Program Development, Stakeholder Mobilization, and Evaluation
How effective are USAID investments in Vocational and Technical education? For USAID I reviewed the Agency’s investments in technical and vocational education in five countries from 2005-2010, developing policy recommendations based on lessons learned.
How effective is a skills development program that straddles the border of Tajikistan and Afghanistan? At the request of the Aga Khan Foundation, I led a mid-term review of a program that teaches young people business English, IT, and accounting so they can find jobs and help support their families.
How to focus world donor attention on youth unemployment? In 1998 the numbers were on the wall – within the next 20 years the planet would have the highest numbers of young people (15-35) and most of these were living in countries where there are few, if any, jobs. With a team of leaders including Members of the House of Lords, the Prince of Edinburgh Trust, the World Bank, Education Development Center, and others we developed the world’s first youth employment summit that was later held in Alexandria, Egypt in 2002.
Spreading innovation and best practices through a network. At the request of the National Science Foundation, I advised a network of community colleges on how to spread best practice in advanced manufacturing throughout a network of colleges and small and medium enterprises in the U.S.
How to align Peru’s stakeholders to develop skills and create jobs? Peru’s economy in the late 90’s suffered from high rates of unemployment. 80 percent of youth lived on the margins. The best training schools had few, if any, of the tools required for hands-on learning of skills needed by the manufacturing sector. At the request of USAID’s Human Capital Bureau, we developed a stakeholder summit, bringing together leaders from the National Association of Manufacturers, government, NGOs, and donors. To ensure a productive outcome, the dialog was organized around the question, “What would it take for Peru’s economy to shift from exporting raw copper to high value added copper products?” 200 of the country’s leaders attended and developed actionable plans in response to the question. Leaders who had already gone through this transformation in their countries of Malaysia, Czech Republic, Singapore, South Africa provided advice, mentoring and support. This process led to a profound transformation in how participants related to their country. One leader, the president of a major university, told the group that he has been waiting his whole life for someone from the North to come and fix his country, and that from now on, he was going to take responsibility for his country. 40 other leaders stood up and pledged their support
What would it take to cut the time in half that rural women in India labor in the fields? At the request of USAID and in partnership with the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, we brought together 40 NGO’s and businesswomen concerned with women’s issues in India and Bangladesh to share best practice and develop innovative programs to reduce the number of hours very poor women spent working.
What if stakeholders could design their own reform of technical education? With support from the Asian Development Bank we developed a stakeholder process that united 90 Kyrgyz leaders who were not used to collaborating with each other with the question, “If your country’s technical education system were entirely effective, how would you know it and what would you see happening? Participants generated a remarkable vision for their country, as well as action plans, replicating the process throughout the country to develop a stakeholder-owned program for investment.
How could you bring a declining historic city back to vibrant life? As a very young woman I led an initiative that transformed Portsmouth, NH by asking everyone the question, “what is the purpose of your market square, your downtown?” As school children asked the city’s elders, shop owners asked customers, NGOs asked their members, government leaders asked the citizenry and guerilla theater actors stopped people in the streets to ask this question the town took actions that transformed it from declining to being listed on the top 10 best small cities to live.