News

March 2024

Join us at the 2024 Global Youth Economic Opportunities (GYEO) Summit on September 9-12, 2024! Convening in Washington, D.C., at the Silver Spring Civic Center, the theme for 2024 is Youth Driving the Green Economy. We will examine emerging programming and evidence around the just transition, green jobs and entrepreneurship, green skilling, circular economy, climate finance, and youth-led policy and advocacy. The Summit will also feature sessions on other topics that affect youth economic opportunities (e.g., digital economy and AI, promoting resilience, and private sector engagement).If you are a young professional, don’t miss out on the new Youth Leadership Accelerator program, which will take place on September 9-10, 2024. The program will focus on the capacity strengthening of young professionals and leaders, building their peer-to-peer networks and connections with adult allies.Register to join multi-stakeholders from over 75+ countries! Note: Please contact Summit organizers for group ticket sales.

December 2023

Making Cents was awarded one of the small business contracts for the Central America Regional Support Services (CARSS) IDIQ. This five-year IDIQ, with a ceiling of $800 million, will provide technical support to USAID Missions in Latin America and the Caribbean for addressing a variety of issues affecting the root causes of irregular migration from Central America to the United States, particularly those related to economic opportunity, governance and transparency, climate change, crime, and insecurity.  

Making Cents looks forward to supporting USAID Missions in Latin America and the Caribbean under CARSS. 

November 2023

We are elated to announce the award of the Balkans Regional Program Support Activity (BRPSA) IDIQ! This five-year, $20 million IDIQ was awarded by USAID’s Regional Office of Acquisition and Assistance (ROAA) at the USAID Mission in Kosovo.

Making Cents will provide program support services for USAID Missions in the Balkan region, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia. Services provided to Missions under this IDIQ may include program office support; performance management; evaluation; collaborating, learning, and adapting; strengthening capacity of local MEL providers; program information management; data quality assessments; development information system; outreach information; and support services.

Making Cents is honored to be a recipient of this award and to support Missions in the Balkans.

October 2023

Making Cents is pleased to announce that it will serve as a subcontractor to ECODIT on USAID’s recently awarded Gender Leadership, Equity, and Advancement for Development (LEAD) Task Order. This $65 million dollar activity will support DDI/GenDev in providing technical assistance and forward-leading programmatic support, thought leadership, and knowledge dissemination in gender integration to USAID Missions and Bureaus across sectors and focus areas. Making Cents will support the provision of collaborative, multi-sectoral gender integration technical assistance; the promotion of thought leadership through the development of knowledge products and learning opportunities to strengthen USAID’s programming and processes to achieve gender equality and prevent and respond to gender-based violence, specifically improving USAID’s capability to understand and incorporate gender into the economic growth sector; and the building of connectivity and enhancing knowledge sharing platforms for USAID and external stakeholders.  

We look forward to supporting ECODIT and USAID’s DDI/GenDev in doing the important work of advancing gender integration across USAID’s global portfolio. 

September 2023

We are elated to announce the award of the Compliance and Capacity Support for Diverse Partnerships (CCSDP) IDIQ! This five-year, $250 million IDIQ from USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Development, and Innovation’s Local, Faith, and Transformative Partnerships (LFT) Hub will provide technical support to USAID Missions and Operating Units in their engagement with non-traditional partners, including local actors, new partners, faith-based organizations, and minority-serving institutions.

Making Cents, with subcontractors Kaizen, a Tetra Tech Company; Pact; and Risk and Strategic Management will leverage our combined 80 years of experience strengthening the capacity of over 3,000 local organizations to support USAID in improving local partnerships; monitoring, evaluation, and learning; third-party monitoring; risk assessment; and capacity strengthening for local actors.

Making Cents is honored to receive this award and contribute to the Agency’s objectives of strengthening local capacity and engaging meaningfully with new, non-traditional, and local partners.

July 2023

Vicky Aridi, Manager of the YEO 2030 Initiative at Making Cents International, was invited to speak at two highly anticipated events celebrating World Youth Skills Day during the United Nations General Assembly. The first virtual talk, on Friday, July 14, is part of the larger Spotlight on Youth Innovation dialogue on the importance of multistakeholder collaboration to enable future-proof skills for youth. Speakers also included representatives from UNESCO, Ecuador’s Ministry of Education, and Moonshot. Watch the recording here: https://www.facebook.com/UNYouthEnvoy/videos/951077622870205.

The second event on Monday, July 17, includes UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the President of the UN General Assembly, UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake, and the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General for Transforming Education, Leonardo Garnier. In this session, Aridi discusses youth skill building and capacity strengthening, and Making Cents International’s commitment to advancing Youth Economic Opportunities, Positive Youth Development, and Inclusion. Aridi provides insights and recommendations that will contribute to the ongoing efforts of building robust skill-building frameworks and creating opportunities for youth worldwide. The recording of the sold-out event will be posted here: https://www.youtube.com/@UNYouthEnvoy/featured.

November 2022

Making Cents International is officially certified as a B Corporation (B Corp). This designation verifies Making Cents’ commitment to promoting the economic, social, and environmental well-being of the communities its employees both serve and live in, advancing locally led solutions, and being a protagonist for inclusive development. The company’s triple bottom line mission focuses on achieving positive social and environmental impacts, in addition to the standard profit-focused bottom line.  
 
While Making Cents is committed to measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it also is a people-first organization dedicated to fair pay and good working conditions for its team members as well as their continuous advancement through professional development and training on social, environmental, and inclusive best practices. 

October 2022

Making Cents International is a partner to Grupa Izadji, a local organization that was recently awarded a USAID-funded, three-year activity aiming to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in Serbia’s workplaces and business communities by promoting economic empowerment of and opportunity for LGBTQI+ people. Despite the establishment of legal protections in many domains, in Serbia, LGBTQI+ people face bias, discrimination, and violence. Global evidence shows that LGBTQI+ inclusion and economic growth are mutually reinforcing and that discrimination brings social and financial costs to societies.

Through this new activity, Making Cents will support Grupa Izadji in working with USAID to promote equity and economic empowerment of LGBTQI+ people in Serbia, particularly youth. The activity will foster an environment that increases employment potential for LGBTQI+ persons, expands opportunities for LGBTQI+ entrepreneurs, and reduces workplace discrimination. Making Cents will support USAID’s localization efforts in Serbia by providing organizational and technical capacity-building support to Grupa Izadji, designing soft-skills training and coaching methodologies for LGBTQI+ youth; leading the development of the activity’s learning agenda; and advising on monitoring, evaluation, and learning activities throughout the project.  

October 2022

USAID has awarded an 18-month costed extension to the Collective Action to Reduce Gender-Based Violence (CARE-GBV) Task Order to build on the Activity’s achievements in identifying and disseminating best practices in GBV prevention and response programming.

From 2020 to 2022, CARE-GBV, implemented by Making Cents in a joint venture with our partner Development Professionals, Inc., developed seminal knowledge products and implementation plans for USAID’s programming to prevent and respond to GBV. In the second phase of CARE-GBV, now extended until 2025, the Activity will promote uptake of these knowledge products across USAID’s Operating Units. It will also target three Missions in different regions to develop “centers of success” for GBV programming. These centers will then serve as learning sites for other Missions within their respective regions.

September 2022

Making Cents is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a five-year, $19 million task order by USAID to elevate the inclusion of marginalized groups in development programming. The Inclusive Development Activity for Mission Support (IDAMS), awarded under the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Services II (EVAL ME II) IDIQ, will assist USAID in assessing the needs of, engaging with, and supporting the priorities of marginalized and underrepresented groups around the world. This includes elevating the voices of women, youth, children in adversity and their families, older persons, persons with disabilities, LGBTQI+ people, displaced persons, migrants, indigenous peoples, non-dominant religious groups, non-dominant racial and ethnic groups, people in lower castes, and persons with unmet mental health needs.

Making Cents and our partners will work hand-in-hand with USAID’s Inclusive Development Hub to support Missions and Operating Units. We will conduct inclusive development analyses; provide technical assistance to help USAID include the voices of vulnerable populations in project design; and build the knowledge base around inclusive development through monitoring, evaluation, research, and knowledge management. Our partners in this important work include experts in the inclusion of marginalized groups—Center for Victims of Torture, the Forest Stewardship Council Indigenous Foundation, and the Williams Institute at UCLA—as well as current partners on Making Cents’ EVAL ME II IDIQ team: Mathematica, Management Systems International (MSI), and UNC-Chapel Hill Global Social Development Innovations. Making Cents and its partners look forward to supporting the Agency in ensuring all communities are included in development programming.

August 2022

USAID recently awarded the Youth Resilience to Crime and Violence in the Caribbean (YRCVC) Activity to Making Cents as a subcontractor to DAI. This 5-year Activity aims to engage and empower youth and other key populations to build resilient communities in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. The activity will engage youth as partners and integrate interventions at the national and sub-national levels to improve youth, family, and community resilience to crime and violence. It will also improve social services and protections, and support youth, families, and communities in preventing and recovering from crime incidents to build more resilient communities.

Making Cents will assist the increased use of trauma-informed approaches in the delivery of services to high-risk youth populations, provide technical assistance in social and emotional learning and contemplative practices, and work with staff to integrate positive youth development into implementation methodologies, intervention approaches, and cross-cutting technical assistance and training. We will also supply technical expertise in the areas of workforce development and entrepreneurship for at-risk youth to create increased youth access to productive activities, such as employment, entrepreneurship, internships, and other youth ventures.

July 2022

USAID recently awarded Making Cents a Task Order to conduct a financial landscape assessment of the renewable energy and efficient energy sectors in the Caribbean under the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Services II IDIQ. The Caribbean is highly dependent on imported oil despite great potential to generate energy via renewable and clean sources such as solar, wind, hydropower, and ocean thermal energy conversion.  USAID is considering establishing a fund to support private sector investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency to boost energy resilience and overcome roadblocks to growth, stability, and self-reliance, and is seeking a better understanding of the current landscape for RE/EE projects in the Caribbean to further US Government climate change and energy goals.

Making Cents will conduct a desk review of the political environment around the energy sector and a study of the sector’s landscape of public actors and private investors. The desk review will include an assessment of existing private and public funding sources, financing conditions, technologies covered, size and geography of projects supported, and financial gaps and opportunities. From this desk review, Making Cents will provide recommendations and identify priority areas and mechanisms to assess further.

The second phase of the activity will involve a deeper investment landscape analysis for three to four countries in the Caribbean identified through discussion with USAID. The resulting data will be analyzed with an inclusive lens with a special focus on marginalized populations, including women, the LGBTQ community, migrants, and others to identify their unique barriers to access to finance and investment opportunities in the energy sector. This landscape assessment will inform and support future renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in the region and provide evidence-based recommendations to USAID’s Mission in the Dominican Republic to boost energy resilience and increase growth, stability, and self-reliance in the region.

April 2022

The Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, FMO, is providing funding to Frankfurt School of Finance and Management to support Sidian Bank in Kenya in expanding its services to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) with a specific focus on women and youth entrepreneurs, as well as MSMEs active in the agriculture sector.

Making Cents will work with the Frankfurt School by conducting a baseline assessment of the financial needs of women and youth entrepreneurs in Kenya and carrying out an institutional assessment and portfolio analysis of Sidian Bank. Based on the results of these assessments, Making Cents will provide recommendations to Sidian Bank to design new products and services to reach these target groups.

March 2022

Making Cents was awarded a Task Order under USAID’s Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Services (EVAL-ME) II IDIQ to conduct a five-year impact evaluation of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Activity. Serbia’s economy has a high potential for sustained growth where SMEs play a key role in growing the economy, but the country’s productivity lags behind other Western economies, and it is unclear which past interventions have been the most cost-effective and most successful in accelerating equitable economic growth.

Through the impact evaluation, Making Cents will expand the knowledge base on SME development in Serbia, contribute to the collective understanding of which interventions have been most successful to inform future economic growth activities, and provide insight into how these interventions may reduce obstacles to women, youth, and other groups who have limited access to economic opportunities. The evaluation will contribute to a legacy of strong economic growth programming in the region and enhance equitable prosperity for all.

December 2021

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.