In Focus: Youth Get in the Game


Our world has 1.8 billion young people — nearly one-quarter of the world’s population, and the largest generation of youth in history.

Today, International Youth Day, recognizes the prominent role that youth have to play in achieving sustainable development. Yet, too often, they are left on the sidelines. The theme of this year’s International Youth Day is “youth civic engagement” — highlighting and encouraging young people to participate politically, economically, and socially in their communities as a key element of sustainable and peaceful development. 

The photo above, from Colombia, shows a youth soccer league that is helping young people become more involved with and connected to their communities, as well as developing their confidence and a positive sense of collective identity. In Colombia, where drugs and related violence are long-standing problems, the USAID Colombia Consolidation and Enhanced Livelihood Initiative (CELI) organizes collaborative activities for local communities to build trust and start moving toward a permanent state of peace.

Sarah Strader is a manager in Chemonics' education and youth practice.

"In Focus" is an occasional series highlighting photos from Chemonics' work around the world. 

Posted in: Education and Youth
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Know Your SDGs: The Role of Sustainable Agriculture in Ending Hunger and Achieving Food Security


By Wynne Mancini and Justin Kosoris September marks a key step in global development’s future. U.N. member states will convene the Sustainable Development Summit  this September to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — a set of 17 newly proposed goals to guide the global development community in improving the lives of the poor and eradicating poverty. The SDGs expand on and refine the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight guidelines adopted in 2000 to reduce extreme...

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Celebrating Nigeria's Food and Agriculture Markets


This post was originally published by the Global Harvest Initiative, and is cross-posted with permission. Nigeria has a powerful potential for productive agriculture with linkages to growing consumer demand. Living in Abuja and working in the field of agriculture, I witness this potential of agriculture to help improve the lives of farmers, not only in Nigeria but throughout the West African region. Improving lives of poor, rural farmers is an important part of a peacebuilding strategy to...

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Know Your SDGs: The Reality of Education for All


By Kaitlyn Coogan and Jill Meeks With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire at the end of this year, the United Nations General Assembly will be meeting in September to discuss the next phase of the MDGs. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a compilation of 17 goals and 169 targets, are set to replace the MDGs. This presents an opportunity for the international community and brings us to a critical juncture in the development world: Will the SDGs be too much too soon, or...

Posted in: Education and Youth
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In Focus: Painting for Peace


In an area of Colombia terrorized by illegal armed groups, this mural stands out as a colorful beacon of tolerance and peace. Young people in Tumaco painted the community mural as part of a municipal human rights training initiative developed as part of Chemonics’ Colombia Human Rights Program. The program develops community leadership skills and promotes peace in the municipality. The Colombia Human Rights Program works in eight Colombian departments to spread awareness among targeted...

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Know Your SDGs: The Role of Sustainability and Youth in Economic Growth


Proposed Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 is to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.” For those who are familiar with the existing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), this language may sound familiar. Under Goal 1 of the MDGs, the second target is, “achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.” So what is really new with the SDGs in the world of economic...

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A Better Life


This post was original published on UN Women's EmpowerWomen.org site, and is cross-posted with permission. I love being independent. For me, economic empowerment means the ability to rely on oneself, not to be too reliant on one’s husband, and to contribute towards household expenses such as bills, school fees, and fuel. As a woman, I am driven by two things: my husband as my biggest supporter and the motivation to have a better life than my mother. My mother has been a huge influence in my life...

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Know Your SDGs: All Hands on Deck for the World's Oceans


“I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the...

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#Chemonics40: Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Future


Today, Chemonics celebrates our 40th anniversary. On July 14, 1975, our founder and first CEO Tony Teele began an incredible journey with just a development mission and a single employee. Forty years later, many things have changed. Chemonics has more than 2,800 employees worldwide, 94 percent of whom are local. We are 100-percent employee owned, which was a dream of Tony’s. We have implemented development projects in more than 145 countries worldwide. But one thing has never changed: our mission...

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Progress and Perseverance: Reflections on World Population Day


World Population Day (July 11) is a time for us as development professionals to celebrate and take stock of our accomplishments, of which there have been many. At the same time, it is important to recognize the challenges that lie ahead. For me, health is a basic human right, as well as one of the key indicators of a country’s development progress. On the global level, progress across several health indicators has been noteworthy since the first World Population Day was observed in 1989. Maternal...

Posted in: Health
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In Focus: Building the Foundations of Reading in Pakistan


Recently, the USAID Sindh Reading Program (SRP), a project under the Sindh Basic Education Program, shared the results of the early grade reading assessments (EGRA) conducted in 2014 in Sindh with education practitioners, donors, and government officials. The EGRA is a tool that tests students on foundational aspects of reading such as: phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. Additional instruments included teacher interview forms and a student questionnaire to...

Posted in: Education and Youth
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3 Questions With Melissa Scudo on Tax Reform for Economic Growth


Melissa Scudo is the team leader for the Tunisia Tax and Customs Reform Activity (TCP)—a two-year initiative to help the government of Tunisia bolster economic growth through tax and customs reform. TCP is part of Chemonics’ Asia and Middle East Economic Growth Best Practices (AMEG) project. Q. Regional turmoil makes this a challenging time to implement a reform project in the Middle East and North Africa. In a changing Middle East landscape, how does your work on tax reform fit into helping...

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A Win-Win for Small Miners, Big Miners, and the Environment in Colombia


Chemonics International recently finished an innovative project in the mining sector. The obvious question for Chemonics and USAID is why would a development program choose to work in mining generally, and in Colombian gold mining specifically?  A little context may provide the answer. Colombia has a long history of gold mining that dates to the pre-Columbian civilizations that inhabited the area and later to the time of the Spanish colonies. However, with a fivefold increase in gold prices in...

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In Focus: Greater Social and Economic Inclusion for All Citizens in Vietnam


The Vietnam Governance for Inclusive Growth project strengthens private sector competitiveness, enhances rule of law, and promotes greater social and economic inclusion for all citizens. As part of this initiative, the project is collaborating with government and civil society to strengthen public consultation around Vietnam’s Civil Code. This photo features ICS, a civil society organization representing the LGBT community, which has engaged with the Ministry of Justice to provide inputs to the...

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3 Questions with Doris Youngs on Health Care Delivery in Rwanda


Doris Youngs leads the USAID Rwanda Family Health Project, working closely with local and international partners to the quality of service delivery in HIV, maternal health, child and newborn health, malaria, nutrition, and hygiene in 20 out of 30 districts in Rwanda. Doris is a senior program director, chief of party, and public health practitioner with more than 20 years of experience, who has worked on health programs in more than 35 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Q. While some...

Posted in: Health
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In Focus: Using Greenhouses to Grow Incomes in Haiti


This week, Chemonics’ Mario Kerby presented at the Harvest the Future International Symposium about our work helping smallholder farmers in Haiti increase their incomes through the use of greenhouses. Harvest the Future is an annual gathering for experts to share and discuss the latest advancements and initiatives in small-scale, climate-smart agriculture. From 2009 to 2014, the USAID Feed the Future West/ WINNER project installed more than 400 greenhouses on Haïtian hillsides. By using...

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#Chemonics40: Celebrating People


In 2015, Chemonics marks 40 years of advancing our development mission, of partnering with international and local organizations and clients, and of delivering lasting impact for our beneficiaries. Looking back at my 22 years with Chemonics, I am proud of many things. I am proud of the work we have done to improve people’s lives. I’m proud of the partnerships we have built, locally and internationally. And I am proud to have worked with so many wonderful people, whether it is our beneficiaries,...

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Creating a Dialogue on Clean Energy


This week, the U.S. Department of State Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), USAID, and Chemonics are joining together to host a Clean Energy Dialogue during the Asian Clean Energy Forum in Manila, Philippines. Aiming to address the growing energy consumption in the region, the dialogue includes five deep-dive sessions on topics such as the role of clean energy and renewables in the region, scaling up solar power and wind energy, biomass, power grids, and financing for renewable energy. The dialogue...

Posted in: Sustainable Energy
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Toward a Cleaner Energy Future in the Lower Mekong


The Mekong River extends 2,500 miles from China's Yunnan province to the South China Sea, navigating along Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The river supports the livelihoods of more than 50 million people through freshwater fish harvest and shows great hydropower potential. However, there are growing concerns regarding the depletion of resources in the Mekong River, pollution, and the economic future of the Lower Mekong.  That’s why the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) exists....

Posted in: Sustainable Energy
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In Focus: Bosnia Farmers' Market Showcases Samples and Success


Last week, Bosnia’s Fostering Agricultural Markets Activity (FARMA) project held its final event—a farmers' market in Sarajevo that showcased the wares and accomplishments of its participating producer organizations. Attendees could sample and purchase a wide variety of fresh and homemade products, including berries, jams, cheeses, and soaps. The event also featured videos highlighting the farmers’ successes. Bosnia FARMA began in 2009, with the aim of expanding production, processing, sales,...

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