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Education and Youth

Enhancing the quality of education and linking it to people’s futures
With 1.7 billion young people in the world today under the age of 29, education, workforce development, and youth development programming is now more critical than ever to help teach and empower tomorrow’s leaders and innovators. Chemonics leverages our deep country and regional knowledge — having implemented projects in more than 145 countries — and our understanding of how the foundational skills of literacy, numeracy, and life skills translate to more productive, healthier, more engaged citizens. We are working to improve the quality of primary, vocational and tertiary educational systems; build schools and promote access to safe spaces for students in conflict-affected environments; and engage youth as beneficiaries, partners, and leaders in our programs. Our approach promotes meaningful partnerships, putting host country counterparts and stakeholders — including young people themselves — in the lead to create local solutions to overcome development challenges.

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Education Systems Strengthening and Policy Reform: We provide a wide variety of policy reform assistance to orient education systems toward improving learning outcomes, particularly in early-grade reading and math. This includes improving data-driven decision-making through education management and information system assessment and development; refining decentralization policies to bring decision-making closer to parents, students, and communities; altering school funding formulas to equitably distribute resources to urban and rural schools; and aligning institutional incentives with educational outcomes through modern human and capital resource management policies.
Primary Education: We support the improvement of reading and math skills in the early grades by addressing the multiple issues that affect student learning. Working with ministries of education at the national and district levels, we support improved approaches for teacher behavior change and professional development; introduce mentoring or coaching techniques into schools; develop and distribute age- and culture-appropriate reading and math materials; and train teachers and school leaders in areas such as curriculum development, school safety, gender-sensitive and inclusive instruction, formative/summative assessment, and improving time on task. We also work with communities to increase public support and parental engagement in schools, as well as improving home and school learning environments.
Youth Workforce Development: We prepare youth for the workforce through cross-sectoral programming to bridge the gaps between education opportunities, the labor force, and private sector needs. Our life skills training programs are tailored to meet the needs of vulnerable youth seeking fundamental soft skills to find and keep a job; entrepreneurship skills to launch their own careers, and hard skills in agriculture and other core sectors to pursue lucrative and sustainable livelihoods. Internship programs place graduates of our training in their first jobs and support employers in training and retaining interns. Our projects also engage private sector partners to ensure that youth in vocational, technical, and tertiary education programs are receiving skills and knowledge that are applicable to the current workforce demands.
Empowering Youth: Recognizing youth engagement as key to sustainable positive youth development, Chemonics engages youth to contribute to development efforts at the local, national, and global level. Through sector-specific interventions as well as integrated approaches across sectors, our projects work with diverse populations of youth in areas such as civic engagement, health, economic growth and entrepreneurship, civil society strengthening and conflict resolution. Through small grants to youth-led and youth-serving organizations, young people receive training in advocacy, civil society, leadership, conflict resolution, and other skills to help them make positive change in their communities.

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    Annie McHughAnnie McHugh is an international education professional with five years of experience in education. She currently supports the USAID/Georgia Primary Education project from Chemonics’ home office. As a classroom teacher, Ms. McHugh spent three years teaching English in South Korea, the majority of which focused on early childhood second language acquisition through reading, phonetics, and vocabulary-building activities. In her professional studies in international education, Ms. McHugh focused on the social externalities of education, the relationship between education and other practices in development, and literacy education. Ms. McHugh holds a M.Ed. in international education policy and management from Vanderbilt. Read more

    Enrique BetancourtEnrique Betancourt is a trained architect and urban planner who once served as Executive Director at the National Center for Crime Prevention and Citizen Participation in Mexico. As an expert in urban innovation, he co-founded CONTEXTUAL, an agency developing creative solutions to complex urban problems through collaborative and participatory design. CONTEXTUAL works to bridge the gap between research, policy design and successful implementation. Previously, Enrique served as Deputy General Director of Social Policy for the Presidency of the Republic of Mexico. He holds a Masters of architecture in urban design from Harvard University. Read more

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