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Young Women Transform Prize


Making Cents International (Making Cents) under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded contract YouthPower Learning is seeking grant applications from qualified entities as part of its efforts to further assess, evaluate, document and disseminate innovative work in positive youth development and crosssectoral youth programming.

The project’s grant component aims to engage youth-serving and youth-led organizations in efforts to further assess, evaluate, document, and disseminate innovative work in PYD and cross-sectoral youth programming. Under the grants component, YouthPower Learning is launching the Young Women Transform Prize: Enabling Youth-Led Economic Empowerment for innovations that help to remove barriers to young women’s economic empowerment.


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.

Awards will be made to applicants offering youth-led approaches that address specific barriers to young women’s economic empowerment, which include but are not limited to:

  1. Safety, workplace discrimination, and occupational expectations
  2. Education and skill training for employment
  3. Access to assets, networks, and economic security

Award Information

  • Making Cents anticipates awarding up to US$210,000 in prizes through approximately 10 individual grant awards.
  • The final amount of each grant will be dependent upon grant activities and final negotiation; no grant may be lower than US$15,000 and not higher than US$35,000 (or local currency equivalent for nonUS organizations).
  • The duration of any grant award under this RFA is expected to be no more than twelve months.
  • The estimated start date of grants awarded under this RFA is September 2018.

There is no cost-sharing requirement for these grants.


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.


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.

How to Apply

Eligible entities may separately apply for one or both types of prizes as described in the RFA Program
Description, using the required download-able templates as outlined below:


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.


Get the RFA button

Express Your Interest button
Express your interest in this prize to receive updates and answers to questions.

Submit Your Questions button
If you have questions, please submit them here by March 23, 2018 by 5:00 PM Washington D.C. local time.

Apply button
Apply by April 30, 2018, 5:00 PM Washington D.C. local time. The application platform will open on April 11, 2018. The link to the platform will be posted on the official 2018 Prize site  and emailed directly to all those who have completed an expression of interest form.

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