3 Commentaries on Youth Development Worth Reading


Throughout March, Devex led an interactive online conversation called Youth Will that explored the power of youth to change their own future and those of their peers. Along with MasterCard Foundation, UN Habitat, and the Commonwealth Secretariat, Chemonics was proud to co-sponsor the conversation.

Three of our youth development experts addressed pressing challenges in youth development and explored some promising ways forward in the commentaries below. Be sure to check them out!

4 Lessons on Youth and Peace Building in Lebanon, by Oriana Wuerth

Generations raised in conflict zones have the opportunity to turn to violence or contribute to peacebuilding. In her commentary, former Chief of Party Oriana Wuerth shares four lessons she learned about how to effectively engage youth in peacebuilding based on her experience in Lebanon.

The New Rebels — from Activism to Policy Entrepreneurship, by Enrique Betancourt

How can we get beyond the obvious when it comes to engaging youth in policymaking and high-level forums? Chemonics Director Enrique Betancourt reflects on his experience and explores a model for giving youth a better platform in policymaking.

Youth Economic Development Programs: A Formula for Success, by Eileen Hoffman

What should be done to help young people join the workforce? Eileen Hoffman, Chemonics’ director for economic growth and trade, draws on 15 years of experience and offers a formula for success that hinges on four principles.

Chemonics also coordinated a live Google Hangout with Devex that brought young leaders together from around the world together for a discussion about youth empowerment. See it here!

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Open and Online Education for All Youth


Internet connectivity is to us what the internal combustion engine, the printing press, or the compass were to previous generations. It continues to revolutionize our world at an astonishing rate. For the 75 million unemployed youth between the ages of 15 and 24, it offers a means to prosperity and a better life through provision of knowledge, networks, data, jobs, and much more. As our communities and economies integrate and expand with the knowledge economy, and the profound need for skilled...

Posted in: Education and Youth
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Can Software Increase Graduation Rates?


What difference can a simple software system make in changing university student on-time graduation rates? In the case of Universitas Negeri Semarang (UNNES) in Semarang, Indonesia, it led to a 13 percent increase in on-time graduation. UNNES is a university partner of USAID’s Higher Education Leadership and Management (HELM), implemented by Chemonics. Since 2012, HELM has worked since 2012 with twenty-five higher education institutions to use action research to address challenges unique to each...

Posted in: Education and Youth
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This Year at Cracking the Nut: Increasing Investment in Agriculture


Within a climate of uncertain global markets, development funding from many donors has increasingly been on the chopping block. The added dimension of the urgent need to adapt to climate change means that agriculture-focused poverty solutions are increasingly more complex. However, new forms of financing, through both partner country institutions and directly from newer social impact funds are breathing new life into agricultural markets that were once considered investment taboos. Focusing on...

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One Woman’s Perspectives of International Women’s Day


This year’s International Women’s Day falls on a Sunday. For many people in the United States, it is a typical day off but in many other countries such as those in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, International Women’s Day it is an official holiday each year. I used to be a skeptic of days like this that are dedicated to honoring and appreciating a certain group of people. The cynical side of me wonders, why just this one day of the year? Why do we single out women? And what will happens on...

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Perceptions & Solutions for Women and Youth in Entrepreneurship


“Watch, listen, and learn. You can’t know it all yourself. Anyone who thinks they do is destined for mediocrity.” - Donald Trump Entrepreneurship is trending around the globe. There is no doubt that mobilizing entrepreneurs to start up their own businesses, create positive change in their communities, and use innovation to drive economic growth is a solid tool to sustainably strengthen economies. As well-known as the perks of entrepreneurship are, the risks are just as notorious. Being an...

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Chemonics Supports Doing Business


The World Bank Doing Business report is a tool that is used by the public and private sectors to determine the opportunities and challenges of doing business in various countries. The 10 key indicators tracked by the report comprise one of the measurement tools used by Chemonics projects seeking to improve the business enabling environment of the countries in which they operate. Chemonics currently implements 12 projects with primary objectives that include business enabling reforms and, of...

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International Exchanges and Learning about Our Own Systems


Do we really need to go to an international conference or study tour to fully appreciate something about our familiar system at home? Sometimes the answer is yes. Late last year I was honored by USAID/Moldova to present the Albanian experience in implementing digital audio recording in the courts. The occasion was an international conference in Moldova organized around the theme of “Contemporary Court Administration – Key Element for Judicial Reform.” Accompanying me were two judges who I consider...

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Similar Context and Language Matter: Shared Experience from a Common History


Last year I witnessed firsthand how common history and language can foster and promote positive changes across borders. In June 2014, I was invited by the USAID/Moldova Rule of Law Institutional Strengthening Program to give a presentation on our USAID/Ukraine FAIR Justice Project judicial reform efforts, including innovative work we are doing related to court user satisfaction surveys, at a conference they were organizing on modern court administration techniques later that year. I readily...

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My Route to a Career in Public Health


“Reflect on the time you realized you wanted to work in public health…” This was one of the requests of Joyce Gaufin, president of the American Public Health Association, during November’s APHA 142nd Annual Meeting & Expo, held in New Orleans, Louisiana. What an appropriate question to ask a room filled with thousands of public health professionals. What a pointed question, it felt like, for me personally, as I returned to my home state – this time, representing Chemonics International among...

Posted in: Health
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5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake: Is Haiti Better Off?


Off one plane came firemen from Miami. Off another, volunteers from France. The stream of aid workers and supplies seemed endless as they flooded the Toussaint Louverture airport in Port-au-Prince, where I had come to evacuate some consultants who had worked with the USAID watershed management project I was leading in my native country of Haiti. It was January 14, 2010, only two days after the 7.0 Mw earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people. It is hard to describe the nightmare of...

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Collaboration in Global Health


In Part 2 of his two-part series on the APHA conference, Dr. Oscar Cordon explores the need for deeper collaboration in global health across not just national borders, but disciplinary borders too. During the opening session of the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), which I attended last month with several colleagues, APHA president Dr. Joyce Golfing called for a new partnership in global health. According to Dr. Golfing, the global health threats of the 21stcent...

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Dispatch from Sydney: The World Parks Congress


"Whose gonna stand up to the big machine?" Stand up to fossil fuels. End fracking now! Who's gonna stand up and save the earth?” This was the final refrain of the youth delegation at the World Parks Congress. It was sung in front of several thousand odd people, to by and large a strong ovation. Youth, primarily from northern/western countries, played somewhat of an outsized role at the Congress’ large plenary presentations, which supported the strong theme of IUCN in its organization of the Congress...

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Big Data. Big Impact


Every year the annual SEEP conference provides economic development practitioners with opportunities to learn about and discuss innovations and successes from projects around the world. While the annual conference is always full of new ideas and trend-setting professionals, the 2014 conference stands out for bringing the idea of “big data” to development in a way that demonstrates how powerful it can be as part of our project management, planning, monitoring, and evaluation activities. The theme...

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The Importance of Global Health at APHA


In today’s interconnected world, global health is only as strong as the health care systems of the least developed countries among us. The recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is an unfortunate reminder of what can happen when an outbreak of a disease with no known cure occurs in a country with an inadequate health system. What started out in a remote village in Guinea has quickly become a complex public health emergency in West Africa and infected health workers as far away as the United...

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Democracy and Governance: Measuring for Success


I once commented to a caseflow management trainer that caseflow management is “as much art as science.” He replied that it is actually “much more art” than science. My work on rule of law projects has led me to the same conclusion. Democracy and governance (D&G) programs are dynamic. Each program begins with a clear plan and well-defined objectives, then many competing interests and priorities emerge during implementation. D&G programs aim for positive changes in organizational...

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Collaboration Drives Women’s Economic Empowerment


September 22, Members Day of the annual 2014 SEEP Conference, marked the launch of the SEEP Network’s Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Working Group. Throughout my career with Chemonics, I have spent the majority of my time focusing on issues surrounding women’s access to capital, business development services and SME development, particularly in conflict zones such as Afghanistan. Often when I would return from trips to the field, I would reflect on a key takeaway—when women business owners...

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What We Are Reading: Eradicating Poverty


A commitment to doing better and more effective development goes hand in hand with a commitment to continual learning. In that spirit, we are launching a new blog post series, “What We Are Reading,” to share the books, academic papers, web tools, and other resources our technical experts have found useful in recent months. In honor of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which is Friday, October 17, we have chosen three books with very different takes on the causes and cures for...

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Resolving the Tension between Agricultural Growth and Nutrition


Below is an excerpt from an essay that appeared in the 2014 Frontiers in Development books, themed around ending extreme poverty. The essay, by Chemonics’ Neal Donahue and Ilisa Gertner, posits that there is often an underlying tension between the “seemingly complementary goals” of agricultural growth and increased production and consumption of nutritious food. Development programs must be designed to increase farmers’ incomes and the demand and supply of nutritious food.  When it comes to...

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It’s Not the News, It’s You


If you follow media reporting on women in Afghanistan — I do, but only in English — you probably experience a flood of violent emotions. Shock and revulsion at the seemingly endless string of brutal domestic and public attacks against women and girls. Fury that the police and courts often do nothing, or even protect the attackers. Disgust at the government’s capitulation to conservatives who want to roll back legal protections for women. Indignation that women are still a tiny minority of...

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