Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda



Type of Investment


Project Stage

Test & Transition

Length of Investment


Investment Overview

Educate! Delivers entrepreneurship training, mentorship programmes and business clubs to develop skills based education to better prepare youth for today’s economy. GIF invested in Educate!’s growth in Uganda and randomised evaluation to assess the impacts of the model.


The Development Challenge

Youth unemployment remains a huge challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa, where young people are twice as likely to be unemployed as any other age cohort. Access to secondary education is accelerating but education systems are not designed to prepare youth for the demands of the labour market. Meanwhile, there is an abundance of evidence showing strong associations between non-cognitive or soft skills and employment and other life outcomes, and these may be particularly important for adolescent girls who face additional discriminatory barriers and additional internal constraints relating to aspirations, self-efficacy and leadership.


The Innovation

The Educate! Experience is a gender-blind leadership and social entrepreneurship programme delivered in the last two years of secondary school by practically-trained youth mentors. The program teaches youth soft skills, including both interpersonal skills like, communication and teamwork and intra-personal skills such as self-confidence, critical thinking, creativity, and grit.The Educate! Programme aims at leveraging leadership and entrepreneurial approaches and skills to innovatively pursue opportunities that catalyse social change and/or address social needs. It comprises a 35 lesson leadership and social entrepreneurship course and one-on-one personal development and mentorship by a youth mentor. Educate! sessions feature an interactive style and are student-centred in stark contrast with standard Ugandan passive learning methods.


Our Investment

GIF provided $609,674 in test and transition funding ($300,000 in 2015 and a further $309,674 in 2017). The investment focussed on expanding the Educate! Experience within an additional 250 schools in Uganda. GIF investment also supported undertaking a randomised controlled trial in partnership with researchers from the University of California-Berkeley, the World Bank, and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). Lastly, our grant aimed to strengthen Educate!’s partnership with the Ugandan Government in providing technical, strategic, and implementation support to improve the national curriculum and quality of teacher training.


Progress to date

By December 2017 Educate! Had successfully expanded the reach of the programme to 502 schools in Uganda, reaching over 19,000 students.

The GIF-funded randomised controlled trial showed that, four years after the programme, Educate! graduates improved soft skills such as creativity, grit, ability to manage stress, and self-efficacy relative to non-Educate! graduates. Educate! graduates are statistically more likely to complete high school, with young women 6.9% more likely to complete secondary education, almost enough to virtually close the gender gap in completion rates. Female graduates are also 25% more likely to enrol in tertiary education and are 22% more likely to select business and STEM majors in university.

Educate! Have used the results from this evaluation and other programmes to rapidly expand its reach, having measurably impacted 250,000 youth across Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya to date, with an ambitious plan to expand into new countries and reach up to 400,000 people by 2025.


Educate! in numbers


Youth benefiting from Educate!’s programmes in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda to date.


Of young women partaking in Educate! programmes completed high school