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UNAOC Youth Solidarity Fund

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. 

The Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF) supports youth-led organizations that foster peaceful and inclusive societies by providing direct funding to outstanding projects promoting intercultural and interfaith dialogue. It awards grants (up to USD 25,000) to selected projects that demonstrate innovative 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 50 youth-led organizations in 30 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 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.


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 a membership-based youth-led organization;
  • 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-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 2015 or earlier);
  • Be registered and operate in one of the aforementioned countries;
  • Have a democratic governance structure, leadership nomination and consultative processes in formulating priorities and policies with members;
  • 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, membership 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.;
  • Did not receive funding under past editions of YSF or did not receive the UNAOC-BMW Intercultural Innovation Award.
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