The Puerto Rico Youth Fellowship is opening the call for a second round of funding, the first in 2020, to support community activism in Puerto Rico with up to $45,000 in scholarships to continue developing and connecting a network of young leaders on the island.
“The people of Puerto Rico continue to suffer the consequences of abandonment and neglect by the local and federal government. However, all these events have brought out the activism and leadership of many young people on the island, who have served as pillars of the social justice movements,” the organization said.
To support this activism and initiatives, and to develop and connect a network of young leaders on the island, the Open Society Foundations announced its second round of the Puerto Rico Youth Fellowships, which is open to young people between the ages of 18 and 27 years who want to propose projects focused on human rights and rooted in their communities across the island.
The fellowship program will accept applications through Mar. 15, 2020 and will give those who are chosen a scholarship of up to $45,000 for 18 months for full-time projects — the scholarship will be prorated in case the participant decides to participate part-time.
The projects chosen should focus on one or more of the following human rights topics: health, fair housing, education, immigrant rights, workers’ rights, LGBTTQI community rights, criminal justice, food justice, and/or environmental justice , among others.
Applicants are encouraged to use different strategies to advance their projects, including community organization, public/popular education, strategic communications, change in public policy and the construction of agreements or coalitions.
“In this last group of scholars of 2019, we are proud to have supported leaders rooted in queer, Afro-Puerto Rican and HIV-impacted communities,” said Karina Claudio-Betancourt, director of the Puerto Rico Project for the Open Society Foundations.
“We supported projects in almost all parts of the island — north, south, and west — and we were met with a group that brought so much diversity of ideas and strategies to improve the quality of life of their communities: from popular education, to the implementation of tools to achieve food sovereignty,” she said.
This year the nonprofit seeks to improve its outreach process to include candidates from communities that it was not able to reach in the first round, including people from the islands of Vieques and Culebra.
“We have not only a team of young people who will help us evaluate the proposals, but with the input of our 2019 fellows, who will also help us to make the necessary scope so that our second group is a reflection of contemporary Puerto Rican society in the that we live,” she said.