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FEATURE STORY

Youth Solutions! Technology for Skills and Employment

March 13, 2013

The project aims to capture youthful enthusiasm and inspire innovations for development that will lead to employment creation.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • South Asia is home to a large youth population, with over 1 million entering the labor force every month.
  • Confident that the solutions to many of the challenges facing the youth can come from within themselves, the World Bank and Microsoft are launching a call for proposals for a South Asia Regional Grant Competition.
  • The deadline for the submission of proposals is April 18, 2013.

UPDATE: The deadline for submissions has been extended to April 18, 2013

South Asia Regional Grant Competition for Youth

The South Asia Region is home to a large youth population, with approximately one fifth of the population in between the age group of 15 and 24. This young population faces many challenges – unemployment being one of the most acute problems facing them. Young adults account for half of the unemployed in South Asia. And the job market pressure is only going to intensify, with 1 - 1.2 million entering the South Asian labor force every month for the next two decades.

Confident that the solutions to many of the challenges facing the youth can come from within themselves, the World Bank and Microsoft launched a call for proposals for a South Asia Regional Grant Competition titled: “Youth Solutions! Technology for Skills and Employment” in Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Youth Solutions! Technology for Skills and Employment

Through this regional grant competition, innovative project proposals using ICT to address the challenges facing the youth, like lack of skills development and unemployment, are being invited from youth-led organizations. Jointly implemented by the World Bank and Microsoft, the competition seek ideas from youth on how to use innovative and creative methods to promote IT skills amongst youth helping them to secure gainful employment.

The program will be organized in four South Asian countries – Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Each country will win one grant of $10,000 to $20,000 to carry out an innovative project, one year in duration.

Who can Apply?

· Youth-led organizations and NGOs can submit project proposals for this grant competition.

· The applying organization has to be registered with at least two years of operation.

· All team members have to be above 18 years of age.

Selection Criteria

- The project proposed should use ICT as a tool to implement or promote the project.

- The project should provide employment opportunities for at least 3 people and above.

- A strong sustainability plan needs to be part of the initial project proposal. 

- The projects should be participatory.

-  Proposed project must be completed within 12 months of disbursement of the initial grant

-  The output or results outlined in proposals should be measurable and demonstrate a direct impact in project areas. Projects with the sole final output of research, such as publications, training or conferences/forums with no directly verifiable results will be ineligible.

-  Innovation is one of the key criteria of selection. Out of the box initiatives, which can be practically implemented, will score.

What Kind of Activities are Not Supported?

Research programs, formal academic training programs, operational projects, provision of basic services, ongoing institutional core support (such as equipment), scholarships, fellowships, study programs, individuals applying on their own behalf, or non-legal entities. Proposed activities should not compete with or substitute for regular World Bank instruments; the activity should be clearly distinguishable from the Bank’s regular programs.

Under the categories above, examples of items and activities that are usually not eligible include the list below:

· Direct service delivery;

· Medical equipment, such as hospital equipment, hearing aids, crutches;

· Computer equipment and installation;

· Overhead costs, such as rent, maintenance, or general office supplies;

· Meeting basic needs, such as provision of water, heat, meals;

· Construction of facilities, such as libraries or sanitation facilities;

· Food aid;

· Full-time salaries of, for example, the director of the NGO;

·  Infrastructure projects, such as water systems, wells.

Evaluation Process

Microsoft and the World Bank with the support of an external evaluation panel will shortlist innovative proposals. All shortlisted candidates will make presentations of their proposal at a regional workshop.

The short listing of proposals will be based on:

- Addressing unemployment

- Youth focused training on IT skills

- Innovativeness

- Sustainability

- Reliability

- Efficiency (cost-benefit ratio)

Partners

Sarvodaya-Fusion is the implementing partner of this project. Fusion will support World Bank and Microsoft efforts in coordination with regional partners to reach rural youth led social enterprises that will create jobs through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Applications:

Application Form for Bangladesh

Application Form for Maldives

Application Form for Nepal

Application Form for Sri Lanka