South Asia Regional Grant Competition for Youth Coders

April 23, 2014



  • Youth unemployment is an acute problem in South Asia, in part due to a mismatch of skills learned in school and those demanded by employers.
  • Confident that youth can find innovative solutions to the challenges they face, the World Bank and Microsoft are launching a call for proposals for a South Asia Regional Grant Competition related to coding skills.
  • The deadline for the submission of proposals is June 30, 2014.

Update: The deadline has been extended to June 30th, apply now! 

Unemployment is one of the most acute problems facing youth in South Asia today. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 account for one fifth of the region’s population but half of the region’s unemployed.  Furthermore, job market pressure is intensifying, with 1-1.2 million young people entering the South Asian work force every month over the next two decades.

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

Coding Your Way to Opportunity

The regional grant competition invites youth-led initiatives and organizations to showcase fresh, innovative ideas that bridge the existing coding gap in South Asia between those who have access to the gaining skills they need to be successful and those who do not. Learning to code can propel job creation and development, and boost shared prosperity In South Asia and other regions, coding and computing have become essential and desirable job skills. Jointly implemented by the World Bank and Microsoft, the competition aims to enable youth to expand coding knowledge amongst their peers, in turn helping them secure gainful employment.

The program will be organized in four South Asian countries – BangladeshMaldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Each country will win one grant of at least US$10,000 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 expand coding knowledge in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

- 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, 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 the coding gap in the region

- Youth focused training on coding

- Innovativeness

- Sustainability

- Reliability

- Efficiency (cost-benefit ratio)


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.