Educate – Product Strategist – Out of School Youth (Kenya).

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Position Overview 

Educate is a fast-growing and award-winning social enterprise, is looking for a Product Strategist to lead development of an innovative new product for out-of-school youth. We’re looking for someone open-minded, driven, and passionate about impact, who has been part of building a product that achieved product-market fit and understands lean start-up approaches.

In our first ten years, Educate! became the biggest youth skills provider in East Africa by scaling our proven in-school model to impact hundreds of thousands of youth in Uganda and Rwanda. In 2021, our top priority across the organization is testing and developing a bootcamp model for out-of-school youth, beginning in Uganda. We already have evidence that this type of model can lead to better life outcomes for youth and are looking for the right person to lead development of a model that can ultimately be scaled to reach hundreds of thousands of out-of-school youth across multiple countries, providing an alternative to secondary school for a huge and underserved segment of African youth. 

The Product Strategist for out-of-school youth will also join a dynamic leadership team committed to organizational and professional growth. 

About Educate! 

Educate prepares youth in Africa with the skills to succeed in today’s economy. 

We tackle youth unemployment by partnering with youth, schools, and governments to design and deliver solutions that equip young people in Africa with the skills to attain further education, overcome gender inequities, start businesses, get jobs, and drive development in their communities. Our goal is to design skills-based education and employment solutions which impact youth life outcomes sustainably and at scale.

In 2019, we partnered with the governments of Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya and measurably impacted over 46,000 youth in and out of schools while reaching 470,000 learners more broadly, making us the biggest youth skills providers in East Africa. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve pivoted to create and deploy a distance learning model based on our proven in-school experience, and reached over 100,000 students by October 2020. 

Two rigorous external evaluations of our flagship in-school model, including a randomized controlled trial, found that towards the end of secondary school, participants of our program earn nearly double the income of their peers. A follow-up RCT found that four years later, youth achieve strong and lasting shifts in skills, coupled with significant improvements in education and gender equity-related outcomes, especially young women. Our graduates change their lives and their communities.

Educate! supports governments with integrating skills-based curriculum nationally. This includes partnering with Uganda’s government to integrate curriculum and a Student Business Club structure into Uganda’s entrepreneurship course nationally and serving as a technical advisor to both Rwanda and Kenya on national education reforms.

Educate! is a non-profit social enterprise with over 160 staff and 300 volunteer youth mentors. We have been backed by top foundations such as MasterCard, Big Bang Philanthropy, Echoing Green, Ashoka and Global Innovation Fund. 

Educate!’s long-term vision is to design solutions that measurably impact millions of youth across Africa each year.

Key Performance Objectives

This is a new role that will drive our top organizational priority in a very adaptive time for the organization. As a result, the functions and objectives of the role are subject to change and the ideal person for this role will be comfortable with and excited to take on a role that is dynamic and evolving. The core function of this role will be out-of-school youth product strategy, and some of your key objectives will be to:Plan, review, and prioritize medium- and long-term goals for serving this new segment of youth

  • Lead product development process, including facilitating strategic input from existing country leadership and implementation teams
  • Set the research and learning agenda for out-of-school youth products and coordinate the discovery process with the team
  • Set product discovery and validation strategy in line with organization objectives and revenue strategy
  • Ensure the cost model for the program is aligned with the overall strategy and Educate!’s product investment framework
  • Ensure behaviour change insights are included in the learning agenda and inform program model development and iterations
  • Oversee evaluation and ensure strategy responds to impact data
  • Identify and propose systems/structures for experimentation to create efficient delivery mechanisms
  • Identify and strategically manage key risks facing the strategy
  • Support the out-of-school youth team in understanding and execution of experiments and program strategy

Qualifications and Profile

  • Dynamic experience highly preferred, with demonstrated ability to operate well in complex and fast-changing environments
  • The ideal candidate has worked in a very early-stage startup that was trying to achieve product-market fit
  • Familiarity with the lean startup approach is strongly preferred
  • Minimum eight years of work experience (more likely needed)
  • Experience working with diverse stakeholders and managing many priorities
  • 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. Background working with youth in the informal sector would be an asset.
  • Fits our Five Cultural Tenets (see What is Educate! About? below); 

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. We Exceed Expectations – We assume we can achieve the impossible because we already have, year after year. We want our staff to create their 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.

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