LATIN AMERICA – Nestlé and UNESCO have partnered to provide young people with the resources and the skills they need to develop and carry forward innovative solutions to achieve a positive social impact in their communities.

According to Nestlé, multiple crises affecting the world are subjecting the youth to mental deterioration. Young women are particularly vulnerable to poor mental health and poverty.

80% of young people across the globe are vulnerable to depression and disillusionment, and more than one in five young people (under 25) are not in employment, education, or training, compromising their future employment prospects.

The fact that young people, now number more than 1.2 billion, increases the urgency of this call, the Swiss conglomerate noted.

This partnership aims to help young people to reach their full potential at a moment when multiple crises are affecting the world.

The project ‘Because Youth Matter’, will begin in Latin America with a call for applications across the region, with an end goal being to scale up the partnership to the global level in the future.

A global jury composed of young leaders and experts from Nestlé and UNESCO will assess the applications.

The grantees should be aged 18-30 and will be selected based on their potential to achieve social change in their communities.

Grantees will benefit from training sessions and mentoring throughout the development of their projects from Nestlé’s and UNESCO’s experts.

With UNESCO’s support, the grantees will also showcase their ideas and solutions to policymakers and civil society actors, to increase impact.

This year, the partners will award twenty grants of US$10,000 to each young leader, entrepreneur, and youth organization to help them create and implement change-making solutions for social impact.

This new partnership builds on Nestlé needs YOUth initiative, which has a goal of enabling 10 million young people around the world by 2030 to access apprenticeships, traineeships, and job opportunities, giving them economic opportunities.

Globally, Nestlé said its initiative has benefited more than 5 million young people across the three pillars: employment & employability, agripreneurship, and entrepreneurship. Partnering with UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector is an important step in Nestlé’s commitment to youth.

Laurent Freixe, Nestlé’s CEO for Zone Latin America and founder of the Nestlé Needs YOUth initiative, launched in 2013, said: “Young people must be allowed to become entrepreneurs and innovators. They drive economic and social progress and yet, the world does not support them enough. They lack financial support and are not part of the decision-making.

“Through this exciting new partnership with UNESCO, we hope to make a difference and help future leaders find their voice and put their ideas into practice.”

‘Because Youth Matter’ is part of UNESCO’s Global Youth Grant Scheme, a program that mobilizes financial and in-kind support for young people around the world.

The Organization, for over 20 years has been establishing and supporting youth-led initiatives and networks, strengthening youth capacities, fostering their knowledge production, through the ‘Young as Researchers Initiative’, and creating dialogue spaces between youth, policymakers, and other partners.

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