EU Youth Empowerment Fund

EU launches the Youth Empowerment Fund

New partnership with the world’s largest youth organisations to support young people contributing to the SDGs

The European Commission and the world’s largest youth organisations, the “Big Six”, announced a partnership to launch the EU Youth Empowerment Fund, to be implemented through the Global Youth Mobilization (GYM). It marks the first anniversary of the Youth Action Plan for EU External Action, the EU’s policy framework for a strategic partnership with young people to build a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable future.

As a flagship initiative of the Youth Action Plan, and designed by, with and for young people, the EU Youth Empowerment Fund is a €10 million pilot initiative. It will provide and facilitate access to vital resources for young people to contribute to the sustainable development of their local communities and societies in EU partner countries across the world to reach the objectives of Agenda 2030, in line with the EU’s Global Gateway strategy.

The partnership will break down barriers to funding; provide opportunities for mentoring, coaching and capacity strengthening; unlock opportunities for marginalised and under-represented communities; and engage, empower and mobilise young people to create local solutions to the world’s biggest challenges from climate change and gender equality to access to education and employment.

Accessible funding for youth-led initiatives to accelerate progress towards the SDGs

Despite facing unparalleled challenges and being disproportionately affected by worsening inequalities in society, young people are a powerful force for change, and youth-led and youth co-created initiatives have enormous potential to contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Yet young people often face barriers in accessing funds and opportunities to scale up successful initiatives.

The EU Youth Empowerment Fund through the Global Youth Mobilization will address this challenge by making low-barrier funding accessible for young people at the grassroots community level, minimising “red tape” and creating accessible opportunities that are relevant to the needs and priorities of young people, including marginalised and under-represented populations.

The Fund will also support mentoring and coaching opportunities, as well as capacity strengthening of young people to build their resilience, and help them lead, take action and advocate for their needs.

Young people will lead on all aspects of the EU Youth Empowerment Fund through the Global Youth Mobilization, from selecting grant beneficiaries, to sitting on the Board of the initiative, to supporting mentoring and capacity strengthening programs, and participating in the design, leadership and implementation of projects in their communities.

The first activities of the Youth Empowerment Fund will start in late 2023, with first grants being disbursed to young people in early 2024.


The European Commission’s work for and with youth is guided by the Youth Action Plan (YAP) in European Union external action for 2022-2027, the first-ever policy framework for a strategic partnership with young people around the world. It focuses on young people as change makers and essential partners in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international commitments such as the Paris Agreement on climate change. It aims to ensure that EU external action contributes to youth empowerment at political, social and economic levels, and to facilitate young people’s meaningful engagement in decision and policy-making.

The Global Youth Mobilization (GYM) is an initiative of the Big Six, established in 2020. From 2020-2022 it invested more than US$ 5 million to support 640 youth-led projects which engaged more than 600,000 young people and reached over 3.6 million people in communities across more than 125 countries.

Formed in 1996, the Big Six Youth Organisations are an alliance of leading international youth-serving organisations. The Big Six is comprised of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), the World Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Associations (World YMCA), the World Alliance of Young Women’s Christian Associations (World YWCA), the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (The Award).

Global Youth Mobilization is an initiative of the ‘Big Six’ Youth Organisations, an alliance of leading international youth-serving organisations. Together, the Big Six actively involve and engage more than 250 million young people, contributing to the empowerment of more than one billion young people during the last century.

For more information

EU Youth

Global Youth Mobilization