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:

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:

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.  

November 2021

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.

October 2021

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

September 2021

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. 

August 2021

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. 

May 2021

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)