in Kenya and across Africa.
The Mastercard Foundation joined forces with Research PLUS Africa to design, oversee, and deliver the YIA program's comprehensive one-year training curriculum.
This curriculum seamlessly integrates context-specific Impact theory and practice, leadership development, and hands-on experience.
Importantly, the selection process for Young Impact Associates was meticulous and open to all, prioritizing inclusivity by encouraging individuals with disabilities, vulnerable backgrounds, and women to apply.
Throughout the multi-disciplinary program, Young Impact Associates had the privilege of enhancing their knowledge and competencies across core development areas.
These encompassed the fundamentals of MEL, evaluation design and management, data management and analysis, Made-in-Africa evaluation principles, soft skills, interpersonal practice, and a deep understanding of the job market.
The Team Lead for the impact partner organization Research PLUS Africa Salline Handa emphasized the significance of nurturing local talent within the MEL sector.
"We are excited to partner with the Mastercard Foundation and to be part of an ecosystem that does not only channel out professionals, but one that examines their interest in the development space, equips them with the necessary skills and provides them an opportunity for pupillage under the wings of senior local MEL professionals," Handa stated.
"We are in a unique space to not only grow individuals but to enrich the value chain in evaluating programmes through locally grown expertise. We look forward to continually decolonize the MEL space and provide actionable insights for programme implementation and evaluation.”
Faith Ronoh-Boreh, Program Lead at Research PLUS Africa also shared her insights on the program.
“The Young Impact Associates Programme is dear to our hearts. It aligns to our vision of taking research, and of course MEL, to greater heights in Africa and value on talent nurturing. This, for us, begins by demystifying what it is and grounding it in our reality. To ground and decolonize the concept, we fondly refer to it as Tathmin, which comes from the Swahili word “Tathmini,” which means “[to] evaluate” in English," Ronoh-Boreh said.
"Looking at the MEL space in Kenya and in Africa generally, locals do not really take up key roles in evaluation; much less young people in this space. I am truly excited to see Tathmins eager to pull up seats and sit at tables in this space, not as props but as significant contributors and thought leaders in this space.“
The graduates expressed their appreciation for the program's comprehensive curriculum, which not only equipped them with valuable knowledge and skills but also broadened their perspectives on monitoring and evaluation.
They now possess the confidence and readiness to apply the principles and methodologies they've acquired to real-world scenarios..
Antonio Capillo, Director of MEL Innovation and Impact Labs at the Mastercard Foundation, emphasized the YIA Program's mission to empower young African professionals to lead the transformation of the impact field.
"The Young Impact Associates (YIA) Program was launched to prepare and inspire a new and dynamic generation of young African professionals to innovate and lead the transformation of the impact field by placing youth, their communities, and partners at the core of how we understand, measure, and enable impact at scale," Capillo stated.
Capillo also conveyed his best wishes to the graduates, eagerly anticipating their future contributions to the continent.
"We wish the young graduates the very best in their journey and anticipate their leading impact on the continent," he added.
As the first cohort of Young Impact Associates steps into the professional world, their journey serves as an inspiring example of the potential for young African professionals to reshape the landscape of Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning in Kenya and beyond.