Frequently Asked Questions
ABOUT THE YOUNG WATER FELLOWSHIP
How often and where is the YWF organised?
We try very hard to run each YWF edition on an annual basis, but it depends on funds availability. While we started at global level, selecting Fellows from different low and middle income countries, we are now switching to a region and country scale. In the next years, we will be implementing national and regional editions in Africa, Latin America and Asia, but we can’t guarantee a date and scope too much in advance. Keep an eye to the ‘’Apply’’ section.
When can I find out about the next YWF editions and their calls for applications?
We will indicate the next calls for applications in the “Apply’’ section of this website, so make sure you bookmark it. We will also communicate it in our social media channels, and newsletter.
What happened to the YWF Global editions, and how can I participate if there is no YWF edition in my country or region?
We have decided to focus on regional and national editions of this programme from 2020 onwards, to be able to support more entrepreneurs. For the time being, there will be no more ‘’YWF Global editions’’ as such, although this might change in the future.
We are at the moment planning YWF editions in Latin America, Africa and Asia for 2020-2021. Please keep an eye on upcoming calls for your region!
Will all chosen fellows receive a €5000 grant?
We do our best to ensure that all Fellows are provided with enough funding opportunities to implement their pilot projects. However, two weeks following the training, Fellows will be required to re-submit a funding proposal. Funds granted by YWS depend on funding availability, need and the quality of the proposal submitted.
ABOUT THE APPLICATION PROCESS
How do I apply?
Young entrepreneurs that are eligible are invited to apply to each call by filling in an online form in the ‘’Apply’’ section of this website when the call is launched. Application guidelines will be made available to applicants. During the selection process, pre-selected applicants will be invited to submit a reference letter, and finalists will be invited for an interview.
What is the content of the application form?
The application form contains questions about the water/sanitation issue, the business idea as a solution, how the applicant plans to pilot (test) it, and the applicant profile. A submission of a 2-minute video of the applicant is required.
Can I apply if I am over 30 years old?
Unfortunately not. Applications coming from people over 30 years old will be automatically left out of the selection process, unless otherwise indicated in the conditions to apply. However, you could consider teaming up with someone younger as co-founders.
Can a team of 2 or 3 apply?
Applications must be submitted individually because only one person per organisation can attend the training. However, you can prepare the application as a team and then choose one person to submit it. You should consider that the whole team will benefit from the training that one co-founder will receive, and you will all have the challenge of kick-starting it!
Can I apply if I don’t have a passport yet?
If you would need to travel internationally in order to attend the training, make sure you have the necessary documents (including passport and visa). Due to visa timing issues, we can only accept applicants without a passport in cases where they don’t need a visa for the country where the training will take place or they can easily get a passport within 2 weeks after being selected.
I live in an eligible country for a Fellowship but my citizenship is from a country that is not included on the list. Can I apply?
Unfortunately not. Only citizens of the listed countries for each edition are accepted.
I am a citizen from an eligible country, but I am currently living in a non-eligible country. Can I still apply with an initiative for my community?
Only in the case that you will be back in your home country before the training, as you are expected to start implementation immediately afterwards.
If I am selected but I cannot attend the training, can someone else go in my place?
No. If you can’t attend the training, you will lose your place as a Fellow.
Do I need to be part of a youth or a water organisation to apply?
No, you don’t need to be part of an organisation, but demonstrated engagement in social or environmental groups or organisations is an advantage.
Do I need to have a technical qualification or experience in implementing water initiatives?
The experience and qualifications required depends on the initiative you propose. You need to prove that you will be able to implement your initiative. For example, if you have a background in law, and you say you want to design a solar pump for a borehole, you need to prove that you (or someone in your team) has the skills to do so.
What language will the programme be in and what level do I need to have?
For each edition, the presentations during the training and communication throughout the programme will primarily be in the lingua franca (most commonly understood language) of the region as the rest of the Fellows will be from different cultures. You therefore need to be comfortable expressing yourself in this language (whether it be English, French, Spanish…) and able to understand others. Professional proficiency is not required as long as we can understand you and you can understand us. The language required is specified when the call for applications is launched.
Do I need to make a very high-quality video?
Not at all. Just make sure that the sound and image quality are good enough for us to be able to understand what you say! We will be paying more attention to what you say and how you express yourself than how the video is edited. We’re not looking for perfection. You can add images or include shots of the places related to your initiative, but just talking confidently to the camera is enough.
Finally, make sure that your video is shared publicly. Some previous applicants have shared videos in Dropbox or Google Drive but in a private mode. In those cases, unfortunately, we can’t consider your application.
How many times can I apply to the YWF?
There is no limit in the number of editions of the programme you can apply to. Many of our Fellows had applied two or three times before being selected. Don’t lose hope and keep trying!
What happens if I have technical issues when uploading the video just before the deadline?
If you are experiencing technical issues when uploading your video, you can send it by email to the contact email indicated in the ‘’Apply’’ section, or you can contact us up to two days before the deadline. After that, we cannot guarantee being able to reply in time and in that case, your application without a video will not be considered. If you live in an area without a stable internet, please contact us.
ABOUT THE SELECTION CRITERIA
What are the selection criteria?
To be considered eligible, the applicant needs to fulfil the conditions to apply, indicated at the time of each call. We base our selection on indicators related to the relevance and impact of the business idea, social business potential, innovation and potential for growth, feasibility of the pilot project proposed, and applicant’s profile.
What is a social business?
A social business is defined as a financially sustainable organization created to address a social/environmental problem, where most of its profits are reinvested in the business itself to increase its impact. While a traditional water project usually depends on donations and has a start and end date, a social business includes a mechanism to keep funds flowing (for example by applying commercial strategies such as selling a product or service), allowing the business to run in the long-term, provide employment and scale up its impact.
I have a project proposal but it’s not a social business. Can I apply?
If you are willing to transform your traditional project into a social business, with a long-term sustainability component, then you are welcome to apply. If you are selected, we will help you develop your social business during the training. If your purpose is to implement a short-term project and then move on to other things, then this is not be a suitable call for you.
What does it mean that my initiative should be at its “initial stages’’?
This programme focuses on young entrepreneurs that have recently developed an idea, or that have taken some steps to put the idea into practice but need significant help to sustain it. Entrepreneurs who are already operating a business and want additional funding to scale-up are not eligible.
What does it mean that my initiative should have a “gender approach’’?
It means that your proposal should somehow address gender inequalities. For example, by empowering women as part of your team or business model, or by considering their needs as beneficiaries.
In the application form, what do you mean by “income’’?
‘’Income’’ refers to the source where you get the funds from, to keep your social business going once it’s operating. For example, if your initiative is about selling a water filter to organizations to distribute in refugee camps, then your income comes from those public or private organizations who buy the filter. If your initiative is building pay-per-use toilets in a slum, then the people of the slum who would use them (and pay for them) are your source of income.
I have a water advocacy or a stakeholder-engagement initiative. Is it eligible?
Initiatives that are only about advocacy are not the target of this call. Your initiative can have an advocacy component but must also include actions to solve the water issue you describe.