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  • Writer's pictureLalaina Rafanomezantsoa

Pulling Back the Curtain on our Unique Approach to Recruiting CSE Educators

A group of middle school students in black and white uniforms walk with their arms around each other towards a small two story school building in a rural setting. In the middle locking arms with them is a female PJL Educator.

Our interviews look nothing like a traditional interview. You won’t see any stacks of CVs or rigid conversations around here.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been recruiting our newest cohort of Projet Jeune Leader CSE Educators. It’s a unique and essential role: we’re looking for dynamic young adults who are enthusiastic about working in rural public middle schools to deliver our comprehensive sexuality education program.

It’s why our approach to recruitment is, in itself, unique and essential. We’ve intentionally designed a hiring process that lets our candidates’ imagination and passion shine.

Phase 1: An open call for candidates

It all starts with an announcement on our Facebook page — a single post which reaches over 64,000 people organically! The announcement is a sensation; over the past few years, the role of PJL Educator has become well-known across Madagascar.

The announcement stipulates that only the first 120 candidates will be invited into our office for the first-round interview on the designated day.

When the day arrives, our candidates are already lined up bright and early, circling the block around our office in Ambositra. The excitement — and nerves — are palpable. Each candidate has brought their unique path and ambition, but with a common dream of becoming a PJL Educator.

A line of young adults is lined up on the sidewalk against a large orange building with a large Projet Jeune Leader sign.
Excitement bright and early in front of our office as the first day of interviews gets going!

Phase 2: Group interview

Our 120 candidates are then welcomed inside for a group interview. As soon as they walk through the doors, the magic really starts. We want to model the kind of infectious energy that we’re seeking in our candidates. Our recruitment team — comprised of Chrystian (Technical Manager) and myself, Lalaina (Technical Coordinator) — is intentional about putting our candidates at ease so that they can show us their best selves.

In this convivial environment, we put our candidates to the test. They undergo a series of simulation activities designed to show their teamwork skills, communication and public speaking skills, and creativity. These skills and qualities are, for us, much more important to their success than the professional and academic experiences that a CV would spotlight. We want our recruitment process to be inclusive to candidates who may not have had the privilege of formal professional experience.

It’s why our first assessment round uses role plays and group simulations, which we’ve found to be a better way to identify innate leadership potential. For example, to assess their creativity and adaptability, we ask each candidate to pick a question out of a hat. The candidate must then present a well-organized, clearly stated response to the prompt. It’s a way for us to see how the candidate reacts when put on the spot, while communicating clearly and succinctly. It’s a challenge they will be confronted with daily as a PJL Educator!

A young man and a young woman, both wearing black t-shirts with the yellow Projet Jeune Leader logo, sit behind a large table covered in papers, smiling at the camera.
Chrystian and me (Lalaina) at the end of a long day of interviews last month!

Phase 3: Rigorous pre-selection

Following the group interview, we meticulously discuss each candidate and identify the 40 most promising candidates. We’re intentional about narrowing down a group that represents a diversity of skills, experiences, and perspectives.

Phase 4: In-depth individual interviews

These shining candidates are then invited to individual interviews. This step allows us to get to know the candidates more personally, delving into their professional journeys to date, their motivation, and their aspirations. We also assess their willingness to work in rural, sometimes challenging, sites.

These individual interviews have another crucial purpose: to evaluate whether the candidates believe in and share Projet Jeune Leader’s vision, mission, and values. In particular, we are looking for candidates who demonstrate positive attitudes around gender equality and sexual and reproductive health.

Finally, we ask each candidate to “teach” a class, with Chrystian and myself simulating the roles of 8th grade students. It’s a chance for the candidate to show us their pedagogical skills, ability to explain complex concepts simply, and ability to keep students engaged.

20 new PJL Educators are selected!

Hours and hours of deliberation later… we select our 20 newest Educators! Our selection criteria is not only based on their technical skills, but also on their enthusiasm and passion for being an agent of change in the lives of young adolescents. We’re thrilled to welcome 20 exceptional young adults to our team!

A month of intensive training

Our newest cohort soon begins the first step in their journey as a PJL Educator: four weeks of intensive training. Through the training, they deepen their understanding of our mission and build the skills critical to being a PJL Educator — learning about participatory pedagogy and mastering the content in our curriculum. What’s more, the training is an opportunity for us to integrate our newest colleagues in Projet Jeune Leader’s culture and foster a strong peer community.


And with that, another recruitment cycle concludes! It’s a special process that allows us to identify talented young leaders. Each step is intentionally designed to let candidates’ excellence and dedication shine. Every one of our PJL Educators is responsible for crafting an engaging, vibrant learning experience in their work. Our recruitment process mirrors this mission.

We’re confident that our newest PJL Educators are ready to make their mark! Congratulations and good luck!

A group of around twenty young adults stand in a group and make silly poses. They are standing on a school courtyard in rural Madagascar. Some one-story buildings are visible in the background.
The new cohort visits one of our partner middle schools as part of their training program.


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