A Powerful Alliance for Global Education and Learning


The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation is delighted to join forces with the MasterCard Foundation for an initial three–year partnership which will span across three key areas of activity: global commitment to non-formal education and learning, regional impact across Africa, and individual outcomes in key African countries.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation and the MasterCard Foundation are both driven by a shared value to develop world-ready transformative leaders by providing young people with the opportunity to reach beyond their circumstances to build a brighter future for themselves and allow them to thrive.

With 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, Africa has the largest population of young people in the world. According to the World Bank, these young people account for 60 percent of all of Africa’s unemployed citizens. The global COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the rise in unemployment, and this has been felt most keenly amongst young people.

Pairing formal education with opportunities for learning outside the classroom and the development of universal skills such as leadership, resilience, adaptability, and collaboration, is critical to ensuring young people can thrive, seek meaningful employment, and contribute to their communities. The need for such opportunities in Africa is clear.


Stephen Peck, Chief Operating Officer at the International Award Foundation, says:

We are delighted to be partnering with the MasterCard Foundation on this exciting three-year partnership. We believe in the infinite potential of today’s young people and know that with the right support and opportunity they have a lasting chance for success.

Africa is one of the Award’s fastest growing regions, which makes this partnership all the more relevant and we hope the benefits will be experienced by hundreds of young people, and their communities, across the continent.


Duaa Mohamed, Transformative Leadership Lead at the MasterCard Foundation, says:

As a Foundation, we believe that young people are the key to driving inclusive and equitable socio-economic change in Africa. Our Scholars Program is anchored in this vision, and we firmly believe that this partnership will have a formidable impact on Scholars’ transformative leadership skills and mindsets.

The partnership will cover three core areas:

Individual: Developing Transformative Leaders

Young people taking part in the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme will have the opportunity to take part in the Award at Gold level. Gold Award holders and Mastercard Foundation Scholars alike are recognised internationally as exceptional young people who can be a driving force for change in their communities. Bringing the two programmes together further develops the universal skills of these young people and will propel them into the world as Transformative Leaders.

Regional: Digital Transformation

The Mastercard Foundation and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation have shared objectives to strengthen systems so that young people can acquire the skills needed for market growth. Our partnership can support the removal of barriers to adoption of the Award framework in remote communities, such as lack of access to internet connection, mobile phones, and computers. Using technology to drive impact and scale, we will ensure the Award is delivered in an inclusive and accessible way, and increasing access for the most vulnerable young people.

Global: Championing non-formal education and learning across the world

The challenges facing the world’s young people are stark. The need for solutions to help them tackle these head-on has never been greater, and the case for non-formal education has never been stronger. As a partner, the Mastercard Foundation will support the work of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation in its aim to transform the perception of non-formal education amongst policymakers, influencers, and employers worldwide and make a commitment to ensure diverse development opportunities are available to our young people, the transformative leaders of tomorrow.

Are you interested in partnering with us?

Get in touch with our Corporate Partnerships team today at [email protected] | Corporate – Intaward