Archived News - 2016

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December 2016

Our Expert Speaks on Youth CVE and Peace Building Panels

On December 13th, Making Cents International participated in two brown bag events on the topics of youth, conflict, and peace organized by USAID and hosted by the Department of Defense and USAID. The brown bags coincided with the anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth Peace and Security and highlighted the important role youth play in peace building.


Making Cents’ Senior Knowledge Management Expert Maria Brindlmayer participated as a panelist at both events, using her expertise as Co-Chair of YouthPower’s Youth in Peace and Security Community of Practice to discuss “What Works for Youth” in peace building, and the positive youth development (PYD) approach. The panelists from USAID and implementing partners specializing in youth and conflict programming discussed interventions that are showing promising results based on research in peace building, conflict mitigation, CVE, and youth engagement.

November 2016

Sarah Sladen is our new Director, Collaborative Learning & Action!

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Sladen as Director, Collaborative Learning & Action! Since joining us as Deputy Director in January, Sarah has effectively supported the efforts of our Knowledge Management Platform for Youth Economic Opportunities and managed the successful delivery of the 2016 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit. In her new role, Sarah will lead all aspects of Making Cents’ Youth Economic Opportunities Network (YEO Network), a global hub dedicated to facilitating and advancing knowledge exchange, collaboration, and action among the full range of stakeholders working for and with young people. Sarah will oversee the YEO Network’s strategy and innovation as well as key initiatives to advance the field, including the Summit, the learning hub, and year-round convening and virtual learning events.  


Sarah brings to her role more than 12 years of experience in international program management, implementation, and coalition building. She has a background in workforce development, education, peacebuilding, and conflict resolution. Prior to joining Making Cents, Sarah led The Alliance for International Youth Development (AIYD) at InterAction, a community of practice and advocacy platform, and supported USAID's Educational Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP3) at the Education Development Center (EDC). Sarah began her career in youth development as a counselor at Seeds of Peace, a leadership and conflict resolution program for youth from the Middle East and South Asia as well as youth from immigrant communities in the US. In addition, Sarah has supported youth programs in South Africa such as Grassroots Soccer and Ikamva Youth. She holds a Master's Degree in International Development with a focus on youth and conflict from the School of International Service at American University.

October 2016

Exciting News from Making Cents International!

Dear Partners and Friends,

We are writing to announce an exciting new chapter for Making Cents International. This week, the company's senior leadership team – Tim Nourse, Tijana Dabic, Susan Masse, Hillary Proctor, and Christy Olenik – acquired ownership of Making Cents from Fiona Macaulay. As many of you know, Fiona is the Founder of Making Cents and has served as the CEO for the past 18 years. She has decided to move on from this role to pursue new avenues that support the ecosystem of youth development stakeholders and to mentor a new generation of social entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs. 

Since 1999, Making Cents has worked in 55 countries. We have supported many of you to implement high-quality, impactful projects and to design and scale up new development initiatives. We have worked with you to help small farmers in Nigeria, youth in Uganda, Syrian refugee women in Jordan, and millions of others around the world acquire new skills and improve livelihoods for themselves and their families. Along the way, we have also created important spaces for all of us to exchange knowledge and best practices on how to improve opportunities for young people globally. 

The new leadership team of Making Cents collectively brings more than 80 years of international development experience. We have expertise in a broad range of technical areas, including capacity building, value chain strengthening, youth and workforce development, entrepreneurship, financial and social inclusion, and monitoring and evaluation. Throughout our professional careers, we have served in various management capacities – from Chiefs of Party and Directors on complex USAID programs; to business development leaders implementing major growth initiatives; to senior technical and operations directors ensuring contractual, financial, and technical soundness of projects. In our respective roles at Making Cents, we have led the delivery of high-quality services and products to our clients. We are excited to continue to work together with you in our shared efforts to improve the lives of people throughout the world. 

We would especially like to recognize Fiona’s leadership of the company up to this new chapter. Her unrelenting energy and quest for excellence have shaped Making Cents, and we wish her luck in her new endeavors.

As we embark on this new phase for Making Cents, we thank all of you who have put your trust in us over the years, and we stand ready to support you for many years to come. 

Warm regards,

Tim, Tijana, Susan, Hillary, and Christy

Over the next decade, a billion young people will enter the labor market. To keep pace with demand, the global economy must create 600 million jobs in the next 10 years (five million jobs per month). On September 28-30 in Washington, D.C., the 10th Anniversary Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit will bring together 450+ stakeholders from 50+ countries to identify what is needed to integrate young people into the job market. Learn more & join the 10th Annual Summit.

August 2016

Youth Talks – Open Dialogue

August 12th, 2016
International Youth Day


On the occasion of International Youth Day, Youth Power Learning will host two Open Dialogues with Michael McCabe, Agency Youth Coordinator at United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The event will be introduced by DAI and facilitated by Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), who are both partners on the USAID-funded YouthPower mechanism. This activity will involve young people from Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Asia in a discussion space to:


  • Exchange ideas and impressions on Positive Youth Development (PYD).

  • Engage young people in an open conversation about what they need to thrive and succeed in today’s world.

  • Learn from young people about their actions and initiatives taking place in their communities that reflect Positive Youth Development principles/approaches.


Open Dialogue in English: 7:00 am to 8:00 am ET
Open Dialogue in Spanish: 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET

Both dialogues will be accompanied by a simultaneous Twitter Chat using #YPYouthTalks, an additional participation channel to amplify the reach and engagement of young people around the world.


Twitter chat in English: 7:00 am to 8:15 am ET

Twitter chat in Spanish: 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm ET

For registration, please visit

The latest installment of Making Cents Youth and Agriculutre blog series is live.


Titled “Not My Grandpa’s Agriculture” and written by Technical Director, Hillary Proctor the blog focuses on how youth view agriculture and how understanding these views can lead us to design and implement broader and more diversified approaches to agricultural skills training. 


Read this Blog and the others in this series - 


The Pivot to Yes: Positive Youth Development and Our Agriculture Program in Liberia



Youth and Agriculture Programs: Oil and Water or Oil and Vinegar?

Join Making Cents International and Chemonics International


July 19th 

9AM - 10AM EDT

Register for the webinar | Join the webinar


Expanding access to finance is a challenging endeavor. Add in conflict and the obstacles can seem insurmountable.  Join Making Cents International and Chemonics International on a deep dive into two programs that are currently addressing those obstacles by focusing on mobile technologies, new opportunities for youth and women, and strong local partnerships. Arelis Gomez, Chief of Party of the USAID Colombia Rural Finance Initiative, and Omaid Deqati Rahimi, Banking Capacity Team Lead of the USAID Financial Access for Investing in the Development of Afghanistan will share their respective program’s methodologies, best practices, and lessons learned for youth inclusive financial services programming when conflict and uncertainty loom. 

"Ensuring that youth have strong relationships with adults is a key component of the Positive Youth Development approach" 


Christy Olenik, Vice President Youth Development for Making Cents International, writes about the importance of youth having adult mentors and changing the approach to fostering these relationships. Read the full blog post and others here.

10th Anniversary Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit | September 28-30, 2016 | Washington, DC


The 10th Anniversary Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit convenes influencers who create and implement innovative solutions for young people in Entrepreneurship, Workforce Development, and Financial Inclusion. The 2016 agenda is live! Check out the 100+ speakers from 20+ countries who will share a first look at how new tools, research, and methodologies across health, education, and governance contribute to the social and economic inclusion of youth. Join 450+ influencers from 50 countries at this leading event. Learn more and register at  

YouthVoices is a pioneering digital initiative that seeks to tell stories of the global youth unemployment crisis as they are seen, heard and felt by young people around the world.


Making Cents International in conjunction with Global Center for Youth Employment and The Ground Truth Project created and submitted videos around our work with youth for the LAUNCH program in Liberia. Watch youth speak first-hand about their views on entrepreneurship and experiences of practicing business in their communities.


Developing Successful Business Skills


Learning to be Independent and Successful


Youth Programs Teach Necessary Skills in Liberia


Growing a Business

March 2016 launched on March 15

Making Cents International is proud to announce the launch of, the central information hub for the USAID-funded YouthPower projects. Over half of the global population is under the age of 30. Responding to the needs and aspirations of youth is, therefore, essential to tackling the world’s greatest challenges, both present and future. Learn how YouthPower is improving approaches to youth development and engagement to create a better world for all.


Visit starting March 15, 2016.

March 2016

Perspectives on Positive Youth Development Webinar Recording Now Available

On March 11, YouthPower Learning – a USAID project implemented by Making Cents International – presented the webinar “Perspectives on Positive Youth development.” PYD experts Dr. George Patton (Professor of Adolescent Health Research University of Melbourne and Chair of the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing) and Kristin Brady (Director of FHI 360 Youth Department and USAID YouthPower Action) introduced the PYD approach, a guiding principle behind USAID’s Youth in Development Policy. During this one-hour interactive session, the speakers discussed how adolescence and youth development have changed over the years, what we have learned as a result of these changes, and what PYD looks like in practice. 


You can access the full webinar recording at


Click here to read more about Making Cents' work on YouthPower: Evidence and Evaluation.

March 2016

Youth Inclusive Financial Services Training at the 18th Microcredit Summit in Abu Dhabi on March 17, 2016

Making Cents International is organizing full-day training at the 18th Microcredit Summit that will enable microfinance practitioners to understand and provide financial and non-financial services to rural and urban youth. The course will introduce participants to best practices for serving youth, help them to understand the differences between rural and urban youth financial service provision, and detail specific products and service delivery models.  Read more about this event here, and our work on youth-inclusive financial services in the MENA region here

During this webinar, our panel of youth savings experts from Barclays, Plan International UK, CARE International UK and Making Cents International will share ‘how-to' guidance for creating effective, sustainable savings groups for youth. Presenters will walk through the 10 Principles featured in the Banking on Change Youth Savings Group Model, which has been used to form 11,715 YSGs with 245,000 members. Making Cents International will moderate the webinar, bringing its own experiences with YSGs and supportive services to the conversation as well. Register here.

February 2016

Call for Proposals: 2016 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit

Making Cents International invites you to be a part of the 2016 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit program (September 28-30 in Washington, DC) by submitting a breakout session proposal. Being a speaker at the Summit offers visibility, a chance to build valuable networks, and to deepen your knowledge with a first look at others’ new tools, research and methodologies, and initiatives. Learn more and submit your proposal by March 25th at: 

January 2016

2016 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit | September 28-30, 2016 | Washington, D.C.

Save the date! Making Cents International’s 10th Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit is designed to increase the impact, scale, and sustainability of youth economic opportunity programming around the world. Join 450+ leaders from 50 countries at this “go to” event. The program is designed for donors, implementers, researchers, youth leaders, and others to develop new partnerships, deepen technical capacity, and expand awareness of best in class approaches in Workforce Development, Enterprise Development, Financial Inclusion, Monitoring & Evaluation, and Gender. Learn more at

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