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Grants from the Fund for 2010 

The board of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s Humanitarian Fund has decided to give support to a youth venture initiative organised as a joint effort between the Strømme Foundation and the Norwegian Mission Alliance.


Grants from the Fund will be awarded directly to two projects under the initiative: the Strømme Foundation’ Shonglap programme and the Norwegian Mission Alliance’s Jóvenes emprendedores project.

The award ceremony will take place on Monday, 30 August 2010, in connection with a seminar on microfinance and youth entrepreneurship at the University of Agder in Kristiansand.

Collaborative project on youth entrepreneurship

Although there are 1 billion people in the world today between the ages of 15 and 23, the majority of global development cooperation projects focus on children or families. Very few target young people.

In 2010, grants from the Fund have therefore been awarded directly to two youth-related projects: the Shonglap programme in Bangladesh and the Jóvenes emprendedores project in Ecuador. The Strømme Foundation and the Norwegian Mission Alliance have collaborated to share their experience on how to help young people in poor countries by assisting them in starting their own businesses.

Each project will receive NOK 300 000 from Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s Humanitarian Fund. This year marks the tenth consecutive year in which grants have been allocated from the Fund.


The Strømme Foundation’s Shonglap programme in Bangladesh is a one-year educational programme for unmarried girls between the ages of 11 and 19 whose impoverished circumstances have prevented them from attending school. “Shonglap” means “dialogue” in Bengali.

The aim is increase the girls’ self-esteem and independence, while teaching them about their rights and how they can earn their own money. In this way the girls can avoid very early marriage, involuntary prostitution, abuse and exploitation. After completing the course, the oldest girls are given the opportunity to take a loan and start their own business.

A total of 40,000 girls have completed the programme to date.

Jóvenes emprendedores

“Jóvenes emprendedores” means “young entrepreneurs” in Spanish. It is the title of a new project combining microfinance and education that targets youths aged 17 to 23 in zonas marginales in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The aim is to enable young people to earn a livelihood in order to relieve the financial burden on their parents and – most importantly – to teach them how to work at a young age. This will help to reduce social problems and raise young people’s self-esteem.

The project consists of training to help participants to identify their entrepreneur talents as well as educating them about what is required to succeed as an entrepreneur. Youths with viable business ideas are granted a loan to start their own enterprise.

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