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


Afghanistan—Promote: Women in the Economy (WIE)

The USAID Promote: Women in the Economy program is bolstering women’s inclusion in Afghanistan’s mainstream economy and reinforcing and advancing 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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Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine—Arab Women’s Enterprise Fund (AWEF)

Funded by the U.K. Department for International Development and working in Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine, Arab Women’s Enterprise Fund (AWEF) stimulates increased women’s economic empowerment and agency through a market systems approach.

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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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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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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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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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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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DAI’s Employee Ownership Initiative Wins Prestigious Award

DAI was yesterday named an award winner at the 17th annual conference of the Global Equity Organization (GEO), a professional membership organization dedicated to advancing understanding of employee share plans. DAI won in a new award category, Best Use of a Share Plan in a Private Company.

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