The United Nations awarded grants to 51 projects aimed at empowering young people across 30 countries.
The projects - which include a group from Sierra Leone providing vocational training for disabled youth and a Palestinian forum setting up youth councils to influence the local government - showcase innovative approaches on reducing poverty, boosting employment prospects for young people and increasing youth participation in democratic processes.
The winning projects were selected from 1,500 applications from 85 countries and announced Aug. 12, International Youth Day.
“Engaging youth is a critical component of development … The challenges presented to youth are witnessed in the field by [U.S. Agency for International Development] staff daily, and we are committed to ensuring that they have access to the skills and opportunities to be active, effective agents of change,” USAID chief Rajiv Shah said in a statement in commemoration of International Youth Day.
Meanwhile, a teenager from Hong Kong bagged the top prize in this year’s U.N. Environment Program painting competition, beating out 600,000 entries from 95 countries.
Coco Tin Chi Ting, 14, said that her painting seeks to warn us of the effects of pollution on animals.
“In my picture, a variety of animals are carved into blocks and on top perches a fragile glass Earth,” she explained.
Coco will get USD2,000 in prize money and an all-expense-paid trip this October to the Tunza International Children’s Conference in Nagoya, Japan, where she will be handed her award.