US government announces P20M in grants to support out-of-school youth in Philippines

THE United States government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), announced on May 30, 2023, new grants worth over P20 million ($370,000) for Philippine higher education institutions (HEIs) working on innovative programs to improve the lives of Filipino out-of-school youth.

Administered through the USAID Opportunity 2.0 program, the announcement includes two types of grants: the “O2 GAIN Grants,” which will address local development priorities for out-of-school youth, and the “O2-ASPIRE Grants,” which will support partnerships between Philippine and US HEIs on out-of-school youth advancement.

The grants will help fund academic research, develop technological solutions, and enhance the quality of services for out-of-school youth.

USAID mission director Ryan Washburn announced the new grants during the Opportunity 2.0 program’s Higher Education Learning Summit in Quezon City, which brought together more than 200 USAID partners from across the Philippines.

The summit highlighted the pivotal role of higher education partners in building a better future for out-of-school youth and provided stakeholders a space for further collaboration.

“Working together, we have been able to make progress and open doors for thousands of out-of-school youth to better education, employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities,” said Washburn.

To date, Opportunity 2.0 has supported around 35,000 Filipino youth by helping them gain employment, start their own businesses, or return to school.

“I am confident that this learning summit will facilitate meaningful exchanges, foster collaboration, inspire innovative approaches, and find common ground to address the complex needs of out-of-school youth,” said Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero De Vera. “Therefore, I express my gratitude to the USAID Opportunity 2.0 program and all the organizers for their vision and dedication in making this summit a reality.”

Quezon City Vice Mayor Gian Sotto, for his part, said “education is the cornerstone of all progress, and higher education institutions play a pivotal role in accomplishing this as they serve as homes for training the minds of the youth and preparing them for the challenges of the ever-evolving world.”

“We view our higher education institutions as beacons of hope. We are confident that with your help and support, we can help out-of-school Filipinos return to studying and get the quality education they deserve,” he said.

According to USAID, interested grant applicants may contact or follow the USAID Opportunity 2.0 program’s Facebook account ( and LinkedIn ( for updates and additional information.