USAID YouthLead #Reach16 Essay Competition for Young Changemakers  

  • Online
  • Apply Before : January 15, 2021

Opportunity Details

  • Opportunity ID 95050
  • Degree Non Degree Program/Certificate
  • Language Requirement Not Required
  • No. of Opportunity 16
  • Opportunity Type : Fully Funded
  • Gender MaleFemale
  • Language of Instruction English

Opportunity Description


United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is calling on young change-makers to take part in the “YouthLead #Reaching16 Essay Contest” and contribute to advocating for peace, justice, and strong institutions! “Reaching 16” describes Goal 16 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 16) that aims to advance just, peaceful, and inclusive societies. Furthermore, it serves as a reference and commitment to ensuring youth reach the age of 16 and beyond by stabilizing communities.

Details of the competition

Submission deadline: 15 January 2021

Organizer: USAID

Number of essays to win: 16


  • USAID will select 16 winning essays from the submissions.
  • In agreement with the author, the winning essays will be broadcasted on and featured via its YouthLead social media outlets and newsletter.
  • If published, the organizer will use only the author’s first name or a pseudonym.
  • As a young changemaker, the Essay Competition gives the youth a unique platform to share their personal experience and creative voice at the global level!

Essay requirements

  • Each essay must have a title and be written within 800 words (max).
  • USAID highly encourages the submitters to upload a photograph of theirs or the work being done in their community (not mandatory).
  • In the personal essay answer the following question: What are you or someone you know doing to ensure your community is #Reaching16 with peace, justice, and stable institutions? An awesome personal essay attracts readers by sharing the author’s authentic voice.
  • Language: Essays’ language can be English, Spanish, or French. No other languages will be accepted.
  • Entries must be the entrants’ own and original work.
  • Entrants must agree to the terms and conditions of the competition.
  • Entries that have been published before and on other platforms are not considered. It should have been developed between Dec 7 2020 and Jan 15, 2021.
  • Each entrant may only submit one entry.

Who are eligible?

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

  • Citizens of low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) as listed here;
  • At the age of 18-35 and;
  • USAID staff and employees of YouthPower2 or Current YouthLead ambassadors or advisors are not eligible.

• Members of YouthLead with a membership profile that is at least 80 percent complete. Becoming a member of YouthLead is easy and free.

All participants must be successfully registered on YouthLead. Since registration may take several days to process, all entrants must submit their registration requests at least four business days before the end of the Entry Period (11 Jan 2021) to ensure timely approval for entering the contest.

Crete your YouthLead profile in English here or Spanish here.

What can you submit?

  • Youth participants can enter their personal essays stating the important work they or someone they know is doing to ensure their community is achieving SDG16 and #Reaching16.

How to submit your essays?

Entrants can submit their essays online through the link below. Essays can be submitted in one of the three languages (English, French or Spanish) which are available and can be selected from the top right corner of the submission page by changing the language.

Submit HERE.

Selection criteria

The Selection Committee and judging panel will evaluate the personal essays against the following criteria (“Judging Criteria”):

  • Voice and Power (30%)
  • Experience and Engagement (20%)
  • Inspiration (25%)
  • Impact (25%)

For more details about the contest and submission instructions, you may go to the USAID YouthLead website.

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