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Education and Youth

Enhancing the quality of education and linking it to people’s futures
Chemonics’ global network of over 4,000 specialists is driven by a stubborn insistence that tomorrow’s world must be better than today’s, which is why our work with youth is so central to who we are. With more than half of the world’s population under 30 years of age, it is critical that we empower young people as tomorrow’s leaders. We see youth as both beneficiaries and stakeholders, and we create economic opportunities for young people to drive meaningful change around the world. So our work takes us to Jordan, where we work with private sector partners to jumpstart careers in hospitality. We are in Uganda where we promote inclusive, cost-effective agriculture opportunities for young people, especially girls, driven by market demand. And we are in Indonesia, raising the standards of higher education. Because we believe that all young people — without exception — have the right to lead productive, engaged, and healthy lives.

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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.
Improve Quality Education: We support improving early-grade reading and math skills by addressing the diverse 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 to schools; develop and distribute age- and culture-appropriate reading and math materials; and train teachers and school leaders in 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 levels. Through sector-specific interventions and integrated approaches across sectors, our projects work with diverse populations of youth in 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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    Marcos MorenoMarcos Moreno is an agriculture and youth development expert with more than 25 years of experience, including 15 years at senior management levels, creating sustainable economic opportunities for the next generation via agribusiness development projects in East Africa, Southern Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Throughout his career, he has combined agricultural knowledge with innovative business expertise to link private and public sector resources to benefit target populations, including youth and women; create viable, market-driven economic opportunities along key value chains; and promote sustainable skills and strengthen livelihoods. He has extensive experience in identifying ways to integrate female and young farmers to add value to agricultural sectors and key value chains in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi, Bolivia, Mexico, and Colombia. Mr. Moreno is a creative, entrepreneurial, and motivating leader with a record of managing diverse teams and maintaining relationships with diverse stakeholders and partners, including host-country governments and USAID. Read more

    Sergio Ramirez-MenaSergio Ramirez-Mena currently serves as the chief of party for USAID’s Zambia Strengthening Educational Performance - Up, which partners with the Zambian Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training, and Early Education to improve learner performance. With more than 22 years of experience in international education, Mr. Ramirez-Mena is adept in collaborating with ministries on education management systems, particularly those integrating technology. Recognized as an experienced Education Management Information System (EMIS) specialist, Mr. Ramirez-Mena has provided consulting services to clients in Africa and Latin America. He has also led projects in Latin America and the Caribbean that focused on teacher training, literacy methodologies, and institutional capacity building. In addition to working on improving literacy in primary schools through active learning and updated teacher skills, Mr. Ramirez-Mena has implemented education information systems for policy dialogue and institutional capacity building. Read more

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