Youth economic opportunity stakeholders do not have access to many platforms that enable them to share knowledge about the field. Collection, analysis, and dissemination of this knowledge for stakeholder uptake require a substantial commitment of resources that most organizations are not able to provide.
Making Cents has developed a demand-driven and global Youth Economic Opportunities (YEO) network that supports positive youth development (PYD) in youth economic opportunity programs; disseminates knowledge on evidence-based, scalable, and sustainable initiatives; and builds the capacity of stakeholders worldwide to design, implement, and evaluate high-impact youth economic opportunity programs, policies, and partnerships. The YEO network and its concrete and readily actionable information benefit development practitioners, public and private funders, youth leaders, policymakers, researchers, and educators across the globe.
For more than ten years, Making Cents International has supported exchange and learning and increased impact in the youth economic opportunities sector. As the advancement of young people has become a global priority, we have expanded the depth and breadth of our activities. In 2007, our first Global Youth Microenterprise Conference gathered 234 practitioners from 42 countries. In 2018, 520 experts from 70 countries convened at our 12th Anniversary Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit to impact youth programs, partnerships, and policies. To date, the activities of Making Cents’ YEO Network have engaged more than 150,000 participants from around the world.
Since 2007, the Summit has offered stakeholders an important annual platform to stay current with the sector. More than 90% of participants consistently report that the Summit enables valuable learning, information exchange, and professional connections that strengthen their practice. As we move forward, Making Cents will continue to apply evaluation feedback to the Summit’s topics, speakers, and format to ensure growth and value for YEO Network members.
Another essential component of our YEO network is www.YouthEconomicOpportunities.org, the online learning hub that disseminates credible, demand-driven content that fosters actionable learning. We ensure that it aggregates the latest research, knowledge, and practical tools. The learning hub has become a key resource for youth economic opportunity stakeholders. They draw on and contribute to the field’s knowledge base through virtual learning events, including blogs, presentations, social media feeds, and videos.
Apply It! webinars, hosted by Making Cents, are among its most popular learning events. These cover a range of technology and youth development topics, from crowd funding to the use of SMS technology to affect behavior change. Webinars in 2018 attracted 1,324 participants from 102 countries and 444 different organizations.
Making Cents curates the YEO Network, which operates on a sustainable basis. The learning hub, financed by users, has more than 29,000 subscribers. It attracts 5,000 visits per month and in 2018 registered more than 38,000 unique visitors and 274 posted resources. Every year, hundreds of organizations and individuals “co-invest” in the platform by contributing financial and in-kind resources. This impressive level of engagement is attributed to our demonstrated commitment to innovation, responsiveness to stakeholder demands, and continuous adoption of new technology.