Focus Areas

Capturing & Sharing Learning

Learning is central to everything we do at Gatsby.

We look across the globe for experts and learning that can help guide our programmes and the institutions we support.  

We commission and conduct research, and form learning partnerships with organisations that have complementary skills.

Staff visit other countries to learn from success elsewhere, often taking key stakeholders with them to support their learning and to help them visualise the potential in their own sectors.  We also support visits to East Africa by experts, seeking to build connections and relationships with local stakeholders.

Within programmes, we test multiple models and share the results with stakeholders to help inform their decision-making.  We monitor our interventions closely, testing whether our assumptions are holding and whether we are delivering impact – we adapt fast to our learning and changes in the external environment.

To do this, we strive to create a vibrant organisational learning culture based on asking questions, testing assumptions, seeking and giving constructive feedback, sharing both successes and failures, and seeing the only true failure as a failure to learn.


We believe it's crucial to understand trends and what they mean over the medium- and long-term for East Africa – this will help make sure we are positioned to support the region in the most impactful way in the future.

As such, we have partnered with Msingi and Kenya Markets Trust to launch Horizon East Africa.  Horizon will develop forward-looking reports aiming to contribute to the conversation about East Africa’s future, and help governments, donors, firms and citizens to better mitigate risks and grasp the opportunities to come. 

Horizon's first report explores seven region-level trends in East Africa's fast-changing landscape:

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Click here to learn more about Horizon.


With our partner organisations, we are already running 11 sector programmes.  While this is a significant footprint in East Africa - with the potential to benefit 25 million people - many other sectors also need support.  

As a private foundation, we have the flexibility and freedom to both trial new ways of working and be honest about our failures as well as our successes.  By sharing our learning we hope to help others - such as donors and governments - who have the ability to operate on a much greater scale than we do, but face certain restrictions and pressures that we don’t.

Foundations can take risks and innovate in ways that are very difficult for government, and I strongly believe they should play this role.
David Sainsbury, Founder of Gatsby

In this way, we aim to contribute to a wider movement, and to see a series of sectors in East Africa and beyond transformed by us and by others. This would lead to large-scale and lasting change, accelerating economic growth, creating jobs, raising incomes and reducing poverty.

how to get involved

We are eager to share what we learn and to gather lessons from others engaged in similar work.  We also want to better understand the challenges others are facing in their efforts to support economic transformation, so that we can focus our learning and sharing on the topics most relevant to Gatsby and to others.

To register your interest in this and to start a conversation with us, please get in touch by emailing


We are partnering with the Overseas Development Institute to learn more about how economic transformation happens.  We want to better understand what factors and conditions drive or hold back economic transformation. Click here to learn more.

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