Empowerment Grants

What is


We Are The Rainbow (WATR) is a development and capacity building project of Many Coloured Sky, the Queer Development Agency, establishing comprehensive programs and building a policy, programmatic and community platform to empower LGBTQI+ communities and address the multiple risks and harms that many LGBTQI+ young people experience, including bullying, violence and harassment, discrimination and prejudice, family rejection, mental health pressures, HIV infection and sexual exploitation and assault.

WATR’s focus is on the social environments that are most important to all children, adolescents and young people – the family, school, the local community, health and community services and the peer group – and how they impact on the lives of LGBTQI+ young people specifically.

In the current phase of WATR, Many Coloured Sky has partnered with Youth Voices Count, Inc. to offer five grants of US$3000 each to youth-led LGBTQI+ organisations and groups across the Asia Pacific. The grants program is intended to support those groups in developing and facilitating activities guided by the principles and resources of the WATR project. As with previous IGNITE Empowerment Grants, this phase will be implemented over a period of six months, which will include pre-activity preparations, fund transfers, documentation and liquidation, and a mentorship scheme and shared-learning strategy.

What is


Youth Voices Count, Inc. (YVC) is committed to supporting LGBTQI+ youth-led initiatives in the region. Following the same vision of our IGNITE! Mentorship Programme in 2015, the Youth Empowerment grants hopes to support youth-led projects working around LGBTQI+ in countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. The grants will be implemented for a period of 6 months, which will include pre-activity preparations, fund transfers, documentation, and liquidation. The unique aspect of this grant is the inclusion of the “Mentorship Scheme” as part of the M&E and technical support mechanism of the grant, more details on this is provided below. 

With YVC’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2020, we have effectively increased our advocacy areas and network focus to cover young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex persons. Youth Voices Count envisions a society in which young people of [all] sexual and gender diversity including [those that identify as] lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer identities lead safe and free lives with equal opportunity to achieve their full potential and well-being. 

As the organization grows, YVC developed “To Greater Heights”, the organization’s Strategic Plan for 2021-2025, which focuses on our strategic approaches (1) awareness raising, (2) advocacy, (3) capacity building, (4) knowledge management, and (5) network strengthening. The organization acknowledges that young people live complex lives, which require complex solutions and interventions identified through a participatory and intersectional approach. This round of IGNITE! carries the same vision as the previous initiatives but with a deeper realization for community-centered programming. 


Inclusive, safe and accessible multi-session peer support and peer education for LGBTQI+ young people

Comprehensive parent and family group support and education about LGBTQI+ issues

Improving school access, safety and inclusiveness for LGBTQI+ young people

Improving social and health service access and relevance for LGBTQI+ young people

Improving safety and inclusion of LGBTQI+ children and young people in local communities


1. Proposals must demonstrate the capacity of the organization to implement the proposed activities, including the relationships and networks needed to influence change.

2. The proposed activity should be able to demonstrate the ability to produce beneficial outcomes for LGBTQI+ young people by influencing one or more areas of their social environment (the Priority Areas, above). Preference will be given to proposals demonstrating ability to generate lasting impact in more than one of WATR’s social environment priority areas.

3. The organization may or may not be legally registered, however they must operate in a country inthe Asia-Pacific region.

4. The proposed activity should be inclusive and responsive to the needs of local LGBTQI+ youngpeople.

5. Successful grant recipients will work collaboratively with Many Coloured Sky and Youth Voices Count, Inc. to ensure shared learning and information exchange.

6. Priority will be given to proposals demonstrating intersectionality of issues and approaches to addressing marginalization.

7. Priority will be given to proposals inclusive of or focused on the experiences of LGBTQI+ young people under the age of eighteen, with clear strategies in place for child protection and safety, and appropriate legal consent.

8. Priority will be given to proposals from organisations demonstrating an ongoing and comprehensive commitment to LGBTQI+ young people’s rights.


The grant will provide a maximum of $3000.00 to successful applicants. The amount may be used for honorarium, training costs, payment of venue, food, transportation of participants and other relevant materials.

The grant will be treated as a lump sum to allow applicants to work flexibly with the budget, and to help inform MCS and YVC of the unique needs of each applicant such that we do not constrain budgets unnecessarily with fixed amounts which may not be appropriate to the proposal. For example, one organization may have no need for a high allowance budget, while another organization may need a higher allotment to allow for travel of participants. Per diems, allowances, honorariums and salaries can make up a maximum of 50% of the total budget.


Step 1
Call for applications
Step 2
Application Review and Selection
Step 3
Onboarding and Project Management Training
Step 4
Implementation and Reporting
Step 5


The applicants will be required to submit a concept paper detailing the rationale, objectives and envisaged outcomes of the activity. The concept note should also describe the design of the activity, including the program, criteria for selecting participants, target demographic, and sustainability. More than one organisation can submit a proposal as a consortium, as long as the lead is an LGBTQI+ youth organisation.

An application form and information sheet will be provided, with details and helpful tips for crafting the concept papers, including specific principles and expectations for each priority area. A detailed budget will be required showing costs of each item in USD. The application form will also provide useful information about what kinds of costs are acceptable, and what details they need to provide to MCS and YVC can better evaluate their application. Applicants will be encouraged to consider how to integrate wellness into their proposals, as well as appropriate compensation for volunteers and staff who will work on the project.


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