Demonstrating the impact of educational migration on students and their communities.
Johannes Haushofer is an academic entrepreneur who was involved in the initial research study on GiveDirectly and founded the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Kenya, among other efforts. He started out with a PhD in Neurobiology from Harvard, but decided he wanted to have an impact on global poverty, so he got a PhD in Economics from the University of Zurich. He now teaches at Stockholm University, which has provided him with a platform to pursue practical programs to solve real world problems. Curious and open, Johannes also publishes a ‘CV of Failures’, as referenced inthis Washington Post article. Sixty percent of global income inequality is determined solely by country of birth, yet most development efforts mainly focus on transforming the productivity of places, rather than facilitating the movement of people to places of opportunity. While unconditional cash transfers can increase income by up to about25%, educational mobility has the potential to generate moredramatic increases; for example, those with a Bachelor’s degree in Germany earn about 5 times more than those with a Bachelor’s degree in Uganda, and 19 times more than those with a high school diploma. Recognizing this potential, Johannes has launched Malengo, a charity which facilitates international educational migration of high-school graduates from low-income countries by helping them to obtain undergraduate degrees at European universities that offer free or low-cost tuition – its first cohort consists of Ugandans studying in Germany. Malengo's goal is to support thousands of students studying overseas, transforming their own lives and their home communities. Beyond the dramatic impacts on the participants – who, despite having graduated high school, would otherwise face limited employment opportunities – Malengo is important because it could contribute to a global shift in perspective and policy on the role of mobility in poverty reduction. Early data has shown that students are already sending a substantial amount of remittances from their earnings in part-time student jobs, which means the economic impacts could extend to students' families and communities. UP is supporting Johannes in bringing together a leadership team and building an organization to turn this compelling research and initial pilot into a full-fledged and scalable venture.
We named Johannes Haushofer as an awardee of our extraordinary leader search and made a seed investment in Malengo in May 2022. Johannes and the team have been able to validate the model in terms of recruiting and placing students and setting up the legal structure for income share agreements (ISAs). Malengo has developed an ambitious plan to expand operations with the goal of reducing the need for philanthropic capital to <1% of operating costs in 3 years and has secured their first anchor private investor for the ISAs. UP has made a follow-on funding commitment to Malengo for the next year’s operations and expansion, in collaboration with the Livelihood Impact Fund. Learn more about Johannes Haushofer and Malengo here.