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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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    Nancy ParksNancy Parks is a labor skills, youth, and basic education specialist with 30 years of experience in international education and development. Ms. Parks specializes in developing curricula and materials to improve reading, leading employment generation projects, and facilitating innovative private sector linkages. She has led education projects in Afghanistan, Georgia, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt, and previously taught for 20 years at the American University in Cairo and Cairo American College. In addition to training teachers and government officials, Ms. Parks has developed instructional materials, basic education and vocational education curricula, training manuals, and assessments. As the current chief of party for an early grade reading program in Kyrgyz Republic, Ms. Parks is working closely with the country’s Ministry of Education and Science to assess the reading abilities of primary school students, the quality of reading materials, and the competencies of teachers and education professionals to lead national early grade reading reforms. Read more

    Christopher AshfordChristopher Ashford is an education and youth development expert with more than 20 years of experience. Before his career in international development, Dr. Ashford taught English in the United States. More recently, he led the Yes Youth Can National Program in Kenya. As chief of party for the Liberia Teacher Training Program, he managed the capacity building of 30,000 under-qualified primary school teachers by providing in-service and pre-service training. Dr. Ashford has also assisted the Ministry of Education in policy decisions to improve literacy levels and provide additional support for girls. In addition, Dr. Ashford served as the chief of party on the Sindh Reading Program in Pakistan, which aims to increase student achievement in early grade reading and math in the Sindh province. He is currently the chief of party for the Soma Umenye Project in Rwanda, which aims to improve reading outcomes in Kinyarwanda for children in Grades 1 to 3. Read more

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