May 2019

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 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

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

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.

October 2018

The Demand-Driven Training Toolkit, by Making Cents International with support from Rockefeller Foundation, was launched on October 16, 2017, in Johannesburg, South Africa. “The toolkit is an important step in facilitating a strong relationship between the education supply and demand sides in South Africa to promote more employment opportunities for youth,” said Dr. Christy Olenik, Vice President, Technical Services, Making Cents International. Developed with input from leading South African and global education and training institutions and private sector companies, the DDT toolkit offers information, tools, and resources to better align workforce development to employer needs and helps education and training institutions become more effective.

Read the full article here (column on far right).

Demand-Driven Training

Demand-driven training toolkit: Making the match for youth and employers

Johannesburg – The Rockefeller Foundation and Making Cents International are pleased to announce the launch of the Demand-Driven Training for Youth Employment Toolkit (DDT) on Friday October 19, 2017, at the Emoyeni Conference Center in Johannesburg, South Africa. A capacity building workshop and reception will feature the toolkit authors and key stakeholders from the government, private sector, and educational institutions. The DDT Toolkit is designed to help workforce training providers and employers address the current global mismatch between youth skills and employer needs.

The current rate of job creation in Africa is insufficient for the needs of the continent’s growing youth population, which is expected to double to 400 million by 2045. Through its Digital Jobs Africa (DJA) initiative, the Rockefeller Foundation has been working to address that gap by working to ensure that the continent’s youth are prepared with the right skills—job-specific technical training and soft skills—for long-term success.

Over the past year, Making Cents International has collaborated with Rockefeller to conduct research and develop resources that will support the successful adoption and scaling of demand-driven training for employment programs. This work contributes to strengthening the capacity of youth education and training providers and institutions in South Africa and globally.

Unlike “demand-aware” or “demand-aligned training”, which offer education and training in theory and skills deemed useful for general employment or sector-specific work, “demand-driven training” prepares young workers for specific occupational roles that employers are looking to fill. The Toolkit will help facilitate:

  • Partnerships between employers and education and training institutions and providers

  • Screening, assessments, and profiling resources to support positive job matching scenarios

  • Soft skills development (e.g. dependability, problem-solving, collaboration, perseverance)

  • Youth mentoring that supports young people’s personal and professional growth

  • Practical and on-the-job training

The DDT Toolkit, developed with input from leading South African and global education and training institutions, private sector companies, offers a practical approach—with accompanying information, tools, and resources—to better align workforce development to employer needs and helps education and training institutions become more effective. The Toolkit will be provided in an easy-to-use format, available free of charge online and as a downloadable, interactive PDF document.

Demand-driven training can play an increasingly significant role in building inclusive local economies and helping to secure livelihoods for disadvantaged youth. When young people are provided with the training and skills employers actually want, communities thrive and youth can fulfill their potential.

Download the full toolkit here.

group of people reading

October 2018

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.

August 2018

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

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.

May 2018

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.

March 2018

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.

January 2018

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.

June 2017

Making Cents was featured in the quarterly newsletter of the Small Business Association for International Companies (SBAIC). SBAIC is a membership forum established to promote the meaningful utilization of U.S. small businesses at USAID and other U.S. Government agencies providing foreign assistance. The article highlights the ways Making Cents is supporting USAID through our YouthPower Learning project and focuses on the lead role we have in implementing a Positive Youth Development approach across a variety of sectors. Read the article here!

July 2017

In Tanzania and Uganda, Making Cents is leading a training workshop for eight Master Trainer candidates in a customized financial literacy skills curriculum under the East Africa Youth Inclusion Program II (EAYIP). The training helps develop local partner capacities to scale financial literacy programs for youth populations. These Master Trainers will be responsible for training the cadre of trainers that will reach 25,000 youth.

EAYIP is funded by The MasterCard Foundation and implemented by Heifer International. Making Cents is working alongside Heifer’s implementing partners Youth Alive, Restless Development, MIICO, Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), Kilimo Trust, Small Industries Development Organization of Tanzania (SIDO), and Vocational and Technical Training Authority (VETA).

May 2017

group of male students

Making Cents, in collaboration with Educational Center “Bilim-Central Asia” and the Kazakh Academy of Transport and Communication, organized a career exploration day for twenty-two graduates of Almaty secondary school #56 who are considering a career in transportation and logistics. The career exploration day, organized as part of USAID’s Central Asia Competitiveness, Trade, and Jobs (CTJ) project, focused on career planning, occupational and educational exploration, and job search. The graduates visited the Kazakh Academy of Transport and Communication, where Mr. Sergei Muzyka, Making Cents’ CTJ Workforce Development Lead, presented the program with Dr. Ulan Kuttybaev, Vice Rector of the Academy. The presentation covered topics of occupational chapters and specialties, qualification requirements, relevant skills and personal traits, career perspectives (salary expectations and personal development), career opportunities in adjacent areas, and job opportunities and sector demand in Kazakhstan in 10 years’ perspective. The event aimed to assist young graduates in choosing a career in the area of transportation and logistics and to facilitate a collaboration between workforce development organizations and educational institutions. The initiative was highly appreciated by the Academy, which agreed to host similar events for graduates interested in careers in transportation and logistics.

April 2017

Making Cents International produced a Demand-Driven Training (DDT) Framework in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation that introduces, describes, and discusses the underlying structure of the DDT concept. The Framework assesses and captures best-in-class DDT models and contributes to strengthening the capacity of youth training providers and informing donor investments in the field. Ultimately, the Framework aims to contribute to scaling up the impact of DDT programs across Africa, and beyond. Learn more about the project here.