The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding the YouthPower Learning Grants program, which is implemented by Making Cents International. The objective of this program is to assess, evaluation, document and disseminate innovative work in positive youth development and cross-sectoral youth programming.
Under this program, YouthPower has launched the Young Women Transform Prize: Enabling Youth-led Economic Empowerment for innovations that help to remove barriers to young women’s economic empowerment. The Volvo Group and StandardChartered are also the partners of this Prize.
The overall funding available for this Prize is US $210,000 and it is expected to give away around 10 individual grants. The final amount of each grant will be dependent upon grant activities and final negotiation.
The minimum grant to be provided will not be lower than US $15,000 and not higher than US $35,000. The total duration of the project will not be more than 12 months.
The deadline to submit the application is 30 April 2018.
A useful feature of this grant is that there are no cost-sharing requirements. This means that the grant will cover the full budget requested and you are not required to source any partial funding from another donor agency or yourself.
Eligible organizations can submit applications for this grant without completing the registration at the System for Award Management (SAM) but in order to receive the grant award, it is necessary to register yourself. For now, you can simply complete the application form and submit it. At a later time, you can complete the SAM registration as it is a bit complex process and the awarded organizations have to obtain the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number to register for it.
There are actually two types of prizes under this funding opportunity, although the overall objective of both the prizes is to collect and share learning and capturing new evidence and approaches to improve young women’s economic opportunities.
- 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.
Applications for this grant have to be submitted online at www.youthpower.org/2018-prize. A separate registration also needs to be done here before submitting the application form and registration will open on 11 April 2018 for this.
Before planning your project and starting to write your application form, it is important to understand the evaluation criteria based on which the projects will be selected for the prize. The YouthPower Learning Grant provides the following evaluation criteria for each of the Prizes:
Evaluation Criteria for the Creation Prize Application
Evaluation Criteria for the Recognition Prize Application
Each of the Prizes (Creation Prize and Recognition Prize) has a different application form. Remember that the basic difference between the two prizes, as we understanding it, is that the Creation Prize is for a new project or idea that your organization seeks to implement to meet the overall objective of empowering the young women economically and the Recognition Prize is to recognize an existing project that has already contributed towards the economic empowerment of young women. The Creation Prize provides grants of up to $35,000 and the Recognition Prize of up to $15,000.
The applications formats for both prizes are available at this link.
Below we will first discuss the Creation Application Form
The first part of the application form seeks information about your project in a detailed manner. You need to first come up with the Title of your project or proposed activity. Remember that those titles have to be short and precise, reflecting the overall objective of your project or activity. Titles are likely to be revised as you complete the process of the application form, as the project gets clearer and clearer. So avoid giving a fixed title at the start itself, and try focusing on other parts of your application form first and then come back to the Title to rewrite it again.
Some example titles:
‘Higher Participation of Women in High-Paying Job Sectors’
‘Transforming Low-Productivity Skills of Women for Higher Business Value’
The next question in the application form is “What is the location(s) or geographic focus of the activity?” Remember that this grant is available only for low- and middle-income countries and your geographical area has to be within any one of those countries only.
In the next question, you need to provide a background of your project or idea (What are the barrier(s) to young women’s economic empowerment that your activity addresses?). It is basically like explaining the problem you would like to solve with this grant. In your project area, young women may be underrepresented in well-paid jobs. You can mention this as an overall problem but this problem is usually an effect of a pre-existing situation. There may be further causes for this problem like poor education opportunities for young women or the policies of the Government do not favor young women to take up higher education. You can describe these problems.
Please note that whatever statements you make about the situation in your project area is backed by data from reliable sources. If you are making a statement like “70% of young women are unable to access higher education”, then you need to provide a reference to the source of this information such as a website or a publication. This helps one to understand that you have done in-depth research on this topic and you are serious enough to address it.
The next question in the application form is “How will this activity address the identified barrier(s) in an innovative way?” Here you will basically provide the details about your project activity that will address the above-stated problems. As ‘innovation’ is one of the key factors for evaluating your application form, try to mention the innovativeness of your project here. For example, if training young women in businesses is what you plan for your project, it is not enough that you just organize a skills-based training but also provide knowledge and information to these young women on how to raise capital for their business activity – it may be possible that this could be a unique and innovative idea for your project as no other organization has done it before.
The next question to be covered is “What are the expected results of this activity?“, you can list out the results you desire by implementing your project. It could be “Better participation of young women in high-paying jobs” or “Young business women in your area have new skills to raise capital and build relationships with investors.”
In the next question (How do you propose to measure the outcomes or effectiveness of this activity?15 What indicators do you propose to measure this activity?), you can list out the indicators that will provide the evidence for the achievement of the above-stated results. For example, you may mention “Average salaries of young women in high-paying jobs have increased from 8% to 10%” or “Investments and loan capital have increased to 15% in young women’s businesses in the area.”
In “How do you plan to engage youth, and particularly young women, in this activity?“, you can provide your direct interaction with your beneficiaries i.e. the young women. They may be involved in training programs, workshops, events or even in activities to lobbying against the Government to develop favorable policies for effective implementation of young women in economic activities.
The next part of the application form seeks an interesting question: What learning would you want to share from this activity (e.g., what works, lessons learned, how the activity could be scaled up or adapted, challenges and opportunities)? Remember that the overall objective of this grant is also about learning and disseminating lessons and practices. So here you can provide what types of learning you wish to gather from this project. It could be in form of gaining experience about the cultural values of your community, especially what level of importance and type of response they give towards the education of young women and also young women earning money from jobs and businesses. Similarly, while implementing the project activity, you will be collecting data about what works and what does not and this can be a valuable information for replicating or scaling up the project. The data can be used for dissemination.
The next question is about the sustainability of your project (How do you plan to make this activity sustainable, so that it—and/or the learnings taken from the activity—will continue after the grant period ends?). You can propose here formation of community-based groups that will continue with the project activity and the learnings from the project experience can be used to replicate a new project in another area and request support from other donors to fund it.
The last question in this section is “Will you be collecting information from individuals in such a manner (e.g., collecting sensitive and/or identifying information directly from individuals) that would require an ethical review? Please elaborate on your answer.” This is mostly to do with a policy compliance under US Common Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects.
The rest of the application form seeks information about your organization, your personnel who will be involved in the project and the contact details. Additionally, you are required to provide at least 3 references (which could be another donor agency or an organization).
Under the Implementation Plan section, you need to provide the Start and End Dates including the overall length of the project period. Further to this, you also need to provide the timeline of activities in the following format.
The last section of the application form is about mentioning the cost of the project in USD as well as in local currency. The budget has to be submitted in a different format and attached separately.
The application form of the Recognition Prize has similar questions, as explained above, but they only cover for project activities that have already been implemented.
The budget template comprises of six heads like salary, salary benefits, direct costs, activity service delivery, travel and transportation, and goods and materials. The second page of the template seeks information in detail about amounts under various heads and sub-heads. The amounts have to be provided both in local currency and in USD.
The third section in the budget template is about providing expenditures by milestones. Each milestone achieved in the project needs to cover a certain amount of budget under each head.
The last section of the template is the Budget Notes. Here, you need to provide a complete justification towards spending the amounts under respective heads.