This article was originally published in Girls’ Globe.
As we have seen in recent times, youth voices should always be at the heart of decision-making. The Covid-19 pandemic has deepened inequalities across the world, speeding up the need for new solutions to address existing problems, and young people have proven to be valuable experts in creating innovative and effective change. Investing in youth leadership drives positive change within communities and is one of the best ways to support the healthy development of young people, as well as to empower the next generation of leaders.
The Spark Fund is an innovative, participatory fund that provides youth-led and youth-focused groups with financial support and capacity development, enabling them to experiment, collaborate, and learn using digital technologies. The fund invests in youth-led and youth-focused groups tackling injustice and inequality, driving transformational change, and building a more inclusive world.
Global Fund for Children and the Avast Foundation established the Spark Fund based on their shared commitment to empowering the next generation to promote human rights in the digital age, with additional partners Catch22 and Shared Nation providing research support and technology development. A global steering group that includes young people from GFC’s Youth Leadership Council and Avast Foundation’s Youth Leadership Board oversees the strategy and direction of the fund, ensuring youth leadership at every level. Regional youth panels are designing and leading grantmaking for the fund, with the intent of having youth lead the process from start to finish. Now more than ever, it is important for young people to have the tools and resources to create the world and future they want to see!
The first round of funding was focused on youth-led and youth-focused groups in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Over the past few months, a group of ten panelists ranging from the ages of 18-30 from Europe and Eurasia has designed and led the grantmaking process in this region. The panelists all contributed their expertise and contextual knowledge to the process and set the values they upheld during the meetings and selection process. Not only did they create exceptional eligibility criteria that took into account regional needs and priorities, using an innovative digital selection process, but they also assessed the applications with an open mind and critical lens and determined the first 12 organizations that will receive a grant from the Spark Fund.
The most exciting part is that there are still opportunities for more young people around the world to get involved! The Spark Fund will also invest in youth-led and youth-focused groups in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. That means there will be panels similar to the youth panel in Europe and Eurasia who will lead the grantmaking process in these regions, including creating the eligibility criteria for the application process.
The Spark Fund is focused on putting youth at the forefront of decision-making and providing the opportunity for youth across the world to have their voices heard. If you are a young person between the ages of 18-30 in the Americas, Southern Africa, or South Asia, and want to be involved in grantmaking to youth-led and youth-focused groups, then this is the right opportunity for you!
You can find the eligibility criteria for the Americas panel here and you can apply here. For more information on the Southern Africa panel, please read the eligibility criteria here and apply here. To learn more about the South Asia panel, please read the eligibility criteria here and apply here.
Header photo: Young people participating in a convening in Tijuana, Mexico. © Jeff Valenzuela
Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.
86-90 Paul Street
London EC2A 4NE