USAID YouthLead Essay Contest For Young Changemakers for Course, Diploma, Bachelor, Master

USAID YouthLead Essay Contest For Young Changemakers for Course, Diploma, Bachelor, Master
  •  Course, Diploma, Bachelor, Master
  •  15-Jan-2021
  •   Africa, Asia, Europe, South America
  • $$  Varies

Calling all young changemakers! Participate in the “YouthLead #Reaching16 Essay Contest” and join us in advocating for peace, justice, and strong institutions! “Reaching 16” refers to Goal 16 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that aims to promote just, peaceful, and inclusive societies. It also serves as a reference and commitment to ensuring youth reach the age of 16 and beyond by stabilizing communities. 

Eligibility Criteria

The competition is open to all members of the public who are:

• Citizens of low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) as listed on the application page;
• Aged 18-35 and;
• Members of YouthLead with a member profile that is at least 80 percent complete. Becoming a member of YouthLead is easy and free. All Entrants must be successfully registered on YouthLead. As registration may take several days to process, all registration requests must be submitted at least four business days prior to the end of the Entry Period to ensure timely approval for entering the contest. 

Offered Benefits


1. All written submissions must be the original work of the Entrant (that is, written by the Entrant her/himself). 

2. All entries must be submitted here. (Submissions in French or Spanish will also use the same link as the English submissions. You can use “Select Language” in the upper right-hand corner on your screen to translate the submission page to French or Spanish). 

3. By entering the YouthLead #Reaching16 Essay Contest, Entrants agree and acknowledge that Making Cents International, the implementer of YouthPower2: Learning and Evaluation (YP2LE), is permitted to receive and review the Entrant’s registration data. All personal information will be used by YP2LE in accordance with the Privacy Policy on and the YouthLead #Reaching16 Essay Contest rules.

4. Written pieces must have been developed between December 7, 2020 and the Contest deadline of January 15, 2021. Entries that have been published on other platforms or prior publications will not be considered.  

Application Process

The Selection Committee will evaluate the personal essays based on the following criteria (“Judging Criteria”):

  • Voice and Power
  • Experience and Engagement
  • Inspiration
  • Impact

Voice and Power (30 percent)
Voice: Does the writer’s “voice” come through in the essay? Does the reader have a better understanding of who the writer is as a person?
Power: Is the writing expressive? For example, does the writing capture emotion(s)?


Experience and Engagement (20 percent) – Does the essay help the reader to better understand or connect with the writers’ experience? Does it keep the reader engaged or wanting to find out more?

Inspire (25 percent) – Does the essay inspire the reader to want to learn more or take action?

Impact (25 percent) – Does the essay capture the impactful work being done in the writer’s community?

The 16 winning submissions will be published at and promoted via our YouthLead social media channels and newsletter.

Apply Here
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