FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, has asked Making Cents to produce a State of the Field compendium synthesizing global good practices in youth financial inclusion. Making Cents will collect transferable good practices from our own experience in youth finance along with other recent studies to identify relevant initiatives. Making Cents will also work with MicroSave Consulting and regional youth experts based around the world to conduct key informant interviews with at least 30 youth finance experts and 10 youth serving organization leaders.
The Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, FMO, is providing funding to Frankfurt School of Finance and Management to support Access Bank in Nigeria to increase their lending to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that are owned by youth, women, or that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Making Cents International will support Frankfurt School by conducting a baseline assessment of the financial needs of youth entrepreneurs in Nigeria and identifying business opportunities for Access Bank to reach youth with new products and services. Based on the results of the assessment, we will support the bank in designing, piloting, and rolling out new loan products and non-financial services for young entrepreneurs. Making Cents will also assist in pinpointing areas in which Access Bank staff need additional training and support to better serve youth clientele.
Making Cents International recently announced the launch of the YEO 2030 Initiative, a global initiative that unites young leaders and adults to address barriers to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) that promotes sustainable economic growth and employment for all. Named for its focus on youth economic opportunity (YEO) and its goal to accelerate achieving SDG 8 by the year 2030, the initiative was born out of Making Cents’ flagship Global Youth Economic Opportunities (GYEO) Summit and builds upon its commitment to scale YEO programming, opportunities, and multi-stakeholder partnerships.
“YEO 2030 marks a new phase in our efforts to improve economic opportunities for youth,” said Making Cents President Tim Nourse. “The initiative will leverage our over a decade of experience in convening stakeholders, deepen engagement with youth leaders, and expand our efforts globally to advance achievement of SDG 8.”
YEO 2030’s global community of 20 partners to date is using a hybrid set of virtual and in-person activities to inform the initiative’s strategic direction. This fall, YEO 2030 is hosting Youth Dialogues to garner youth perspectives and Solution Webinars to identify youth economic challenges and potential solutions. In 2022, there will be a Regional YEO Convening for key stakeholders before culminating the first year of the initiative with a Global YEO Summit in the spring. In the long term, the initiative plans to organize convenings in as many as 50 countries and engage upwards of 100,000 youth in pursuit of achieving SDG 8. Learn more about the YEO 2030 Initiative at YEO2030.org.
Making Cents International is part of a consortium, led by the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), that was awarded a $15 million Feed the Future Innovation Lab activity on global horticulture research. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the activity spans five years and will help advance horticultural and social innovations in West Africa, East Africa, South/Southeast Asia, and Central America for nutritional and financial security. To build community resilience, a holistic, inclusive, locally-led approach will be followed to develop environmentally sustainable, market-oriented production and postharvest handling methods that can provide smallholder farmers and other stakeholders in fruit and vegetable value chains more income, as well as improved access to fruits and vegetables to better nourish their families and communities.
Consortium partners also include Florida A&M University, Michigan State University, Texas A&M, World Vegetable Center, and Penn State University. Making Cents will provide technical expertise on cross-cutting issues concerning youth, including advising on project effectiveness in reaching youth and connecting with local, in-country youth organizations on implementation.
Making Cents International is supporting the MicroInsurance Centre at Milliman under the Incorporating Gender-Based Violence in Assessing Investment Risk activity recently awarded to Milliman under the USAID-funded INVEST mechanism. The activity will contribute to increasing women’s economic empowerment by developing tools to help investors consider gender when assessing investment risk.
Making Cents will support Milliman in building a case to incorporate gender-based violence (GBV) considerations into risk assessments for political risk insurance, a type of insurance designed to protect investors from financial loss due to political events. We will apply our expertise in GBV and economic growth to provide access to data and research around GBV, contribute to the development of tools and methodologies, and facilitate the testing and dissemination of tools.
The goal of this work is to increase understanding that GBV prevention is a key step to achieving economic growth.
Through USAID’s Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS), Making Cents is collaborating with RTI International to expand women and youth’s role in the local agriculture economy. The KCDMS team recently awarded grants to over 50 local women- and youth-led businesses and farmer associations that are reshaping their communities by putting women and youth at the forefront of agricultural activities. Their role, along with other KCDMS activities, has helped over 100,000 Kenyan women and youth increase their participation in agriculture. Additionally, the team has supported 18,000 women in reaching financial services to further their investment in agrobusiness through the revitalization and strengthening of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs).
The USAID-funded Agribusiness Competitiveness Activity in Tajikistan (ACAT) is currently underway. Winrock International, with a team that includes Making Cents International, uses a market-driven, private sector-led approach to reach ACAT’s goal of improving the competitiveness of Tajikistan’s agribusiness enterprises, leading to increased economic development, employment, and livelihoods. Making Cents focuses on increasing women and youth’s meaningful participation in ACAT activities.
To that end, Making Cents recently conducted an inclusion audit of select ACAT grantees to better understand the pathways towards increasing women and youth’s inclusion within leading agribusiness companies. For this inclusion audit, we interviewed directors/CEOs and employees from 13 organizations, including dekhan or family farms; micro, small, and medium enterprises; commercial cooperatives; and other value chain actors. We also are working with ACAT partners to develop and implement a strategy to help women producers of kurat, a local fermented milk product, reach national and regional markets. In addition, we continue to review the status of loan disbursements to women and youth and anticipate piloting a youth internship program with ACAT’s financial institution partners in the summer of 2021.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.