These guidelines aim to describe the objectives of the Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF) and serve as a tool for the applicants to properly submit their project proposals for funding. They contain information about:
- The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF);
- Geographical Coverage for the current Call for Applications;
- Eligibility Criteria (Organizations and Projects);
- Selection Process, Selection Committee, Evaluation Criteria;
- How to apply.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC):
UNAOC was established in 2005, under the auspices of the United Nations and co-sponsored by the Governments of Spain and Turkey. UNAOC works towards a more socially inclusive world, by building mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious identities, and highlighting the will of the world’s majority to reject extremism and embrace diversity. UNAOC project activities are fashioned around Youth, Education, Media and Migration, which can play a critical role in helping to reduce cross-cultural tensions.
Learn more about UNAOC and its activities here.
Youth-focused programming at UNAOC:
Guided by the principle that youth are key actors to achieve peace, UNAOC develops programming to enhance the ability of young people and their organizations to foster mutual respect, understanding and long-term positive relationships between peoples of different cultures and religions. This programming facilitates networking and exchange among youth-led organizations; provides them with the opportunities to increase their competencies and to implement concrete projects advancing intercultural understanding. More precisely, it provides varied support for the grassroots and regional youth-led initiatives to expand, enhance and intensify the role and capacity of youth. Ultimately, these contributions make a real and lasting difference for cultural and religious communities and nations facing tensions and conflicts, as well as nurture the global movement for intercultural and interfaith harmony. UNAOC also advocates for and defends the interests of young people working at all levels, promotes the work of young people to mainstream agencies and established institutions at the international level, aiming to integrate youth participation into all activities and policy related to intercultural dialogue.
UNAOC Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF):
The Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF) supports youth-led organizations that foster peaceful and inclusive societies by providing seed funding to outstanding projects promoting intercultural and interfaith dialogue. It awards grants (up to USD 25,000) for the implementation of selected projects that demonstrate innovative and effective approaches to intercultural or interfaith dialogue and advance the mission of UNAOC. YSF only supports projects that are entirely developed and managed by youth for the benefit of youth. The age definition used by UNAOC to characterize youth is a person who is between 18 and 35 years old.
Established in 2008, the Fund responded to calls for action made by young civil society leaders around the world on the importance of establishing funding mechanisms for youth-led organizations. Since its creation, YSF has funded 57 youth-led organizations in 34 countries.
Today, the Fund continues to support youth-led civil society organizations, with a particular focus on the role of young people in promoting peace and in preventing violent extremism. YSF contributes to advancing the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 (2015) on Youth, Peace and Security, which establishes the policy framework to support and engage young people as part of inclusive, participatory approaches to building peaceful and inclusive societies. YSF does so by providing the partnership and financial means that can help young people in implementing activities that prevent violent conflict, promote peace and social inclusion. As recognized in the unanimously adopted resolution, youth can play an important role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.
YSF also contributes to the implementation of the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, by offering youth opportunities to create “a positive vision of their future together with a genuine chance to realize their aspirations and potential”. The Plan recognizes the importance of creating inclusive and pluralist societies with economic opportunities for all, as well as the necessity of empowering young people to contribute to that process.
Geographical coverage of the current call for applications:
Donor countries’ priorities or constraints are a key consideration in determining the geographical coverage of YSF interventions for any given campaign. The current YSF Call for Applications will welcome proposals from youth-led organizations officially registered and operating in the following countries.
Proposals submitted by a coalition of youth organizations from different countries are acceptable only in cases when the leading implementing youth organization is registered in one of the above countries. Activities must be carried out in the abovementioned countries for the benefit of the local community.
Eligibility criteria for youth organizations:
Youth organizations are subject to the same criteria as other partners of the United Nations System in that they must be accountable, transparent and refrain from all discriminatory practices.
To be eligible, applying youth organizations need to fulfill each and every one of the following criteria:
- Be youth-led: a majority of the positions and decision-making roles within the organization are held by women and men between the ages of 18 and 35;
- Be a non-profit, non-governmental organization (with the exception of national youth councils) registered in the country of operation as a charity, trust, foundation or association;
- Be officially registered and operational for a minimum of 2 years at the time of the application with funding base and project implementation (e.g. registered in January 2016 or earlier);
- Be registered and operate in one of the aforementioned countries;
- Have a democratic governance structure and decision making mechanism, including consultative processes in formulating priorities and policies;
- Have an ability to demonstrate proper and consistent monitoring, evaluation and record-keeping of their activities, including project evaluation reports and financial accounts;
- Have a gender perspective/balance reflected in their staff, beneficiaries and activities;
- Have no adherence to or affiliations with violent ideologies or antagonism against any particular country, culture, religion or belief system, ethnic group, gender, etc.; and
- Did not receive funding under past editions of YSF or did not receive the Intercultural Innovation Award.
Note: If you applied to YSF in the past, but were not selected, you can apply to YSF again.
Upon request, organizations will need to provide documented evidence of how they fulfill all of these criteria.
Please note that project proposals will not be considered eligible for funding if they are submitted by: governments, international governmental organizations, non-youth led organizations, unregistered groups of youth, business entities, as well as individuals.
Eligibility criteria for projects:
All submitted projects must fulfill each and every one of the following criteria to be deemed eligible and be reviewed by the Selection Committee:
- Origin: The project was developed and written by youth;
- Target Audience: The project targets primarily youth. Gender balance among project participants is ensured;
- Objective: The project contributes to advancing the UNAOC mandate of promoting a more socially inclusive world, by building mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious identities;
- Management: The project is managed by a youth-led organization, responding to all eligibility criteria mentioned above;
- Project Coordinator: The Project Coordinator is an employee of the applying organization and is between the ages of 18 and 35 at the moment of the application;
- Duration and Timing: The project must be implemented during May-November 2018 period, while final reports will need to be submitted by 15 November 2018 at the very latest;
- Location: Project activities are implemented in the country (ies) mentioned in the above list (see geographical coverage section;
- Budget: The organization needs to guarantee its capacity to implement all elements of the proposed project with the funds requested. Grants provided by UNAOC will not exceed USD 25,000. The proposed budget will have 90% of costs associated with direct project activities and only up to 10% of it will cover Project Coordinator’s salary/fees. Office rent cost, utilities and purchase of technical equipment (e.g. computers, copiers, printers, cameras, telephones, etc.) cannot be part of the budget;
- English: Application and CV/resume of the Project Coordinator must be in English only;
- Registration certificate and statute: A copy of a registration certificate and a statute need to be attached to the application form. They can be submitted in original language of the country where the organization is registered. Translations may be requested during later stages of the selection process.
Selection process and selection committee; Evaluation:
All received project proposals will be reviewed to assess their eligibility on the basis of the criteria mentioned above and the potential of the proposed project. Organizations that are short-listed will be contacted by UNAOC with a request to submit a more detailed project budget, as well as more detailed work plan outlining activities, timeline, milestones, expected outcomes and outputs (forms will be provided by UNAOC). Organizations will also be interviewed in the final stages of the selection process.
Final evaluation and scoring of the short-listed proposals will be conducted by a Selection Committee on the basis of the following criteria:
- The project aims to improve understanding and cooperative relations among nations and peoples across cultures and religions, and to help counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism;
- The project promotes the values of peace and development;
- The project objectives are clear and there is a logical connection between identified issues, proposed activities and requested funding.
- The project includes activities aiming to build positive and long-term collaborative relationships between youth of different cultural and religious backgrounds, therefore contributing to a long-term peaceful coexistence in the society;
- The project contains elements of competence development and capacity-building opportunities for young people;
- The project contains elements of intergenerational partnership and dialogue;
- The project has a solid gender-mainstreaming strategy and is inclusive to minorities and/or marginalized groups with a view to promote a more socially cohesive community;
- The project uses seed funding to implement innovative and effective approaches to intercultural or interfaith dialogue, and advance the mission of UNAOC;
- Projects that support the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security in connection to intercultural and interfaith dialogue are encouraged.
- The project is appropriate to the local context and targets local audience; it represents good value for money, with a clear and appropriate budget.
- Organization undertook an in depth analysis of problems/risks and sets a consistent intervention strategy. The application is concise and provides responses to all questions or sections; it includes insightful arguments and engaging narrative.
Impact and Multiplier Effect:
- The project will have a significant impact on the ground. Multiplier effect is outlined and target audiences are clearly identified – priority is given to projects that reach out to youth that would not otherwise have a chance to participate.
Sustainability, Monitoring, Evaluation:
- The project has a potential to become sustainable beyond its original duration and bring long-term results that are clearly outlined in the project proposal. Monitoring and evaluation elements are clearly demonstrated.
Selected organization will be contacted by UNAOC via email and provided with information on further steps, draft agreements to be signed and a schedule of payments.
Interested organizations can apply at the following link: http://apply.unaoc.org/
In order to be considered complete and valid, the application package must include the following and be submitted through the online application system available at http://apply.unaoc.org/
- The application form, completed and certified by the applicant organization;
- A copy of the registration certificate of the applicant organization;
- A copy of the statutes/by-laws of the applicant organization;
- An organizational chart, depicting the ages of key decision makers within the organization;
- A biography of the current Executive/Managing Director, showing date of birth (1 page maximum);
- The resume/CV of the project coordinator (2 pages maximum);
- A picture or scan of the project coordinator’s passport identification page. If the project coordinator does not have an international passport, upload his or her national identification card.
Word/character limit for each question in the application form needs to be respected. The application system automatically counts words and characters.
The application deadline is Friday, 2 March 2018, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in New York (deadline extended).
For any questions on YSF and this call for applications, please consult:
- Application Guidelines
- Technical FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions for technical matters
- YSF web page
Contact email: email@example.com