Archived News - 2014

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December 2014

YSEALI Generation: Power of Human Capital Exchange, Singapore, December 2014

In partnership with the U.S. Department of State, Making Cents is organizing the YSEALI Generation: Power of Human Capital Exchange in Singapore from December 3-7, 2014. 

The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) was launched by President Obama to deepen America’s engagement with the next generation of leaders in government and civil society, in education and in entrepreneurship. The YSEALI Generation exchanges are designed for YSEALI members to strengthen professional leadership skills, network, share experiences and ideas so they can return home better prepared to lead their communities.

The YSEALI Generation: Power of Human Capital Exchange will convene 60 young leaders from the 10 ASEAN member states who seek to strengthen their understanding of the workforce behavioral skills and competencies that employers seek, while laying the foundation for a meaningful and rewarding career for themselves and other young people in Southeast Asia.

November 2014

Making Cents Presents at Citi-Financial Times 2014 Financial Education Summit in Kuala Lumpur

At the Citi-Financial Times 2014 Financial Education Summit on November 5-6, 2014, Making Cents’ President Tim Nourse presented on “Maximizing Financial Education for Success.” Participants discussed the topics of workforce development and financial education, and emphasized the positive relationship between increased financial capability and young people's ability to find and advance in the workplace. Access the presentation here.

Webinar Recording - Understanding the Technology Skills Training Landscape: Framework and Tool

Microsoft and Making Cents International collaborated to offer “Understanding the Technology Skills Training Landscape: Framework and Tool” to support a common language and greater understanding of the unique role that each stakeholder plays in the youth workforce development field. This framework was released at the Clinton Global Initiative in September, 2014, and was presented in an online webinar format in November 2014.


This webinar brought together 50 participants from 11 countries in a discussion on drivers to invest in technology skills training, how leading technology skills training organizations consider trade-offs between scale, customization, and cost, and how the framework and tool can be used by funders/donors, implementers and others to map initiatives or investments as well as increase coordination between where one programs lets off and another picks up. Two live webinars were offered to accommodate global participation.


Watch the webinar here.

October 2014

Network Facilitation, The Rockefeller Foundation 2014-2015

Making Cents International has been given a grant by The Rockefeller Foundation to establish a network of the Foundation's Digital Jobs Africa (DJA) grantees offering digital training and job placement for poor or vulnerable youth and other stakeholders. The goal of this work is to form and support a demand-driven and sustainable network that serves as a platform for grantees to engage around issues they jointly agree are their highest priorities. Making Cents will conduct a rapid assessment with stakeholders, facilitate a series of network activities over one year, and develop a sustainability strategy for the network. Making Cents will also identify and document lessons on how network formation can advance the work of DJA, both in terms of its effectiveness as a mechanism in general and in its specific impact on network participants' priorities and performance.



2014 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit Supports More Sustainable and Scalable Programming

Making Cents convened 470 participants from 70 countries in Washington D.C. October 6-8 for the 8th annual Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit. Participants exchanged information and resources and developed new partnerships with the goal of increasing the scale and sustainability of programming for positive youth development and programming. Visit for more information.

September 2014

Microsoft Launches the Making Cents authored “Understanding the Youth Workforce Development Technology Skills Training Landscape” at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Commissioned by Microsoft, Making Cents offers this framework to support development of a common language and greater understanding of the unique role that each stakeholder can play in the youth workforce development field. This Global Landscape Review is designed to inform and augment Microsoft’s YouthSpark program.  Download here.


To accompany this launch, Making Cents International’s Founder & CEO published an op-ed on Devex titled, Technology Skills Training Critical for Low-Income Youth. Read here.



Updates from the Field

HAITI: Feed the Future Partnership: Northern Corridor

As a subcontractor to DAI under this USAID project, Making Cents is building local capacity in various agricultural value chains, while ensuring that women and vulnerable populations are present and active in these value chains. This month, two Making Cents staff members will travel to Cap Haitien to move forward gender inclusion and Micro & Small Enterprise engagement strategies in project activities.


Making Cents’ Gender Advisor is conducting on-going gender inclusion activities under the AVANSE project. This will involve meeting with project teams to discuss gender inclusion strategies for specific activities and holding a workshop for project staff on the gender inclusion approach.


Making Cents’ Senior Micro and Small Enterprise Development Specialist is meeting with AVANSE stakeholders to determine how Micro & Small Enterprises can strengthen agricultural markets within the project.  Making Cents will present options to the AVANSE project team, explain potential impacts, and how they could be monitored. AVANSE senior staff will consider these options to identify the best way to engage micro and small enterprises. Read More.


LEBANON: Industry Value Chain Development Program

Despite significant natural resources and advantages, many Lebanese products and services suffer from a lack of competitiveness. As a subcontractor to DAI under this project, LIVCD, Making Cents is supporting efforts to assist the Lebanese private sector and selected NGOs and Foundations to improve the competitiveness of selected value chains in rural areas of Lebanon.


To upgrade the NGO's institutional capacity, training focuses on 3 key areas: (i) project design, (ii) project implementation, and (iii) project management and reporting. The program also assesses and addresses specific needs of participating NGO’s.


This month, Making Cents’ interactive training delivery specialist is developing the capacity of an external service provider to deliver LIVCD’s NGO Capacity Building.  This will take stress off of the project team, while allowing for a greater number of NGO’s to benefit from capacity building trainings on behalf of LIVCD. Read More.


EGYPT: IFAD Rural Youth Financial Services Program

Under the IFAD agreement, Making Cents International is supporting PLAN Egypt’s objective of helping deliver youth savings and loan products, enhanced by access to enterprise development services through Youth Savings Groups (YSG) in rural areas of lower and Upper Egypt.


The project has adapted the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) model for youth, collaborated with Making Cents on the development of an enterprising life skills curriculum, and launched both the savings group and training components of the program.


To build skills and insure quality standards at all levels, Making Cents has developed Master Coaches who can train tens or hundreds of savings group leaders. The Master Coaches develop and coach savings group leaders to present the curriculum to young people through a coaching model.


This month, a Making Cents Master Trainer will meet with Enterprise Your Life Master Coaches to provide follow-on coaching and support. Enterprise Your Life Curriculum coaches in the field will be observed and Making Cents will facilitate discussion groups afterwards to gain feedback on the curriculum and training.


Making Cents will observe an Enterprise Your Life refresher course and meet with PLAN project staff to discuss monitoring and learning. Focus will be placed on adapting the VSLA methodology to youth and rolling out the life-skills training.  Learning from these meetings will contribute to a future learning report for the IFAD program. Read More.


NIGERIA: Support to Vulnerable Households for Accelerated Revenue Earnings (SHARE)

Building off of the Enterprise Your Life curriculum developed for use in Youth Savings Groups under IFAD support for PLAN Egypt, Making Cents has designed a new program called “Enterprise Your Household.” Making Cents’ Capacity Building and Curriculum Specialist is in Sokoto to test this new curriculum.


SHARE’s overall mission is to 42,000 households in three Nigerian states to increase agricultural production and incomes to provide better nutrition for their children.


Feedback and findings from curriculum testing with trainers and target beneficiaries will contribute to the final curriculum package for the SHARE project. Read More



Citi Foundation Partners with Making Cents International's 2014 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit and Knowledge Management Platform

Making Cents is looking forward to partnering with the Citi Foundation to promote the benefits of increasing investment within the workforce development space, as well as expanding employment opportunities for urban young people worldwide. The Citi Foundation joins Microsoft, Hilton Worldwide, USAID and RTI International as a leading sponsor for our 2014 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit.



Making Cents International is a Partner on a Winning ABE: ACCESS Consortium

Making Cents International is a member of the consortium led by Creative Associates International recently awarded a five-year Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract for the Advancing Basic Education: Access for All (ABE: ACCESS) program. Managed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3), ABE:ACCESS will establish a world-wide support mechanism to USAID Missions and Bureaus in addressing their education objectives in environments that may be, or have been affected, by crisis, fragility, lawlessness, and/ or conflict. Making Cents International will provide support to the crosscutting program issue, Youth Programming, focusing on entrepreneurship and financial services curriculum development, training, enterprise development, business skills, and institutional capacity building.



Technical Brief Published: "Youth, Technology & Economic Opportunities - Lessons Learned and Actionable Guidance"

Co-authored by Philip Auerswald of George Mason University and Fiona Macaulay, Making Cents International’s Founder and CEO, this technical brief shares global trends and innovations that highlight technology’s potential for moving the needle on youth employment worldwide. Learn how diverse technology-based tools and organizations are leading to more jobs and business prospects for young people, and how various actors can increase the range and quality of economic opportunities for youth through their funding, research, and ingenuity.


Making Cents International extends sincere thanks to the Citi Foundation for its generous support of the 2013 YouthTech initiative, and in particular, Jasmine Thomas. We also thank the contributors to YouthTech for generously sharing their experience, insight and visions for the future.


“Youth, Technology & Economic Opportunities” has been developed by Making Cents International’s Collaborative Learning & Action Institute for Increased Youth Economic Opportunities (CoLab) and forms part of our 2014 State of the Field in Youth Economic Opportunities Technical Brief Series. Download here.



Technical Brief Published: "Gender & Youth Economic Opportunities - Lessons Learned and Actionable Guidance"

Sex and gender play a central role in shaping economic opportunities for Adolescent Girls & Young Women (AGYW) and therefore a gender lens is needed to address related constraints and opportunities to determine when gender-specific versus gender-integrated programs are the most appropriate. Making Cents International’s 2013 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference highlighted the now almost universal awareness of the importance of focusing on gender within youth economic opportunities programming.


Making Cents International expresses its sincere gratitude to The MasterCard Foundation for its partnership on the production of these technical briefs, and for advancing knowledge and practice in the youth economic opportunities field. We also extend our thanks to all presenters who contributed to this learning publication at the 2013 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference.


This technical brief has been developed by Making Cents International’s Collaborative Learning & Action Institute for Increased Youth Economic Opportunities (CoLab) and forms part of our 2014 State of the Field in Youth Economic Opportunities Technical Brief Series. Download here.



Making Cents Selected as Exhibitor for the Innovation Marketplace at USAID's Frontiers in Development Forum

On September 18-19, 2014, USAID's second Frontiers in Development Forum will engage a dynamic community of global thought leaders and development practitioners to address the question: How will we eradicate extreme poverty by 2030? The Innovation Marketplace will be open to a broad audience and it will feature dynamic exhibits and its own Innovation Stage to showcase new ideas for reaching and aiding the extreme poor and to engage participants in more intimate problem-solving settings. Come and visit us in the Ronald Reagan Building, Washington DC! Learn more.



Generation Next: Innovations in Microfinance, 17th Microcredit Summit Campaign

Making Cents International will lead a workshop on "Successful Product Development and Delivery for the Next Generation& at the Microcredit Summit, which takes place in Merida, Mexico from September 3-5. Learn more.



“Advancing the FIELD” Conference: USAID-funded Meeting on Global Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Growth

Making Cents International’s Founder & CEO, Fiona Macaulay and President, Tim Nourse, will both speak at “Advancing the FIELD,” a USAID-funded meeting, taking place in Washington DC September 11-12, 2014.


As part of the Vocational Services track, Ms. Macaulay, along with representatives from NetHope and Microsoft, will explore global technology trends and the importance of digital skills to youth seeking employment. This session will take place at 11:00 AM on Friday, September 12.


Tim Nourse, President of Making Cents International delves into the key role that technology plays in youth financial inclusion programs. Three trends in technology are revolutionizing finance and in particular our ability to include unserved groups, especially youth in the formal financial sector.  They are: Mobility - or the ability to remain connected wherever we are, Ubiquity - where we all have access to high-powered tools (software) and Big Data - where number crunching programs enable analysis at an unprecedented scale.  While these trends will have an impact across all spheres of development, they can be harnessed in particular to promote financial inclusion, especially for youth. Tim will speak at 3:30 on Thursday, September 11. Read more.

August 2014

Update from the Field: Nigeria

Making Cents has been involved in the commercialization of agriculture in Nigeria for 8 years under the USAID funded MARKETS, Bridge to Markets II, and Markets II programs - initiatives that have collectively served over 200,000 farmers. Read more.


Continuing work in Nigeria under the USAID MARKETS II project, this month, Making Cents staff are in Abuja to i) conduct a collaborative Nutrition Enhancement Workshop that focuses on appropriate strategies and tools for integrating nutrition; ii) map a partnership with the World Bank FADAMA III project about engaging with farmers around agro business; and iii) increase the capacity of extension agents working with farmers to increase the profitability of their farming activities.



Technical Brief Published: "Evaluating Youth Economic Opportunities Programming - Lessons Learned and Actionable Guidance"

As donors and implementers increasingly seek rigorous learning from their youth-focused interventions, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) remains a key tool to support that learning and advance our understanding of what works, why, and in what context. Content for this analysis comes from researchers, implementers, funders, and presentations made at Making Cents International’s 2013 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit.


Making Cents International expresses our sincere appreciation to Kevin Hempel for his authorship of this technical brief and coordination of contributions. We also extend our gratitude to all of the Summit presenters who generously contributed their expertise and The MasterCard Foundation for its partnership on the production of the technical brief series, and for advancing knowledge and practice in the youth economic opportunities field.


This brief is the first installment of Making Cents Internationals’ 2014 State of the Field in Youth Economic Opportunity Technical Brief Series. The series is produced by Making Cents’ Knowledge Management Platform to Increase Youth Economic Opportunities. Download here.

July 2014

Youth and Agriculture Blog #3 Live Now

Practitioners are increasingly aware of the need to take into account gender issues to improve program effectiveness. But what does adopting a gender-lens mean for M&E and how is gender-sensitive M&E different? Clearly, disaggregating key indicators by male and female is not enough. A recording of Making Cents’ Apply It! Webinar with speakers from ICRW, Population Council, and the World Bank is now available. Watch it here. (135 people from 25 countries watched it live on July 29!)

June 2014

The Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit 2014 Agenda is Live

The Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit 2014 will take place Oct. 6-8 in Washington, DC. Designed for funders, implementers, policy makers, youth leaders, private sector companies, educators and researchers working to increase economic opportunities for young people, the summit attracts over 400 attendees from 50 countries. Now in its eighth year, the Summit agenda - featuring nearly 50 sessions & plenaries and speakers from over 35 countries - is designed to help you to CONNECT to colleagues, EXCHANGE information, and achieve greater IMPACT. Read more.



Enterprise Your Life™ Curriculum: Latest Addition to Making Cents International-s Suite of Entrepreneurship Curricula

Enterprise Your Life™ - Building the Capacity of Youth for Economic Engagement Curriculum - is an innovative, youth-focused training curriculum built upon coaching and applied learning methodologies and designed to transfer key enterprising life skills to youth to empower them to engage in a wide range of income generating activities. Through the use of short, targeted training sessions incorporating visual aids and learning activities, supplemented by on-going coaching, youth are able to develop the entrepreneurial mindset necessary for business success. Download the Enterprise Your Life™ - curriculum brochure to learn more and visit Curriculum Packages to learn more about all of Making Cents International’s curricula.



Making Cents President speaks at GSMA Mobile for Development event on mEmployment for Youth

How Can mEmployment Improve Youth Opportunities in Africa? Mobile technology is growing in Africa and the number of mobile connections has risen to 824 million in 2014 (an almost 75% market penetration). Public and private innovators are leveraging this near ubiquity of mobile technology to address youth employment and other issues.


Tim Nourse, Making Cent’s President, joins a lively discussion on how to ensure these solutions grow sustainably for greatest impact and how promising M4D (Mobiles for Development) solutions can play a role in helping to overcome the broader issue of youth unemployment. Read more.



R4D Global Education Event: School, Skills, and Livelihood: Linking Secondary Education to Employment

Fiona Macaulay, Founder & CEO of Making Cents International, speaks at R4D’s global education event exploring the latest evidence around the global skills gap. Over one-third of the world’s 200 million unemployed are young people, and youth unemployment, standing at 12%, is projected to rise over the next five years. If trends continue, youth unemployment will persist as a major barrier to economic growth and social welfare. The persistence of unemployment in many countries suggests a global mismatch between the skills that employers demand and the skills that workers are equipped to supply. This event marks a milestone in R4D’s work on secondary education and skills, and findings and recommendations from a recently completed research will be shared. Read more.

March 2014

Making Cents President speaks at the New York TechnologySalon on Youth Financial Inclusion

Mobiles and Youth Financial Inclusion: What are the Trends and Future Prospects? New technologies - especially mobile devices — are making millions of otherwise “unconnected” youth potentially reachable by providers of mobile money services and other money—managing tools. Tim Nourse, Making Cent’s President, joined a panel of speakers at the March New York TechnologySalon focused current trends and future prospects of youth financial inclusion in the mobile/digital age.



Making Cents Partners with Microsoft's YouthSpark Global Initiative

Microsoft Corporation has selected Making Cents to conduct a landscape review of the state of the sector in youth workforce development and entrepreneurship programming for YouthSpark — a global initiative of Microsoft, which aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth over three years. Through 30+ programs and partnerships with 186 youth—serving nonprofits, in its first year alone Microsoft YouthSpark has created new opportunities for more than 103 million young people in over 100 countries around the world.



Viable Economic Opportunities for Rural Youth: Understanding Rural Youth Perspectives and Rural Development Strategies

Webinar: Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 10am EST / 2pm GMT

The second of two, this webinar provided an overview of different approaches that can increase financial capabilities and employment prospects for rural youth. What do you need to know about rural youth vs. youth in general? How do you identify and learn about best practices in rural youth workforce and enterprise development? Where are the jobs and business opportunities for rural youth and how do you find them? Moderated by Hilary Proctor of Making Cents, this interactive discussion featured Dr. Nana Akua Anyidoho, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Ghana and Paul Sparks, Program Manager of the Research & Evaluation Unit at BRAC.  Read more.

February 2014

Making Cents begins work on Learning, Knowledge Exchange, and Training for Workforce Multiplier

In January, Making Cents began work under the USAID-funded “Workforce Multiplier,” led by FHI 360. As the leader of the learning and knowledge exchange activities of the initiative, Making Cents will develop a dynamic, sustainable learning community of practice on workforce development. We will develop and manage a state-of-the-art online portal and facilitate a series of virtual and in-person learning activities on themes such as soft and non-cognitive skills, labor market assessments, and systems thinking.



Webinar: Youth Engagement in Economic Opportunities within Rural Areas

Today’s unprecedented high youth population presents the challenge of creating constructive career paths for millions of people born into rural poverty, but it also presents the opportunity of leveraging human resources to address a major global challenge: food security. How can we engage young people in agricultural and/or rural development efforts in ways that present a viable future for them and contribute to food security? Many young people want to leave the farm, but where will they go and who will be tomorrow’s farmers? What other rural development work can offer opportunities to young people, and benefit from their contribution? What are young people themselves saying? Join Steve Cumming (Program Manager of Youth Learning at the MasterCard Foundation), Mary McVay, (Founder, Enterprise Development Kiosk), and Simeon Ogonda (Co-Founder, Spring Break Kenya) for this in-depth conversation that will address these and other pressing questions, while providing you with practical guidance to inform your work.  Read more.

January 2014

Save the Date: 2014 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference

The eighth annual conference will take place Oct. 6-8, 2014 in Washington, DC convening practitioners, policy-makers, funders, corporate citizenship professionals, educators, and youth leaders working to increase economic opportunities for young people.  Read more.



Making Cents begins work on Nigeria Supporting Vulnerable Households Program

In December, Making Cents began work under the $20 million USD, 4 year USD USAID funded, Catholic Relief Services led “Supporting Vulnerable Households Program” in northern Nigeria.  Our role is to develop a curriculum that will be delivered to 42,000 households in three Nigerian states to increase their agricultural production and incomes and to provide better nutrition to their children.  This work follows from Making Cents’ 8 year involvement in the commercialization of agriculture in Nigeria under the USAID funded Markets, Bridge to Markets II, and Markets II programs, initiatives that have collectively served over 200,000 farmers.  Read more.



Building the Entrepreneurial skills of 500,000 youth

Through an ongoing partnership with Plan International, Making Cents has developed the “Enterprise your Life” program, a 24 hour entrepreneurship program for youth who are participants in savings groups.  The program recognizes that youth often lack critical life skills in negotiation, planning and decision making, and thus focuses on developing their entrepreneurial lifeskills rather than teaching theoretical principles of entrepreneurship.  In addition, the program takes advantage of the groups’ savings and lending activities that fuel youth businesses by engaging the trainers as coaches – who not only build youth participants’ skills through training sessions, but also serve as mentors, able to help youth process the business experience they are gaining with the savings group resources.  Plan and Making Cents are in the process of introducing the program to 11 countries in Africa and plan to serve 500,000 youth in the coming years.

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