USAID YouthLead #Reaching16 Essay Contest 2020 for young changemakers.

Application Deadline:January 13, 2021

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. As a young changemaker, our #Reaching16 Essay Contest provides you with a unique platform to share your personal experience and creative voice with the world!

We invite written submissions, in the form of a personal essay, that tell us about the important work you or someone you know is doing to ensure your community is #Reaching16. (Community can be defined as a group of people you share common attitudes, interests, and goals with at the local, district, national, or global level, or in another way that makes sense to each author.) We will select 16 winning essays from the submissions. With permission of the author, the winning essays will be published on and promoted via our YouthLead social media channels and newsletter. If published, we will use only the author’s first name or a pseudonym.

Changemakers ages 18-35 are eligible to submit only one essay.

Personal Essay Requirements

In your personal essay (800 words maximum) answer the following question: What are you or someone you know doing to ensure your community is #Reaching16 with peace, justice, and strong institutions? A great personal essay captivates readers by sharing the author’s authentic voice. It takes the reader inside the writer’s experience through descriptive words and examples as well as gives insight into the author’s passion and inspirations for being involved in peace, justice and building strong institutions. 

Format and Length: Each submission must have a title and cannot be longer than 800 words. While it is not mandatory, we highly encourage you to upload a photograph of yourself or the work being done in your community.

Language: Essays can be written in English, Spanish, or French. No other languages will be accepted.

Each Entry Must Meet the Following Submission Requirements:

Who May Enter

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

• Citizens of low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) as listed here;
• 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. 

Create your profile in English here or in Spanish here. (Please note: While we allow submission of personal essays in French, we do not have a separate French registration or submission page). registration requests must be submitted at least two business days (January 13, 2021) prior to the end of the Entry Period to ensure timely approval for entering the contest.

Note: USAID staff and employees of YouthPower2: Learning and Evaluation Sponsors, and YouthPower2: Learning and Evaluation’s prime- and subcontractors are not eligible to enter or win. Current YouthLead Ambassadors or YouthLead Ambassador Advisors are also not eligible to enter or win.

Other Submission Requirements

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.  

How to Enter

Step 1:  Register on YouthLead (go to Step 2 if you are already a member!)

All applicants must be registered on before you can submit your contest application. registration requests must be submitted at least two business days (January 13, 2021) prior to the end of the Entry Period to ensure timely approval for entering the contest. Create your profile in English here or in Spanish here

Step 2: Log into YouthLead

Participating is easy! Go to the “Events” page, and click on “Announcing the YouthLead #Reaching16 Essay Contest” to begin your contest submission. (Submit here in English, Spanish or French). Entrants may submit a maximum of one entry (either one personal essay). 

Step 3:  Enter Your Text

Either type the text in the respective submission field or copy and paste the text. You can use bolding, italics, and underlining to format your text. Please note that the maximum word count is 800 words.

Step 4: Select the Language in which You Submit your Entry

Select either English, French or Spanish. No other languages will be accepted.

Step 5:  Accept the Terms and Conditions and Hit Submit.

Selection Process

1. Entries that do not meet the submission criteria for the contest and/or written formats will be excluded.

2. Decisions of the Judging Panel are final and are not subject to appeal.

3. This is a skills-based contest and chance plays no part in the determination of the winners. 

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the YouthLead #Reaching16 Essay Contest 2020



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