Economic Growth

Driving trade, technology, agriculture, business, and financial services to create jobs, reduce poverty, and enhance food security.

Workforce Development and Youth

The global financial crisis of 2007 left in its wake a population of frustrated and discouraged young people pushed out of traditional economic, political, and social pathways. Without access to steady jobs due to the economic downturn, on top of limited access to quality and relevant educational opportunities, youth around the world including in the Middle East, Central America, and North Africa reacted in powerful and noticeable ways.

DAI has responded to the call to action on youth employment. For more than 45 years, DAI has integrated the needs of the next generation into its programs by putting young people at the forefront of our initiatives. Leveraging private sector, foreign governments, and donor investment in areas such as agriculture, health, governance, and technology, DAI programs strive to create strong economic, social, and political systems so that young people can navigate their local communities and environments to empower themselves professionally, economically, and personally. DAI achieves this through programs in workforce development and entrepreneurship, education, health, leadership, and life skills.

Our Experts


Estera Barbarasa specializes in designing and implementing programs in workforce development, economic growth, market-driven skills development, youth, and gender.

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Our Projects


Palestine—Technology for Youth and Jobs Project (TechStart)

TechStart builds the capacity of Palestinian firms, strengthens demand from international buyers and investors, and stimulates the absorption of high-tech knowledge in the ecosystem.

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Nigeria—Youth-Powered Ecosystem to Advance Urban Adolescent Health and Well-Being

The Youth-Powered Ecosystem to Advance Urban Adolescent Health and Well-Being program empowers young Nigerians to think about their futures differently and access the skills, social capital, and resources needed to realize their aspirations.

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Mexico—Skills for Prosperity Mexico (S4PM)

The Skills for Prosperity Mexico (S4PM) project works to prepare learners to go from the classroom to the workforce with the right skills for the marketplace.

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Ukraine—USAID Economic Resilience Activity (ERA)

The USAID Economic Resilience Activity works to strengthen the economy of eastern Ukraine in the response to recent regional instability.

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Tanzania—Feed the Future Tanzania Advancing Youth

The Feed the Future Tanzania Advancing Youth activity helps young people ages 15 to 29 in Tanzania to enhance their employability, business savvy, leadership skills, and participation in civic life.

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Ghana—Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC)

DAI helped Kosmos Energy to design, launch, and implement the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) program as part of the oil and gas company’s corporate social investment strategy in Ghana.

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El Salvador—Puentes para el Empleo (Bridges to Employment Project)

Through Puentes para el Empleo, DAI is supporting USAID in El Salvador to link youth—including young women and vulnerable populations—to basic social resources of work, knowledge, security, and social capital in order to foster inclusion through employment opportunities.

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Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine—Arab Women’s Enterprise Fund (AWEF)

The Arab Women’s Enterprise Fund (AWEF) focuses on market system change and women’s economic empowerment (WEE) in Egypt, Jordan, and until March 2018, the occupied Palestinian Territories.

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Afghanistan—Promote: Women in the Economy (WIE)

The USAID Promote: Women in the Economy program bolstered women’s inclusion in Afghanistan’s mainstream economy and reinforced and advanced progress made by Afghan women over the past decade.

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Ethiopia—Enterprise Partners/Private Enterprise Programme Ethiopia (PEPE)

This program helps generate access to finance, good quality jobs, and increased incomes for Ethiopia’s poor. DAI works with consortium partners First Consult (Ethiopia), Itad (United Kingdom), Enclude (Netherlands), and BCaD.

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DAI History: 40 Years of Excellence

DAI was founded in 1970 by three graduates of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government intent on providing a more dynamic and effective brand of development assistance. See how DAI is turning this American success story, into a global one.

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