Participation Request - Second Annual Youth Leadership Program 2022

  • Remote
  • Volunteer
  • Global Department
  • Student (College)

Application Deadline: April 11, 2022, 11:59 PM EST

Program Duration: May 2, 2022 – September 30, 2022 (5 months)

Stipend: Up to $2,500 USD for completing all the required activities


Second Annual Youth Leadership Program – Call for Applications

About the Program

The 2.4 billion young people in the world today represent the largest youth population in history. Further, 90% of the world’s youth live in developing countries, 20% of whom do not have access to education, training, or employment. Research conducted by think thanks and international bodies such as the OECD and G20 has established youth as one of the most at risk, marginalized populations globally. The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crises exacerbated youth unemployment rates, which reached an average of 14.6% as of September 2021. However, despite being one of the hardest hit groups by the pandemic, youth have become central to recovery efforts by leading innovative approaches and technological solutions to economic, social, and political problems in their countries. As the number of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 continues to grow in developing countries, it is essential that youth have access to meaningful work, education, financial services, civic and political spaces, and leadership opportunities. The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) recognizes the potential of youth as change agents and believes that youth can – and should – be engaged as key stakeholders to build more resilient and inclusive democracies and markets.

Building on CIPE’s previous experience developing youth as future civic, political, and business leaders, supporting youth advocacy campaigns, and providing entrepreneurship training, the CIPE Youth Leadership Program is a five-month non-residential program that aims to 1) increase the visibility of economic issues affecting youth as a critical piece to post-pandemic recovery, and 2) create a platform for young people to amplify their voices and ideas. The culmination of this program will be CIPE’s virtual Youth Leadership Conference focused on youth engagement with private enterprise and democracy, as well as challenges that disproportionately affect young people and proposed solutions. This event will serve as a venue for CIPE Youth Leaders to showcase the advocacy and research conducted during the program.

During last year’s Youth Leadership Program, CIPE selected five Youth Leaders from Nigeria, Rwanda, the Philippines, Zambia, and Kenya. The topics of their projects included an advocacy campaign to foster the financial inclusion of young refugee entrepreneurs and vulnerable groups in the host community of Turkana-West; a series of poems written and performed by youth to raise awareness around the presidential election in Zambia; and a research project examining the survival rate of youth-led SMEs in East Africa as well as the influence of Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) on youth-led businesses during the pandemic. The Youth Leadership Program culminated with the first annual CIPE Youth Leadership Conference in September 2021, during which the Youth Leaders showcased their research and advocacy projects. The Conference brought together CIPE staff, local partners, and relevant organizations to raise awareness around the most pressing economic and political challenges facing youth and demonstrated private sector-led solutions to current youth issues.

Theme: Youth Engagement with Private Enterprise and Democracy


NOTE: The topics under each sub-theme are meant to guide thinking and spark ideas; applicants are free to propose a project that combines several of these topics, or to propose a different topic they believe is relevant to either sub-theme.

  • Youth and Private Enterprise
    • How the COVID-19 pandemic has changed youth perspectives on their economic prospects and ability to access high-quality jobs, and how their societies should focus rebuilding efforts.
    • How young entrepreneurs have been successful, and best practices or innovative approaches they learned in the process. 
    • Challenges youth face or skills they lack when transitioning into the private sector for the first time, and helpful solutions they envision.
    • Structural barriers preventing youth from participating in the labor market, and ideas to address these issues.
  • Youth and Democracy
    • What global and regional research and surveys conclude about how youth perceive the state of democracy and their level of trust in public and private institutions, and potential strategies to enhance trust.
    • How – and how often – youth engage and advocate with their local or national government, business associations and chambers of commerce, or civil society organizations on policy issues that are important to them (e.g., employment, technology, sustainability, etc.).
    • Ways in which youth become educated about government and politics and engaged on specific policy issues, particularly as newly eligible voters.
    • What new or improved advocacy methods youth are using to create change in their communities.

Required Activities:

  1. Advocacy or Research Project
    • Conduct a local, national, or regional project focused on advocacy, raising awareness, or research that falls under either the “Youth and Private Enterprise” or “Youth and Democracy” sub-theme. Examples of what projects might entail include (but are not limited to):
      • A series of activities (in-person or virtual, depending on COVID-19 conditions) that directly contribute to a local, national, or regional conversation. For example, multi-stakeholder workshops or roundtable discussions to develop a platform or position on a proposed government action.
      • Organizing an advocacy campaign to raise awareness and equip community stakeholders or policymakers with information about an economic issue important to youth in a given locality or country.
      • Developing a training module or instructional videos for youth to help them with an identified challenge.
      • Mapping national and/or regional policies or proposals on employment, education, or skills training, and their potential consequences.
      • Mapping the network of in-country and regional groups and individuals working on youth empowerment issues, identifying potential areas for collaboration, and developing strategies for engagement and collective action.
      • Conducting secondary research and interviews with topic experts, private sector representatives, and other stakeholders to obtain data and formulate recommendations for government or community actions to benefit youth in post-pandemic economic recovery.
  1. Thought Leadership and Communications
    • Present (virtually) the work conducted during the program at the CIPE Youth Leadership Conference.
    • Submit a final report to CIPE, such as the final version of a policy paper laying out key findings and conclusions, or a detailed summary of activities and accomplishments during the program and assessment of impact. Photos, videos, and other multimedia are highly encouraged.
    • Identify and participate in relevant events or conferences (virtually or in-person) throughout the program.
    • Participate in monthly status calls with CIPE and the other Leaders to provide updates on the project.
    • Halfway through the program, participate in an internal brownbag meeting with CIPE staff to provide an overview of the project and share learnings.
    • Actively engage during kick-off meeting with the other Leaders and contribute to ongoing information sharing about youth issues via a dedicated WhatsApp group and by email.


Five candidates will be selected for the CIPE Youth Leadership Program and will receive up to $2,500 USD for completing all the required activities based on the extent of the proposed project and associated expenses.

Selection Criteria:

Candidates must be between the ages of 18-25 at the time of application. Preference will be given to individuals from non-OECD countries. Applicants must have:

    • Demonstrated interest or experience working on youth empowerment issues, with preference given to those focused on democracy, private sector/entrepreneurship, or civic/political participation.
    • Experience in one or more of the following areas: policy, activism, entrepreneurship, or research.
    • Ability to work independently with minimum supervision in collaboration with CIPE staff and other Youth Leaders across different time zones.
    • Strong organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills.
    • Fluency in written and spoken English.
    • Strong presentation skills.
    • Access to a reliable computer and internet connection that enables video participation in virtual workshops or conferences.


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