Commonwealth grants for youth workers announced at Youth Work Week launch

07 November 2023

Youth work associations in four countries will receive a grant from the Commonwealth Secretariat to boost training and resources and improve support to poorer communities.

For resources and details of upcoming events visit our Youth Work Week page.

Michael Asudi, Director Member of the Commonwealth Alliance of Youth Workers Association (CAWYA), presented the ‘Pan-Commonwealth Youth Workers Capacity-Building Grants’ to Malawi, Ghana, Tanzania, and Trinidad and Tobago at the Commonwealth’s Global Launch of International Youth Work Week.  

The investment aims to help associations in the four countries advance a pan-commonwealth four-point plan for youth work. This includes:  

  • Raising the status of youth work by providing degrees and other formal training opportunities for youth workers;
  • Strengthening youth work associations through mentorship and capacity-building;
  • Improving access to poorer communities and boosting the resources and tools available to youth workers; and
  • Providing more opportunities for knowledge transfer between youth workers and their associations.

Government representatives at the Launch welcomed the initiative, with Pakistan’s Deputy Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme, Dr Muhammad Ali Malik, describing it as

"a testament to the unwavering commitment of the Commonwealth Secretariat and CAYWA to strengthen youth work on a global scale."

Speaking on behalf of the Chair of CAYWA, Prof. Emeritus Robyn Broadbent, Youth Work leader Robin Lockhart said: 

"Capacity grants provide emerging associations with some funds to consult and establish their association. More importantly, establishing this legitimacy has meant that they also can register and connect with their governments."

Head of the Commonwealth Social Policy Division, Layne Robinson, added that the grants will focus on various aspects of youth work, from innovation in digital spaces to community-based initiatives. 

Mr Robinson also stressed the importance of pausing during youth work week to reflect on the theme “Youth Work in every place and space” and to recognise and celebrate the passion and commitment of youth workers, many of whom sacrifice their time and resources to ensure young people are supported. 

Maya Nanan, Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2023 and founder of the Autism Siblings and Friends Network, a non-profit organisation in Trinidad and Tobago that creates opportunities for those with special needs, spoke about the critical importance of the week.  

Describing the immense struggles she overcame to launch and maintain her organisation, she said:

"As a youth, as the founder of a youth-based NGO and as someone who works with youths daily, I fully recognise the value of youth work. I also recognise the challenges of youth workers – the inequalities in many countries, the discrimination that many face, that I face in my country, the lack of access to opportunities and resources, the belief that youths are too young to contribute, amongst others."

Highlighting the positive impact of “strong mentors” and “professional advisors” on her work, she urged governments, corporate sectors, and people in general to do more to support youth workers.

Echoing her sentiments, CAYWA’s Co-chair, Ashraf Patel, concluded the event with a call for strategic Commonwealth collaboration focussed on creating strong and effective youth work institutions. 

For resources and details of upcoming events visit our Youth Work Week page

Media contact

  • Ijeoma Onyeator  Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

  • E-mail