Letter from Making Cents International

Dear Colleagues,

The 2012 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference was particularly timely and relevant, as it coincided with a decided shift in the international development community to more effectively incorporate youth, women, and vulnerable populations in projects across all technical sectors. This shift in thinking and program design is both recognition and validation that empowered youth have a positive correlation with sustainability and effectiveness of interventions.

I am very pleased to share with you our 6th Annual State of the Field in Youth Economic Opportunities publication. This year’s publication highlights the lessons learned, promising practices and latest trends that emerged during Making Cents International’s 6th Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference. The conference took place at the National Convention Center in Washington, DC September 11-13, 2012. Practitioners, policymakers, funders, educators, youth, private sector actors, and researchers discussed innovations, failures, successes, lessons learned, and the next big ideas that will continue to advance the youth economic opportunities field in achieving impact, scale, and sustainability.

At the conference, we were fortunate to hold lively and engaging conversations with more than 450 implementers, funders, and private and public sector representatives from more than 50 countries, each of whom brought unique and valuable perspective. They shared their failures, successes, models, and ideas through the following learning tracks:

  • Youth Enterprise Development
  • Workforce Development
  • Youth-Inclusive Financial Services and Financial Capabilities
  • Adolescent Girls and Young Women
  • Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Assessment

As we shared experiences and challenged each other, I witnessed the materialization of the idea that people are capable of incredible things when given the appropriate resources, knowledge, and opportunities. This was true for conference participants and the young populations they serve. While reflecting on past Global Youth Economic Opportunities conferences, I see that the field has grown and matured at an exponential rate, due largely to the collaborative spirit and efforts of all youth economic opportunities stakeholders.

With that in mind, I am pleased to present Making Cents International’s new Collaborative Learning and Action for Youth Economic Opportunities Institute, or Co-Lab. Created this year in response to increasing calls for collaborative action to strengthen the evidence base, Co-Lab will  bring you the  tools, research, innovations, and best practices needed to do your work successfully. Building on the conference and our online portal, www.YouthEconomicOpportunities.org, Co-Lab provides you with a 365-days-a-year comprehensive and integrated learning infrastructure to support your high impact, scalable, and sustainable programs, policies, and partnerships. You will see this materialize through increased donor collaboration; learning events; circulation of news, resources, and tools; networking opportunities, all with an emphasis on creating lasting impact for your projects, but more importantly, across the sector.

This publication builds upon the information that was shared via Making Cents’ compendium of State of the Field publications, which can be downloaded here. Making Cents is interested in hearing how our Collaborative Learning and Action Institute impacts you and the work you’re doing; please let me know at [email protected].

You’re invited you to the 7th Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference, which will take place in Washington, DC September 10-12, 2013. This year’s conference presenters include some of the world’s top young entrepreneurs, researchers, agencies, and iNGOs. Our spotlights for the conference are Economic Opportunities for Rural Youth and The Power of Technology.  Whether you are a seasoned expert or new to the youth economic opportunities field, you can expect to gain enhanced technical capacity, new partnerships, and access to funding opportunities. For more information, please visit: www.YouthEconomicOpportunities.org/Conference

In addition to the conference, please join us throughout the year on our portal and on Twitter (@YouthEconOpps), so that we can continue to learn from each other and create high impact, scalable, and sustainable initiatives. We look forward to you joining us, and playing an active role throughout the year as we collaboratively work to improve the lives of the world’s youth.


Fiona Macaulay

Founder and CEO, Making Cents International
[email protected]
Skype: fmacaulay