The first cohort of 10 young impact associates (YIA) program in Kenya graduated on Friday in Nairobi after a one year professional development and leadership program in Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL).
The young professionals aged between 21 and 35 graduated on Friday and are the first cohort of the MasterCard Foundation YIA Program in Kenya, which was launched in 2022, with the aspiration to engage and inspire a new and dynamic generation of young African professionals to transform the impact measurement field.
The Mastercard Foundation’s partnership with Research PLUS Africa involved designing, managing, and delivering the YIA program’s one-year training curriculum, integrating context-relevant impact theory and practice, leadership development, and on-the-job experience.
The Young Impact Associates were selected through a rigorous, competitive, and public process that ensured inclusivity by encouraging persons with disabilities, those from vulnerable groups, and women to apply.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Salline Handa, Team Lead for the impact partner organization Research PLUS Africa, said: “Africa is home to many development programs; the YIA platform is an excellent opportunity to develop home-grown skills that will elevate the MEL space into one that recognizes the uniqueness of our continent and applies methodologies that are empathetic to the African context.
We are excited to partner with the MasterCard Foundation and to be part of an ecosystem that does not only channel out professionals but also examines their interest in the development space, equips them with the necessary skills, and provides them with an opportunity for pupillage under the wings of senior local MEL professionals.
We are in a unique space to not only grow individuals but to enrich the value chain in evaluating programs through locally grown expertise.
We look forward to continually decolonizing the MEL space and providing actionable insights for program implementation and evaluation.”
The graduates of the program lauded the program for having provided them with valuable knowledge and skills in monitoring and evaluation.
Antonio Capillo, Director of MEL Innovation and Impact Labs at the Mastercard Foundation, added that “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.
We wish the young graduates the very best in their journey and anticipate their leading impact on the continent.”
The first phase of the YIA Program was developed by the MasterCard Foundation Impact Team and its Impact Partner Organizations (IPOs) in five Young Africa Works strategy countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, and Nigeria).
The first cohort of 59 Young Impact Associates from the five countries is approaching graduation over the coming months.