Job Opportunity: Associate - Lean Impact Programme (South Africa - freelance)

We are looking for social impact professionals based in South Africa with experience in the early childhood development (ECD) sector to join our team to work on a new programme to scale ambitious solutions to improve ECD outcomes using Lean Impact approaches.

About the Role

Spring Impact is launching a new programme in South Africa to scale ambitious solutions to improve Early Childhood Development (ECD) outcomes using Lean Impact approaches.

The programme aims to shift the social sector’s approach to scaling impact by raising awareness of Lean methods and building organisational and individual capacity to test and learn for impact at scale.

We seek associates to work with us on this programme – to bring contextual knowledge of South Africa and the ECD sector and use their skills to support organisations to increase their impact.

Application process:

The deadline to apply is 9 am Monday, 24th July (SAST), but applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis – please apply immediately.

We will use methods to identify applications completed using AI technology, and those who have will not be selected for interview.

Type of role: 

Associates will be engaged through a contract-based professional services agreement with Spring Impact. The duration of this work programme will be 6 months but could be up to 1.5 years.


Associates will be working on projects based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

We are seeking home-based associates within South Africa, ideally in Johannesburg or within easy travelling distance to the city. Experience living and working in South Africa is essential to ensure a strong understanding of the cultural, social and economic context.

Most work can be conducted online, but visits to project bases will be required. The project teams will define the length and frequency of these visits, but this could look like 1-2 visits lasting 3-5 days within six months (also see ‘Time commitment and timeline’ section below).

Consider Spring Impact has a limited budget for travel time and expenses for travel within South Africa related to programme activities. Access to internet services suitable for participating in online meetings is essential.

Role overview:

This is an exciting opportunity for action-led individuals to work with some of the most impactful ECD organisations in South Africa and help them to achieve even more through their activities.

We will be working in depth with two ‘beacon organisations’ working in the ECD space in South Africa to support them in advancing their scale strategies through Lean experimentation. Beyond this, we will also work with other organisations on Lean Impact training.

Associates will collaborate with other members of the Spring Impact team to support these mission-driven organisations through the planning and testing process. This involves facilitating and guiding the organisation to identify risks associated with their core intervention, running rapid experiments in the real world, and using learnings to tailor their plan for scaling impact. Throughout the programme, technical guidance on Spring Impact’s scaling approaches, responding to challenges, and ongoing capacity building will be provided by the Spring Impact team.

Time commitment and timeline:

We are seeking associates for initially 3 days per month for 6 months. There may be the opportunity for further work of 1 day per month for another 12 months.

  • The work with the first beacon organisation will begin in mid-August, with some exploration and project planning with the internal team from mid-late July.
  • The work with the second beacon organisation will begin in September, with some exploration and project planning with the internal team from August.

Role responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with the Spring Impact staff team to develop consulting approaches relevant and appropriate to the South African context, taking into account the needs of the organisation(s) you are working with:
    • Draft, input into, review and comment on materials for the workshops and training for scaling organisations.
    • Liaise with the Spring Impact consulting team and Programme Manager to ensure logistics, data collection and any communication or learning points are shared.
  • Work with one or more beacon organisations, taking them through the Lean Impact programme and tailoring the support to the needs of the organisation to enable them to develop and test plans for scaling:
    • Help organisation(s) through their scaling journey, bringing local context, sector expertise, critical thinking and problem-solving to their team.
    • Develop and facilitate workshops and meetings that support the organisation(s) to progress their plans.
    • Prepare draft reports, models and presentations for the organisation(s) to use as part of their scaling journey.
    • Respond to queries, problems or ideas put forward by the organisation(s), seeking guidance from the Spring Impact staff team where necessary.
  • Act as a critical friend, coach, mentor or advisor to the organisation(s) you are working with based on their needs.
  • Regularly review progress with the organisation(s) and Spring Impact staff team.
  • Contribute to the broader programme through monitoring, learning and influencing in a way that shifts attitudes and practice towards encouraging Lean approaches.

Role relationships: 

  • Line management from the Spring Impact programmes team in the UK.
  • Planning and co-delivering with the Spring Impact consulting team in the UK & US.
  • Advising/consulting with ECD organisations in South Africa.
  • Sharing learnings with external stakeholders as required.

Desired qualifications:

Essential experience & competencies:

  • 5+ years experience of working and/or volunteering in the social, charity, public or education sectors in South Africa, bringing deep knowledge of the ECD sector, which could include:
    • A broad network amongst civil society and government actors involved in ECD work.
    • Experience working with communities directly impacted by the issue area to learn about their needs, goals, values and perspectives and ensure those voices are included and heard.
    • Understanding of a relevant system, e.g. child protection, child welfare
  • Experience in providing advice to organisations, which could include supporting organisations to develop a strategy and implement change – this could be as a consultant or external advisor
  • An interest in learning about scaling impact, particularly Lean approaches, and how this could support the wider civil society sector in South Africa beyond the lifetime of this programme
  • A strong commitment to the inclusion of marginalised, disadvantaged or otherwise discriminated groups in their work and promoting their involvement in the work of others

Desirable experience & competencies:

  • Experience of living in South Africa as a child or young person would be an advantage.
  • Experience of participating in or benefiting from ECD support as a child or parent/guardian would be an advantage.
  • Knowledge or experience of Lean Impact approaches.
  • Strong facilitation and coaching skills.
  • Experience working on capacity-building programmes.
  • Experience designing prototypes, analysing data, and making data-driven decisions to build impactful solutions at scale.

Payment of fees:

Spring Impact will offer a competitive daily rate, to be discussed as part of the application process. Successful applicants will need to be self-employed in a tax and legal sense.

See the ‘Location’ section above for details on travel expenses.

Other benefits:

Spring Impact is seeking to establish long-term partnerships with self-employed associates to deliver a range of global projects. This may present future opportunities for candidates passionate about delivering social impact at scale and who can effectively work with us to provide our mission and values.

Spring Impact will provide a complete induction process in the methodologies it uses. Any reimbursement for training and development will be agreed as part of the contracting process. Associates will also be able to shadow other Spring Impact employees to further their knowledge of approaches to scaling social impact.

About Spring Impact:

Spring Impact is on a mission to scale social impact so that great ideas change more lives. We aim to enable a sustainable and successful scale of social impact so that organisations and funders can address the world’s social problems at scale and bring about profound change. Over the last 10 years, we have worked with over 300 ambitious teams worldwide, helping them positively transform an ever-increasing number of lives.

Spring Impact understands that to provide the best possible advice to our diverse client base across a wide range of sectors, we are strongest when our team has a variety of experience, expertise, and insights to draw from. For us, diversity is an essential part of our organisational success. We are committed to ensuring that Spring Impact is an inclusive environment for all, regardless of race, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, age, religion, and socioeconomic background. This commitment applies to both permanent employees and associates.

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