Microsoft Sri Lanka, Sarvodaya-Fusion and the World Bank announced on 6 March the joint launch of an innovative grant competition, entitled ‘Youth Solutions! Technology for Skills and Employment’. The competition will take place in Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

The ‘Youth Solutions! Technology for Skills and Employment’ competition is jointly launched by Microsoft, Sarvodaya-Fusion and the World Bank

This partnership was formalised during the visit of Alexander Ferguson, Special Advisor World Bank South Asia Region External Affairs to Sri Lanka. Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Microsoft Country Manager in Sri Lanka, met with World Bank officials and engaged in a discussion on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) solutions to address the issue of youth unemployment.

Sarvodaya-Fusion will support Microsoft and the World Bank in the outreach efforts for the competition, coordinating with its regional partners to reach social enterprises actively involved in youth programmes in rural communities.

The ICT-themed regional competition will showcase the fresh ideas and creativity of young people in South Asia, and at the same time encourage them to develop innovative solutions to the challenges faced by youth such as lack of skills development and unemployment. The winning entry in each country will be awarded a grant of between US$10,000-20,000 to develop their innovative projects over a one-year period.

Mr Wijeyeratne said, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the World Bank for the first time. This partnership between Microsoft, Sarvodaya-Fusion and the World Bank aims to capture youthful enthusiasm for innovation and inspiring ideas that will lead to the creation of new jobs for young people both in Sri Lanka and across the region. We are optimistic that the competition will generate a wealth of solutions, and we will provide selected candidates our full support to help them realise their ideas.”

Microsoft and the World Bank, with the support of an external evaluation panel, will shortlist the innovative proposals from the youth. All shortlisted candidates will present their proposal at a regional workshop scheduled for the second half of May 2013.

“This partnership between Microsoft and the World Bank aims to capture youthful enthusiasm for innovation and inspiring ideas that will lead to the creation of new jobs for young people.”

- Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Microsoft Country Manager, Sri Lanka