4 minutes
February 2024

A Story From

Youth Initiatives

Young people have the ideas, motivation, and desire to tackle the world’s most pressing issues, but often lack funds and support. This is why UNESCO and Nestlé are launching the "Because Youth Matter" initiative to provide young leaders financial support and skills to implement change-making solutions for social impact in their communities.

The project will begin in Latin America with a call for applications on June 1st - while the end-goal is to scale-up the partnership to the global level in the future.

The Initiative

In 2023, twenty grants of 10,000 USD each will be awarded to young leaders, entrepreneurs and youth organizations to help them create and implement change-making solutions for social impact. Grantees will benefit from training sessions and mentoring during the development of their projects from Nestlé’s and UNESCO’s experts.

A global jury composed of young leaders and experts from Nestlé and UNESCO will assess the applications. The grantees, aged 18-30, will be selected on the basis of their potential to achieve social change in their communities.

This partnership aims to help young people reach their full potential at a moment when multiple crises are affecting the world. Countries struggle to recover from the impacts of the Covid 19 Pandemic, prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change and contend with the shocks of the war in Ukraine. Youth are among those most affected.

80% of young people across the globe are vulnerable to depression and disillusionment1. More than one in five young people (under 25) are not in employment, education or training, compromising their future employment prospects2, with young women particularly vulnerable to poor mental health and poverty.


“Young people must be given the opportunity 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 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.”

Laurent Freixe,
Nestlé’s CEO for Zone Latin America, founder of the Nestlé Needs YOUth initiative.


UNESCO x Nestlé

Our commitment to Youth

This new partnership builds on Nestlé’s 10 years of youth empowerment through its Nestlé needs YOUth initiative, with the goal of enabling 10 million young people around the world access economic opportunities by 2030. Globally, it has benefited more than 5 million young people gain access to apprenticeships, traineeships and job opportunities. Partnering with UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector is an important step in Nestlé’s commitment to youth.


“Young people deserve a chance to succeed, and by succeeding, to change the world. We cannot continue with business as usual; UNESCO is partnering with Nestlé, to help bring young peoples’ ideas to fruition so they can help transform our society.  Our joint program will create a space for young people to have impact, inspiring many others, old and young, to follow suit. The solution to the multiple crises we experience is to have all young hands-on deck.”

Gabriela Ramos,
Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO.


"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 program also benefits from the Organization’s 20 years of experience working with young people worldwide by establishing and supporting youth-led initiatives and networks, strengthening youth capacities, fostering their knowledge production, and creating dialogue spaces between youth, policymakers and other partners. 


UNESCO x Nestlé photo 3

World Economic Forum, Global Risks Report, 2021.

International Labor Organization, Trends 2023 Report.

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