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October 2020

Making Cents is awarded two task orders to support USAID’s analytical work in Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance

Making Cents International, with its joint venture partner Development Professionals, Inc., has been awarded two task orders under the Analytical Services IV IDIQ to support USAID’s Center for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG).


The first, LACLEARN Task Order, is a four-year project aiming to improve USAID’s DRG work in LAC. The scope of work includes conducting assessments of impunity around gender-based violence in LAC; analyzing trends in democratic norms and values; and developing and disseminating visual, operational information products relevant to DRG and citizen security programming in the LAC region.  The rapid response component will support USAID/LAC with analytical services by identifying and recruiting experts for analytical tasks, selecting partner organizations for grants supporting technical activities, and facilitating a collaborative and interactive process of scenario planning and transition deployment planning.


The second awarded task order, Analytic Task on Authoritarian Resurgence and Influence (ATARI), will develop and pilot a new diagnostic tool for assessing resurgent authoritarian influence (RAI) in USAID partner countries and work collaboratively with USAID Missions and select stakeholders to formulate effective responses. The diagnostic tool will support qualitative and quantitative research capable of assessing a country’s relative exposure to foreign influence and related vulnerability of its democratic institutions and principles.


We look forward to continuing our work with USAID/DCHA/DRG Center through these important projects.

August 2020

Our New Project Will Mobilize Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs in Ukraine

Making Cents International is excited to be part of the team awarded the USAID-funded Ukraine National Identity Through Youth (UNITY) Activity. Led by IREX, this five-year activity is designed to foster vested ownership among the Ukrainian youth in their country’s democratic, European future by further mobilizing youth leadership of a values-based conception of Ukrainian identity grounded in innovation, engagement, and pluralism. To that end, UNITY will expand economic opportunities for youth through youth innovation, entrepreneurship, and career preparedness; broaden young people’s engagement in civic and community problem solving; support youth in driving pluralism and respect for diversity; and inform youth policy and programming.


Making Cents will support youth entrepreneurship through training, seed funding, and competitions and will lead private sector engagement activities aimed at increased youth employment. We will also undertake research and learning on youth-related data and build research capabilities of youth and youth-serving organizations engaged in the project. 


We look forward to mobilizing Ukraine’s young leaders and entrepreneurs and to supporting IREX and USAID in this important endeavor. 

August 2020

Making Cents awarded USAID’s EVAL ME II – Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Services IDIQ!

We are excited to announce the award of the USAID EVAL ME II – Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Services IDIQ to Making Cents. This five-year IDIQ from USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning, with multiple holders and a total ceiling of $655 million, is aimed at strengthening USAID’s evidence-based decision making by providing high-quality and timely MEL services. These services will include designing and implementing quantitative and qualitative evaluation studies and assessments; conducting evaluation syntheses or synthetic reviews; providing technical assistance in performance monitoring; providing monitoring services, developing and delivering evaluation and monitoring training; supporting the agency in learning from evidence to adapt programming; and supporting implementation of knowledge management practices and services.


We are honored that this award recognizes the high-quality work Making Cents has been producing for the Agency under our other MEL projects, and we look forward to continuing to support USAID’s MEL efforts around the world.

July 2020

Our New Award Strengthens USAID's Approaches to Address Gender-Based Violence

Making Cents International is pleased to announce the award of USAID's Strengthening Approaches for Collective Action to Address Gender-Based Violence (SACAA-GBV) Task Order, a new two-year project awarded to our joint venture with Development Professionals Inc. under the Analytical Services IV IDIQ.


The objective of SACAA-GBV Task Order is to strengthen the gender-based violence portfolio across the Agency through the development of strategic plans, research, training, and professional networking support. This Task Order directly contributes to USAID’s goal of promoting a path to self-reliance and resilience in developing countries by addressing gender-based violence (GBV), a cross-sectoral issue that inhibits inclusive economic growth, better health outcomes, democratic and stable societies, gender equality between men and women, and women’s empowerment.

We are excited to work on this important project as part of our continuing partnership with USAID.

May 2020

The Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit Pivot

In a typical year, our community convenes in the fall at the Global Youth Economic Opportunities (GYEO) Summit to share best practices and develop new ones. However, the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people and our community requires a different approach. To adjust to this “new normal,” between now and September we will convene a series of five online engagements using a variety of formats with the GYEO Summit community and partners focused on how to “re-imagine” economic opportunity for youth in light of the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. Watch the first installment of the series.

April 2020

The YouthPower Learning Legacy

We congratulate our YouthPower Learning team for a job well done! For five years, the team made significant strides in deepening a shared understanding of positive youth development (PYD) within USAID and the broader development community. YouthPower Learning contributed a wealth of tools and resources and aggregated and disseminated a robust body of evidence and knowledge on PYD. Additionally, the project built a sense of community among youth practitioners around the globe through communities of practice, learning grants, and a PYD learning agenda, demonstrating the power of sharing collective knowledge and high-quality, accessible learnings. We continue to build on this work through our new YouthPower2: Learning and Evaluation activity. Read the project's final report.

March 2020

Adjusting to the New Normal

As we navigate the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are all forced to become flexible in our ability to adjust to the ever-changing situation that affects all parts of our lives. Nimble by design, Making Cents International continues to deliver high-quality service to our clients remotely—from Kenya and eSwatini to Tajikistan and Ukraine—while making adaptations to ensure the safety of the people we serve, our clients, and our team when remote work is not possible. 

February 2020

Facilitating the Discussion on Education in Conflict and Crisis

Making Cents International was selected by DFID to design and deliver a Consultation Event on Education in Conflict and Protracted Crisis in New York City. The purpose of the event is to provide an introduction to DFID’s upcoming research program on education in emergencies and protracted crisis and serve as a venue for an open discussion on education in areas of conflict or crisis. Learn more.

December 2019

Our New Partnership with OTI: Support Which Implements Fast Transition (SWIFT) 5-Support IDIQ Award

Making Cents International was awarded the Support Which Implements Fast Transition 5-Long-Term Technical Assistance to Support OTI Program Operations (SWIFT-Support) IDIQ by USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI). The SWIFT-Support IDIQ will operate alongside SWIFT-Programs IDIQ to provide OTI with the means to support U.S. foreign policy objectives by catalyzing local initiatives to advance stability, peace, and democracy in response to complex political crises. The combined ceiling for both IDIQs is $2.5 billion over five years.


Through SWIFT-Support Task Orders, Making Cents will recruit and deploy long-term technical assistance to support OTI program operations and will provide support to program-funded USAID personnel. We are pleased to have FHI 360 as our subcontractor on this IDIQ.  


All of us at Making Cents are very excited about this new partnership with OTI and the opportunity to expand our USAID project portfolio focused on advancing democracy around the world.

October 2019

DRG Assessments Task Order Award Announcement!

We are pleased to announce that Making Cents International, in a joint venture with Development Professionals, Inc., has been awarded the two-year USAID DCHA/DRG Center’s DRG Assessments Task Order under the Analytical Services IV IDIQ. The purpose of the task order is to provide USAID Missions and Bureaus with analytical services and products to inform the strategic planning, design, and implementation of DRG programs and to ensure that DRG strategies, programs, and activities are based on in-depth, well-informed analyses; valid data; and best practices in the field of democracy, human rights, and governance.


We look forward to serving the DRG Center in this important role!

September 2019

We Announce the YouthPower 2: Learning and Evaluation Award

Making Cents International is proud to announce that we have been awarded USAID’s Youth Power 2: Learning and Evaluation (YP2LE) contract! This new award from the E3 Bureau’s Office of Education, with three base years and two one-year options, will build on our success promoting cross-sectoral positive youth development (PYD) through USAID’s YouthPower Learning project since 2015. As the YP2LE implementer, we will support USAID’s Journey to Self-Reliance by piecing together a puzzle of global PYD evidence building, stakeholder engagement, knowledge transfer, and application of learning to develop high-quality, impactful, and sustainable youth programs to achieve systems change. We look forward to working on this important project with our YP2LE consortium members Mathematica, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI), NORC at the University of Chicago, FHI 360, Premise Data, The Cloudburst Group, Restless Development, Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO), Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), University of Washington, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Melbourne, Cinecons, and YouthAlive Uganda. Stay tuned for updates on the many exciting activities we have planned for the YouthPower and PYD community!

September 2019

Making Cents Receives Distinguished Partner in Global Service Award

We are honored to announce that Making Cents will receive the Distinguished Partner Award in Global Service from Atlas Corps, Inc. at their Fall Celebration on October 10. This award is given to partners held in high regard for their contributions to Atlas Corps, their commitment to the Atlas Fellows, and their passion for global service.

Making Cents has been an Atlas Corp partner since 2016. Atlas Corp connects young change makers with organizations working in the social sector for 12-18 months. The organizations benefit from having young leaders on their team to provide new perspectives, and the fellows are given insight into how leading organizations implement activities that promote change around the globe. To date, four Atlas Fellows have joined the Making Cents team working on the platform.

August 2019

Cross-sectoral Assessments Dig into How Youth are Reached Around the World

Our work on the USAID-funded YouthPower Learning project has accelerated this summer as we have conducted a new set of assessments that are meant to bring greater understanding to the needs and aspirations of youth around the world.

Through the YouthPower buy-in mechanism, USAID missions in Armenia, Rwanda, and Somalia commissioned cross-sectoral assessments of youth to better understand young people’s needs and inform future USAID programming. The assessments will be used by the missions to design programs that better motivate youth and knock down existing barriers to full social, economic, and political participation.

July 2019

New Youth Leader Joining the Making Cents Team

We are excited to announce that our newest Atlas Corps Fellow, Ikenna Anyadike, joined the team as a part of our YouthPower Learning project. With a specific focus on youth development and education through capacity building, Ikenna currently leads the teen development campaign, Live Out Loud, which is dedicated to cultivating entrepreneurship and social innovation in teenagers in Nigeria. Ikenna is a 2017 fellow of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a program powered by the U.S. State Department, and a recipient of the 2012 Commonwealth Youth Program for Africa intervention, Discovering Young Leaders Program. He is also a Google Digital Skills trainer and business partner with Clarity4D, UK. He has two publications to his credit, in addition to a personal development podcast channel. His role on the YouthPower Learning project will be organizing webinars and managing content on our new platform.

June 2019

Making Cents’ Thought Leader Published in Renowned Health Journal

Dr. Christy Olenik, our Vice President of Technical Services, was recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Her article, Positive Youth Development Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Conceptual Framework and Systematic Review of Efficacy, is based on research that found that sixty percent of the Positive Youth Development (PYD)  programs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) “demonstrate positive effects on behaviors.”

PYD has been implemented mainly in high-income countries for almost 30 years. Programs applying the PYD framework bring about youth skill building, enable youth agency, build healthy relationships, and transform systems to prepare youth for successful adulthood. Christy’s research looks at the impact and efficacy of applying this framework to youth programs in the context of LMICs.

Read the article and earn more about PYD.

May 2019

Analytical Services IV IDIQ Award Announcement!

We are excited to share that Making Cents International, in a joint venture with Development Professionals, Inc. has been awarded the five-year USAID/DCHA/DRG Analytical Services IV IDIQ. Under this IDIQ, the Development Professionals, Inc.-Making Cents International (DPI-MCI) consortium, which also includes Tetra Tech/ARD, NORC, FHI 360, GeoPoll, and Sonjara, will provide DCHA/DRG with the experts, resources, and analytical tools to respond to requests for democracy, human rights and governance (DRG) assessments, DRG sub-sectoral, and related assessments or analysis; technical assistance to support DRG strategic planning, program design, and results management; research, special studies, and surveys; training and networking support; and rapid response transitional environment support. We look forward to serving USAID in this important role and to contributing to the Agency’s improved ability to promote resilient, democratic societies, and support U.S foreign policy objectives.

April 2019

We Have Joined World Learning's TAAP Community of Practice

We are pleased to announce that Caitlin O’Donnell, our Senior Associate, has been invited to join World Learning’s Transforming Agency, Access, and Power (TAAP) Community of Practice and to serve as a Co-Lead of the TAAP’s Promoting Shared Learning task group. The TAAP Community of Practice is a group of committed practitioners, organizations, and policy-makers coming together to solve problems, share knowledge, cultivate best practices, and innovate to advance social inclusion. It was initiated by World Learning following the launch of the Transforming Agency, Access, and Power (TAAP) Toolkit and Guide for Inclusive Development, which was developed in partnership with IREX in 2018. The TAAP Community of Practice provides social inclusion champions with an informal learning space where they can safely share their challenges, achievements, and questions, while learning from each other’s experiences, benefiting from each other’s expertise and exploring ways to improve their programs. As the Co-Lead of the Promoting Shared Intentional Learning task group, Caitlin leads members in piloting various aspects of the TAAP Toolkit and/or other resources, sharing feedback, and supporting each other with technical advice and guidance. The task group will also develop inter-agency resources to address shared learning needs and external products highlighting findings from pilot testing.


On April 10, Caitlin will represent the TAAP Community of Practice at the World Bank Civil Society Policy Forum Innovation Fair. The interactive TAAP Toolkit will be available for participants to explore on tablets and informational handouts, and research reports will also be shared. Caitlin will facilitate two interactive activities from the Toolkit with attendees and share results in a facilitated discussion at the conclusion of the fair.

February 2019

New Atlas Corps Fellow Joining Making Cents!

Making Cents International is excited to announce that Abolaji Omitogun is the newest Atlas Corps Fellow to join our team! During his time with Making Cents, Abolaji will be embedded with our YouthPower Learning team as the YouthLead Fellow and will support the newly launched online platform,, a website to inspire, support, and foster connections among young changemakers around the world.

Abolaji holds a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and has over five years of experience in enterprise building, startups, and social entrepreneurship. He is the founder of ZMCORPS, a network of young individuals who support community developmental initiatives by engaging recent university graduates posted for national service within the northern state of Zamfara. In his spare time, he is a business development and startup coach and through his mentoring has helped secure over $50,000 in business funding for several startups.

We are excited to have Abolaji join our team and look forward to working with him throughout his fellowship!

January 2019

Our Own Dr. Christy Olenik is a New Co-Chair for SID-W’s Youth in Development Workgroup!

We are proud to announce that Dr. Christy Olenik, our Vice President of Technical Services, is now a Co-Chair of the Society for International Development – Washington (SID-W) Youth in Development Workgroup! The SID-W Youth in Development Workgroup works on engaging and bettering youth around the world. At Making Cents, Dr. Olenik is responsible for technical leadership, service delivery, business development, and strategy around positive youth development programming. Since 2015, Dr. Olenik has also been serving as Making Cents’ Project Director for the USAID-funded YouthPower: Evidence and Evaluation IDIQ, overseeing and supporting technical work on the YouthPower Learning task order. Learn more about the SID-W Youth in Development workgroup and how you can participate here.

January 2018

YouthPower Learning Request for Proposals

Making Cents International (Making Cents), under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded contract YouthPower Learning, is seeking proposals from qualified entities to develop a new iteration of its project website.


This Request for Proposal (RFP) is posted on and may be amended. Potential offerors should check the website regularly to ensure they have the latest information pertaining to this RFP.


Any questions regarding this RFP from offerors must be submitted in writing, in English, via Answers to all questions will be posted to Any information that substantially changes the requirements of this RFP shall be released through the issuance of an amendment to the RFP. Making Cents may, at its own discretion, extend the deadline for the submission of proposals.


See RFP for details.  

March 2018

Our New Project with YouthBuild International, supported by the Hilton Foundation

We are excited to announce our new project with YouthBuild International in Kenya and Tanzania. For the next six months, we will assist YouthBuild create a workforce training program to prepare young people (ages 17 – 25) in Africa for jobs and self-employment in the tourism and hospitality sector, by conducting a value chain inclusion analysis to determine opportunities (entry points) for young women and men in these sectors. We will also conduct a landscape review of available training resources for youth associated with the tourism and hospitality sector, with a focus on existing skills gaps. Our recommendations will inform the design of a potential YouthBuild’s workforce development training program for Hilton Global.

May 2018

Making Cents Featured in the Atlas of Innovation for Economic Stability

The Atlas of Innovation for Economic Stability, produced by FHI 360 with support from Rockefeller Foundation, was launched on May 22. The Atlas features over 60 examples of policy, program, and technology innovations that promote economic stability worldwide, with an emphasis on vulnerable populations. It contains an in-depth profile of Making Cents’ current collaboration with BanQu, a technology company that has developed a blockchain-based digital identity solution. Together, we are working to develop digital economic identities for Syrian refugees in Jordan. The digital identities will enable refugees to develop viable livelihoods in their new environment. The initiative is currently being piloted through early 2019 with 1,000 Syrian refugees, and it will be scaled up to additional refugee communities in other countries, if it shows promise. Along with the pilot, Making Cents will evaluate whether the creation of an identity has an impact on refugees’ resilience.

Read the full publication here.

August 2018

Making Cents is Directly Supporting USAID/Jordan

Making Cents International is supporting the USAID Mission in Jordan in its efforts to increase capacity of local organizations and contribute to locally owned and locally sustained development results. To that end, Making Cents is providing organizational capacity-building services to two local contractors in order to improve their performance on USAID-funded contracts and prepare them for successfully managing future USAID awards. Under this project, our experts are assessing each contractor's organizational weaknesses and systems and developing responses and recommendations for ways to remedy the issues identified in the assessment.

July 2018

Syrian refugees in Jordan to receive digital economic identities thanks to SANAD TAF, Making Cents, and MFW

The SANAD Technical Assistance Facility (SANAD TAF), Making Cents International, and Jordan's largest microfinance institution, Microfund for Women (MFW), have partnered to create digital economic identities for Syrian refugees that will facilitate their access to credit both in Jordan and beyond. The pilot project is additionally supported by funding from the Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank (OeEB), the development bank of Austria.

The pilot program will help Syrian refugees store credit histories, educational certificates, and business information in a blockchain-based digital identity that can be used to gain access to credit or employment. By providing refugees with the means to store and communicate information about their creditworthiness, the SANAD TAF will be advancing its mandate to fuel the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the startup and pre-startup phases into sustainable businesses. 

Read the full Press Release here

Learn more about the project here

October 2018

Building the Case for a Focus on Emotional Skills Development

When discussing skills development programs for youth, most people understand the importance of including components that build soft skills like problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork. As a result, many youth skills development programs now include soft-skills training. While some of these programs also include a focus on how to deal with conflict as well as activities designed to promote a positive self-concept, it is not clear how many programs take a serious look at building another important set of skills. 


In her new blog, Dr. Christy Olenik, Vice President of Technical Services at Making Cents International, writes about the importance of incorporating emotional skills development in youth programming. The blog provides an explanation of what emotional skills are, why they are important, and how we can build these skills in youth. Read the full blog here

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