Manila, June 2, 2023—On May 30, the United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announced new grants worth over Php20 million ($370,000) for Philippine higher education institutions (HEIs) working on innovative programs to improve the lives of Filipino out-of-school youth.
Administered through the USAID Opportunity 2.0 program, the announcement includes two types of grants: the “O2 GAIN Grants,” which will address local development priorities for out-of-school youth, and the “O2-ASPIRE Grants,” which will support partnerships between Philippine and U.S. HEIs on out-of-school youth advancement. The grants will help fund academic research, develop technological solutions, and enhance the quality of services for out-of-school youth.
USAID Mission Director Ryan Washburn announced the new grants during the Opportunity 2.0 program’s Higher Education Learning Summit in Quezon City, which brought together more than 200 USAID partners from across the Philippines. The summit highlighted the pivotal role of higher education partners in building a better future for out-of-school youth and provided stakeholders a space for further collaboration.
“Working together, we have been able to make progress and open doors for thousands of out-of-school youth to better education, employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities,” said Director Washburn.
To date, Opportunity 2.0 has supported around 35,000 Filipino youth by helping them gain employment, start their own businesses, or go back in school.
“I am confident that this learning summit will facilitate meaningful exchanges, foster collaboration, inspire innovative approaches, and find common ground to address the complex needs of out-of-school youth,” said Commission on Higher Education Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera. “I therefore express my gratitude to the USAID Opportunity 2.0 program and all the organizers for their vision and dedication for making this summit a reality.”
“Education is the cornerstone of all progress, and higher education institutions play a pivotal role in order to accomplish this as they serve as homes for training the minds of the youth and preparing them for the challenges of the ever-evolving world,” said Quezon City Vice Mayor Gian Sotto. “We view our higher education institutions as our beacon of hope. We are confident that with your help and support we can make out-of-school Filipino return to studying and get the quality education that they deserve.”