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.
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.
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.