Young Women Transform Prize
Enabling Youth-Led Economic Empowerment
Michelle Bekkering, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment, USAID, announces the winners of the Young Women Transform Prize
See more detailed information about each of the awardees further below.
PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERS
The Volvo Group and Standard Chartered are joining as partners in the Young Women Transform Prize alongside USAID. The partners have a deep commitment to improving education and economic opportunities for youth, women, and girls around the world. USAID, The Volvo Group, and Standard Chartered are partners to the prize awards and Standard Chartered will also be tapping into its volunteer network to offer grant recipients mentoring to build their financial and management capabilities.
USAID continues to seek additional partners to provide financial or in-kind contributions, such as capacity building and mentoring for youth beneficiaries to maximize the number of young women reached through this initiative.
THE WINNERS ARE ADDRESSING THIS CHALLENGE
The 1.8 billion young people in the world today represent the largest youth population in history. In many parts of the world, youth lack opportunities for education and meaningful employment; an estimated 21 percent of youth are neither employed nor enrolled in education or training opportunities leaving these youth disaffected and with little hope for their future prospects.
Youth unemployment disproportionally affects young women. Globally, only 37 percent of young women participate in the labor force, compared to 54 percent of young men. When young women are excluded from economic opportunities, gender inequality is reinforced and they are less able to invest in their own health, education and safety – and that of their children.
The factors contributing to this economic gender divide include limited opportunities for young women to access quality education and workforce skills training; gender-based violence while traveling to or while at work; and barriers to joining traditionally male-dominated, higher-paying professions.
USAID is committed to empowering young women and unlocking their potential to transform their communities and the world. Through the Young Women Transform Prize, USAID will support youth in developing countries to develop their own solutions to advance the economic empowerment of young women in their communities.
YOUNG WOMEN TRANSFORM PRIZE
Prizes of $15,000 to $35,000 will be awarded to grassroots youth-led or youth-serving organizations in low- or middle-income countries to address long-standing barriers to young women’s employment.
Two types of prizes will be awarded:
- Creation Prize of up to $35,000 each: to support the development and implementation of activities with the potential to broaden young women’s access to, and choice over, employment and economic security, with a focus on collecting and disseminating learning; and
- Recognition Prize of $15,000 each: to recognize innovative strategies that have improved young women’s economic opportunities, and collect and share learning from that innovation.
Both types of prizes will focus on collecting and sharing learning, and on capturing new evidence and approaches to improve young women’s economic opportunities.
USAID has announced the Young Women Transform Prize in celebration of International Women’s Day 2018. Applications are due by April 30th. We expect to announce ten winners in summer 2018.
BE PART OF THE SOLUTION
- Download the revised Request for Application (RFA), Questions and Answers, and application materials, including the Creation Prize Application Template, the Recognition Prize Application Template, and the Prize Budget Template.
- Submit your application by April 30, 2018, 5:00 PM Washington D.C. local time using the online application platform.
- Submit questions by March 23, 2018 by 5:00 PM Washington D.C. local time
- Questions will be answered by April 11, 2018
- Application platform opens on April 11, 2018
- Applications have to be submitted in the online application platform by April 30, 2018, 5:00 PM Washington D.C. local time
Disabled Women Empowerment Center (DWEC) Kaski, is an organization run by and for Nepali women with disabilities. They encourage full participation, inclusion, and contribution of women with disabilities in the community and run programs to protect their rights, and to improve their social, political, educational, economic and psycho-social status. The Young Women Transform – Creation Prize will support their work with the proposed project, “Accessible training and entrepreneur incubation project for girls and women with disabilities” in the Pokhara, Kaski district of Nepal.
Asante Africa Foundation educates East African youth in “last mile” communities to tackle life’s challenges, thrive in the global economy, and catalyze positive change. The organization partners with local communities to address the root causes preventing children from receiving a quality education and provide skills to apply their knowledge beyond the classroom. The organization’s areas of focus include keeping girls in school and on the path to success, ensuring strong academic learning and student-centered teaching, and young people developing a life plan for themselves with job readiness and small business skills.
The Recognition Prize enables Asante Africa to conduct a system level evaluation of their Girl-Led Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship Program. Critical focus is placed on longer-term impact of the program in leadership, job readiness, and entrepreneurship skills of youth through extracurricular, collaborative, hands-on activities as well as active community engagement by encouraging sharing of their knowledge within their communities.
The Dream Factory Foundation empowers youth from marginalized and underprivileged backgrounds to transition successfully into adulthood and make a full contribution to society. The Creation Prize will support the innovative Emergent Business and Coding Academy, which combines computer science, digital, business, and job-readiness skills training with actual job experience. The business component of the academy is accredited, providing participants with a post-school qualification–-the first such program in South Africa–that allows traditionally underrepresented young women to tap into the growth potential in the digital sector in South Africa.
The activity will contribute to eliminating the causes of poverty on a grassroots level by providing socio-economic support and economically empowering young women so that they may become economically active and independent citizens, thereby lowering their degree of vulnerably to contracting HIV. Dream Factory Foundation also expects to provide young women the opportunity to develop their personal and professional skills, enhancing the likelihood that they are able to obtain jobs in the traditionally male-dominated technology and computer science industry and/or start their own sustainable entrepreneurial initiative.
Mashinani Hub, located in Kenya, is dedicated to the provision of business development, incubation services, and a market place to the local community through inspiring, creating, and connecting the next generation of sustainable communities in Africa.
Mashinani Hub has introduced projects to support women in their community, and one of those innovative projects is the Sustainable Bees Program for Rapid Economic Empowerment. Through its Creation Prize, The project will identify young women from the rural farming communities in Nyamira and train them on basic computer skills and financial literacy, and then train and equip them with honey and poultry farming products from which they will be able to farm and earn profit. The women’s groups will farm bees and hens in their homes, which will allow them to engage in an economic activity, helping to create resilient and sustainable communities.
Visionaria Network is a non-profit with a mission to activate visions for sustainable development. Visionaria programs combine hands-on learning experiences and a “Visionaria” (female visionary) mindset to empower young people and entrepreneurs around the world to envision and dictate their own futures, and the future of their communities.
The Young Women Transform –Creation Prize will enable over 500 girls to participate in the Visionaria for Schools program in 2019, support the Visionaria team to design student portfolios that demonstrate students' growth in core employability competencies through the program, and host a new employer-focused Job and Employability Fair in Cusco, Peru.
The Visionaria for Schools program (VfS) in Peru, spurs young women to be change makers in their own lives and communities. It does this by enabling youth to develop agency, critical thinking, interpersonal and higher-order thinking skills; and by engaging youth in sustainable development projects with other leaders in their communities.
KCEO’s youth-led Young Mothers Incubation program in Kibera, Kenya provides a safe space for young mothers living with disabilities and for those who have been subjected to stigma, discrimination, and sexual abuse. This safe space allows these young women to share and interact with each other; meet successful women with disabilities and human rights advocates; and explore the opportunities available for women with disabilities in Kenya such as relevant social services and platforms for empowerment through linkages with the National Disability Society.
The Young Mothers Incubation has received the Recognition Prize for its innovative work empowering young mothers with disabilities to rebuild their self-esteem; improve their literacy; and hone their leadership, digital literacy, and entrepreneurship skills; and for its efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination facing these young mothers through its engagement with the local community.
The Biz Nation’s Young Women Productive Education Program addresses barriers to young women’s economic empowerment in impoverished regions of the Caribbean coast in Colombia through providing young women entrepreneurship, innovation, and vocational training. To provide young women with access to technology they do not have otherwise, and to train them in this technology, The Biz Nation partners with local educational institutions and organizations to provide the young women with computers and internet access free of charge in underserved communities, so that the women do not have to travel to access these resources.
With the Recognition Prize, the Biz Nation will create a course or number of courses for its online platform about effective education in particular communities. This will allow them to share lessons both locally and globally whilst simultaneously collecting feedback and ideas to adapt programs. The Biz Nation will also build on its successful track record hosting convening events to facilitate international events with educators, partners, and organizations working in young women’s education and empowerment to present its program findings, outcomes, and lessons learned.
Safeplan Uganda is a youth-founded and focused organization addressing the challenges youth face in finding employment opportunity. The goal of Safeplan Uganda is to empower young people through skills and awareness training to enhance their potential in becoming responsible citizens. The organization uses economic empowerment activities as a tool to provide a lifelong source for sustainable livelihoods.
The Young Women Transform – Recognition Prize recognizes the Budongo Women Bee Enterprise initiative led by Safeplan Uganda. The main purpose of establishing Budongo Women Bee Enterprises was to address women’s economic needs through cooperative bee farming, where women are supported with basic skills and tools in bee farming as they address climate change through environmentally friendly activities. Through the prize, Safeplan Uganda will expand the activities that benefit women’s economic transformation.