In Focus: The Nuts and Bolts of STEM


An array of sensors, batteries, motors, and cables lies before wide-eyed students in a classroom in Moldova. These children see the opportunity to build, tinker, and explore. But for educators, this is a long-term investment in the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals.

Information technology (IT) is a rapidly growing sector in Moldova and employs more than 20,000 people. Yet with fewer students studying STEM in university, there is a shortage of skilled STEM workers.The Moldova Competitiveness Project (MCP), funded by USAID and implemented by Chemonics, is creating opportunities for young learners to experience STEM in the classroom and potentially as a career. 

In partnership with the Moldovan Ministry of Education, MCP is introducing STEM in Moldova’s classrooms through educational robotics. Robotics captivates students with the exciting and hands-on application of science and coding. Across 76 educational institutions and seven libraries in Moldova, MCP is implementing RoboClub, an educational robotics initiative that brings real-world engineering challenges to the classroom.

MCP also supported the Association for IT Development to organize the second edition of the GirlsGoIT Summer Camp in July 2016. With guidance from professional mentors and trainers, 40 girls from 10 Moldovan localities received training in web applications development and basic IT skills.

Catching children at a young age is key to creating a lifelong interest in these topics: Students who have early exposure to robotics are twice as likely to major in science or engineering. With these early experiences as part of their academic portfolio, students gain the skills, resources, and passion to confidently pursue STEM careers.
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3 Questions with Mert Tangonan: Toward a Cashless Economy in the Philippines


Mert Tangonan is the chief of party of USAID’s E-PESO activity in the Philippines. E-PESO seeks to accelerate the shift toward digital payments for broad-based economic growth and financial inclusion in the Philippines. Learn more about how e-payments promote economic growth in a Mert Tangonan's video interview. Electronic payments go beyond mobile money, and include electronic funds transfers, credit card transactions, and more. What everyday challenges does the Philippines experience considering...

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Mornings in Bujumbura: Reflections of a Start-Up Traveler


What does a start-up field assignment with Chemonics look like? In my case, I landed in Burundi in August, charged with carrying out recruitment efforts in the country for USAID’s Global Health Supply Chain Program-Procurement and Supply Management project (GHSC-PSM). In the end, I spent forty days in Bujumbura, at times working 16 hours a day alongside my fellow start-up specialists in a rush to fill 28 positions with local staff. I concluded my assignment in October, two days before the...

Posted in: Health
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Gender Equality According to the Next Generation


As governments all over the world attempt to address global issues, youth bring an important ability to challenge leaders to look at issues from a different perspective. Youth often bring innovative angles towards addressing social and economic challenges. One of these challenges that continues to persist in both Southeast Asian and European nations is gender inequality and how it can be resolved through policymaking. With surmounting recognition of the role of youth in gender equality...

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Bringing Climate Science into Development Planning


This blog post is adapted from a post that originally appeared on Climatelinks. Climate science is a complex field, and communicating that science and its implications for development programming in a way that is clear, but does not oversimplify, is a persistent challenge. Yet bridging the gap between research and implementation is vital for development practitioners to understand the variables that projected climate changes may introduce into their planning across sectors, and for them to manage...

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In Focus: The Calm Before the Storm


Before a natural disaster hits in the United States, most Americans learn about incoming dangerous weather events through mobile phone weather apps, weather websites, radios, and televisions. But in many developing countries, people are often unprepared when a storm hits. The consequences can be dire. In a country that is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, damages caused by flooding are expected to cost Mozambique approximately $45 million by 2030, and caused more than 2,000 deaths...

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Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016


From measuring countering violent extremism programs to explaining why land tenure matters, Chemonics’ staff have shared diverse opinions, experiences, and technical approaches on the Connections blog. Here are the 10 most popular blog posts in 2016: 10. Predicting Human Rights Violations Before They Happen by Laura Zambrano, deputy chief of party for the USAID Colombia Human Rights Activity. 9. Cambodia’s Shrinking Space for Civil Society and the Role of Donors by Morana Krajnovic, civil society...

Posted in: Chemonics
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3 Questions with Robert Anyang: Feeding the Next Generation in Uganda


Robert Anyang is the chief of party for the Feed the Future Uganda Commodity Production and Marketing (CPM) Activity, which works to reduce poverty by improving the production and marketing of maize, beans, and coffee for smallholder farmers and strengthening relationships between actors in the value chain. Youth engagement in agriculture is an important component of many agricultural development programs. Why is it so important to reach youth? Firstly, the current population that’s engaged in...

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5 Ps to Move Open Government Forward


Open government is critical to enhancing essential services, opening civic space, and making government more accountable to citizens. Sustainable Development Goal 16 asks the international community to aim toward building more effective, responsive, and inclusive institutions, which evidence shows lead to better development outcomes for citizens. Recently, at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit in Paris, governments around the world, in consultation with civil society, committed...

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Doing Business as a Tool for Economic Reform


By Matthew Johnson, Kreshnik Kurtishi, and Terence Slywka The World Bank Doing Business report The World Bank’s Doing Business report is an objective and comparative assessment that measures how easy it is to start, run, and grow a business. For example, the report measures the time and cost it takes to register a business, get electricity, and enforce contracts. For over a decade, it has generated significant attention from national governments and has become a trusted tool for countries to use...

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3 Questions with Michelle Gardner: The Future of Global Health


Michelle Gardner is the senior vice president of Chemonics’ Global Health Division. A public health professional with 20 years of international experience, she brings a broad public health background developing and overseeing programming in reproductive health and family planning, maternal and child health, immunization, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, and safe water, with a focus on both the public and private sectors. What innovation in the health sector are you most excited about...

Posted in: Health
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3 Questions with Cristina Hardaga: Advancing Human Rights and Women's Rights in Mexico


Cristina Hardaga is the activity coordinator and gender focal point on USAID’s EnfoqueDH: Human Rights Public Policy Activity in Mexico. EnfoqueDH supports the government of Mexico and civil society to incorporate a human rights perspective into regulatory, federal, and state frameworks. Why is inclusion important for the development of Mexico? Mexico is a culturally rich and diverse country with a wealth of natural resources, but also a very unequal country. The already large divide between poor...

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The Case for Dinosaurs and Fruit Flies in Pharmaceutical Supply Chains


At the Global Health Supply Chain Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, we had the opportunity to hear about innovations, public-private partnerships, and other unique solutions that actors from various points of pharmaceutical supply chains are utilizing to solve last mile challenges. Unmanned aerial vehicles, blockchains, Uber-like mobile phone applications for delivery of essential medicines, country-wide electronic information management systems to replace paper-based records — all these and...

Posted in: Health
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Four Lessons for Sri Lanka from Bangladesh’s Right to Information Experience


Access to information is a fundamental right. More than 100 countries worldwide have adopted right to information (RTI) legislation, which are laws regulating public access to information, particularly from public institutions (sometimes referred to as access to information or freedom of information laws). These countries are increasingly recognizing the connection between good governance, accountability, and freedom of information. Most recently, Sri Lanka joined the ranks of these countries, ad...

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3 Questions with Mary Lyn Field-Nguer: Transitions in How We Prevent and Treat HIV


Mary Lyn Field-Nguer is the director for the HIV task order under USAID’s Global Health Supply Chain Program — Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project. She has contributed to HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs since 1991 in Africa, Asia, and Central America, including training and consulting on how to scale up pediatric care and treatment. 1. What supply chain challenges inhibit universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care? The treatment of people with HIV...

Posted in: Health
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Do We Really Need 39 Million More Health Professionals?


During the internship year of my medical training, Peru was affected by a severe El Niño. At that time, millions of people living in the poor peri-urban belt of Lima lacked access to clean water and sanitation services. These factors were a recipe for a massive outbreak of diarrheal diseases in children. The pediatric services in the hospital emergency room where I worked received one child affected by mild to moderate dehydration every three minutes. That year, the Ministry of Health introduced...

Posted in: Health
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Disability-Inclusive Development is Smart Development


The UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) will be celebrated this week around the world, on December 3. This year’s theme, “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want,” focuses on the role that the sustainable development goals play in “building a more inclusive and equitable world for people with disabilities.” For the international development community, IDPD serves as a reminder to amplify our efforts to not only include people with disabilities in development work but to...

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Making Schools Safe Across the Democratic Republic of the Congo


By Rebecca Malinick and Jennifer Swift-Morgan Overheard at a recent workshop: “Girls who are having sex with their teachers need to be coached to make better choices.” A debate ensued. Do they? Is that really a choice they are making? Or is it the teachers who need to change their behavior, school administration that needs to be part of the solution, education and justice systems that must enforce policies and laws, and families and communities who need to let girls know that this is not normal or...

Posted in: Education and Youth
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A Paradigm Shift is Necessary for REDD+ to Be Sustainable


In 2013 I wrote a book called Redeeming REDD: Policies, Incentives, and Social Feasibility for Avoided Deforestation, published by Earthscan. In the book I argue that reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD, and the latest variant known as REDD+), needs a suite of enabling conditions, independent of market viability as well as measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) systems in order to be redeemed as an effective approach. REDD projects, it was hoped, would feed...

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Market Development at the Nexus between Public and Private Sectors


The Sustainable Development Goals established an agenda for transforming the world in which we live. SDG1 sets for the ultimate objective for the global community: to end poverty in all of its forms by 2030. The remaining 16 SDGs identify critically interlinked objectives which are both necessary and sufficient to achieve this objective. They clearly illustrate that economic growth initiates should be viewed through the lens of a larger, more complex development problem – one that requires...

Posted in: Chemonics
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