Archived News - 2015

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November 2015

Keys to unlocking economic value via global supply chains at Pyxera Global's Global Engagement Forum on November 10th

Making Cents' CEO and Founder Fiona Macaulay explored challenges that emerging markets face in seeking to provide goods and services to multinational corporations, and shared best practices from Making Cents' work in entrepreneurship, enterprise development, and youth empowerment. The two-day Global Engagement Forum focused on how strategic partnerships among public, private, and social sector organizations can effectively address the Sustainable Development Goals through strategic program alignment and collaboration.


Best practices in entrepreneurship and improving employment outcomes for youth at USAID's Education Summit

Making Cents' CEO and Founder Fiona Macaulay discussed prominent trends in ideas, innovations, and best practices that Making Cents has witnessed over the past few years in skill development and private sector approaches to improving employment outcomes for youth. The summit brought together a broad array of stakeholders in the field of global education, including USAID education staff from missions around the world, representatives from the U.S. Government, partner countries’ Ministries of Education, NGOs, think tanks, as well as thought leaders to review current best practices and demonstrate new and innovative approaches to global education.

Additionally, USAID YouthPower Learning (for which Making Cents is the prime contractor) sponsored a 75-minute presentation titled “Applying Principles of Positive Youth Development (PYD) to Improve Outcomes in Education.” This session focused on the underpinnings of PYD – an assets-based approached to youth development – and reviewed examples of how USAID and other donors have introduced PYD into the education sector. Presenters included Making Cents Vice President of Youth Development Christy Olenik and Director of the University of Washington Social Development Research Group (YouthPower Learning partner) Dr. Richard F. Catalano, as well as speakers from FHI360 and IREX. 

Making Cents International Develops Global SMS – Based Financial Education Campaign

While financial innovations are providing access to financial services to an unprecedented number of people, financial capability – the ability to understand and use financial services to make sound financial decisions – has not kept pace, leading to over indebtedness or exploitation in many countries.  In response, Making Cents International, in close collaboration with Souktel and a leading international electronic payments company, developed an innovative SMS-based financial education platform that helps prepaid mobile customers make sound financial decisions. Making Cents led program partners through an interactive co-creation process to develop a strategy to reach clients in up to 30 countries in Latin America, Asia, Europe, and Africa.  The interactive curriculum includes nearly 500 incoming and outgoing interactive SMSs that are delivered over the course of 12 months, making the program one of the most expansive digital financial education campaigns in existence. 

October 2015

2015 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit Highlights

This year's summit convened 450 stakeholders from over 70 countries with the purpose of exchanging knowledge to help change practice and improve performance. Further, summit participants were invited to attend in order to gain visibility, expand networks, and deepen expertise.  Participants represented multiple perspectives across sectors that include economic growth, education, food security, and health. The three day program was designed to strengthen partnerships, improve technical capacity, and expand awareness of existing approaches to workforce development, enterprise development, financial inclusion, gender, and monitoring and evaluation. Here are our photos and highlights from this year's summit.


Making Cents Launches "Cities of Opportunity: Drivers and Priorities for Urban Youth Economic Inclusion"

It is estimated that 60% of urban populations will be under the age of 18 by 2030. There are common drivers of economic opportunity that impact a young person's ability to participate in his or her city's economy. This publication, authored by Making Cents and funded by Citi Foundation, provides a framework for youth development practitioners to understand these drivers and priorities and address them through practical interventions. Check out the publication here.

September 2015

Fiona Macaulay Delivers Talk "Economic Inclusion Starts With A Beginners Mindset" at PSI's Tools for Engagement Seminar

Drawing from 18 years of experience in the youth economic opportunities arena, Fiona Macaulay spoke about the importance of engaging a beginners mindset when developing youth informed economic opportunity programming.


Timothy Nourse, Making Cents President, Joins the Society for International Development Board of Directors

Tim was appointed to the board at a meeting on September 15th and looks forward to helping SID accomplish its mission of promoting effective international development among professionals in the US and overseas.  Tim has served as a board member on a variety of professional organizations in the past, most recently as Chair of the Board of Directors of the SEEP Network.  Learn more about SID’s activities at here.


Making Cents is Pleased to Welcome Christina Olenik as Vice President, Youth Development

Christy is a youth development professional with over 25 years experience internationally and domestically designing positive youth development programs, researching effective practices, and evaluating programs.  Christy will support Making Cents’ USAID funded YouthPower Learning award through the provision of expert technical assistance, assist Making Cents’ portfolio of youth livelihood and workforce development programs, advice on the agenda and content of the Youth Economic Opportunity Summit, and build Making Cents’ work in the youth development space.  Christy previously has worked for DAI, JBS and managed her own consultancy firm.


Webinar Resources: What's All the Talk About Data-Driven Decision making?

Two hundred thirty-four people from 48 countries joined Making Cents and Save the Children to learn about their structured experience toolkit, an exciting guide to help program managers use routine monitoring data and set up learning loops for continuous program improvement. Thank you for joining in on this exciting conversation!


Key Insights from #YouthEO Twitter Chat: Frontiers of Soft Skills for Success

Emerging research suggest that young people who possess certain “soft skills,” like self-control, perseverance and self-confidence, are 4 times more likely to succeed in the workforce. What does this mean for youth economic inclusion programming? During the #YouthEO Twitter Chat: Frontiers of Soft Skills, @YouthEconOpps brought together researchers and program implementers who are building the evidence base on soft skills development and positive youth economic outcomes. Check out key learnings from this great twitter chat on the importance of soft skills!

August 2015

International Youth Day United Nations Capital Development Fund Twitter Chat

In celebration of International Youth Day, Making Cents participated in the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Twitter chat on financial inclusion and entrepreneurship. Participants included MasterCard Foundation, Child & Youth Finance International, MEDA, YouthSave, and CGAP. The discussion centered around the importance of increasing financial assets to build resiliency for youth, emphasizing savings and financial education, and utilizing market research to understand the diversity of young people’s financial needs. 

July 2015

USAID’s YouthPower Project hosts learning launch July 8th

USAID’s YouthPower initiative consists of two complementary, USAID Agency-wide, global Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity Contracts (IDIQs) aimed at strengthening local, national, and global youth systems and programs to achieve sustainable, positive youth outcomes in health, education, and political and economic empowerment. 

The YouthPower Evidence and Evaluation Task Order 1 Launch was held July 8, 2015 in Washington, DC. The purpose of the meeting was to inform YouthPower IDIQ holders about how the learning agenda would be developed and to seek their initial thought on relevant topics. In addition, holders began to develop collaborative norms that will  help build the evidence base on the effectiveness of positive youth development (PYD) and cross-sectoral programing, and to promote coordination and learning in the PYD field. This workshop was the first in a series of learning events and will be followed in September 2015 by a two-day Learning Network launch. Forty-two USAID representatives and IDIQ holders attended in person, and 59 through a webinar.


Fundamentals of Youth Financial Inclusion at theCaribbean Microfinance Forum

Making Cents International PresidentTimothy Nourse, addressed the Caribbean Microfinance Community during a plenary panel at the Caribbean Microfinance Association’s sixth annual Forum in July.  He described best practices for delivering youth-inclusive financial services and how finance can contribute to building an eco-system for youth entrepreneurship. He also led a more detailed session on product development for youth following the plenary discussion. Read the full presentations on Understanding the Youth Market and Designing Financial Services for Youth


“Scale in Practice” Twitter Chat Paves the Way to 2015 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit

Money alone will not address youth economic challenges, so what should stakeholders consider when scaling youth programs? On July 30th, participants including MasterCard Foundation, Udemy, EDC, Management Systems International and Microfinance Gateway discussed factors on how to scale effective youth programming in the #YouthEO Twitter Chat, Scale in Practice. Read more in our blog.

June 2015

Making Cents International Awarded YouthPower: Evidence and Evaluation IDIQ and Task Order 1

Making Cents International was selected by USAID to be a prime contractor for the five-year Youth Power: Evidence and Evaluation IDIQ, which has an overall ceiling of $72 million. This initiative, jointly funded by USAID’s Bureau for Global Health (GH) and U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3); and Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA), will provide USAID with expert research and evaluation of youth programming and will facilitate technical leadership and dissemination of knowledge in the field of positive youth development (PYD).

Making Cents has assembled an impressive team of partners that include the International Center for Research on Women, Development & Training Services, Results for Development Institute, Khulisa Management Services, Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington, Royal Children’s Hospital Academic Centre at the University of Melbourne, Child Protection in Crisis Network at Columbia University, Young Americas Business Trust, and the India-based YP Foundation.

Making Cents was also selected to implement Task Order 1 under the YouthPower: Evidence and Evaluation IDIQ, with a ceiling of $21.7 million. The work under this Task Order will help USAID to transform its youth in development investments from single-sector, problem-focused responses towards cross-sectoral PYD investments that help countries support youth in reaching their full potential. To achieve this goal, the Making Cents team will implement the following activities:

  • Develop a user-friendly and sustainable YouthPower website that uses the latest technology to enhance sharing and dissemination of knowledge and lessons learned about PYD and serves as the Learning Hub for cross-sectoral youth development.

  • Develop an inclusive, audience-specific, and demand-driven cross-sectoral Youth Learning Network and communities of practice that will improve knowledge, skills, practices, and partnerships around international cross-sectoral PYD. 

  • Design an indicator reporting system that will bridge gaps across sectors, establish common measures, promote learning, and contribute to a comprehensive PYD framework.

  • Produce the definitive global meta-review of PYD literature that expands upon the existing evidence base.

  • Provide evidence and evaluation support to USAID Missions and operating units, as needed, through evaluation and research technical assistance.

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