Thematic Call for Solutions: Scalable Employment Models 

CFYE wants to work with 1 to 4 intermediaries that offer business support and innovative financing mechanisms to Small and Growing Businesses in at least two of its countries of operation. The selected intermediaries together should generate decent employment opportunities for at least 15,000 young people (aged 15 to 35), of which at least half women.

Questions related to this specific call can be sent to:

Deadline – 15 March 2022 5 pm CET

The Challenge

There is an urgent need to generate quality jobs for youth in the Middle East and Africa. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s population is young, growing, increasingly well-educated but underemployed. Youth under the age of 25 constitute half of the population and youth unemployment rates currently stand over 30%. In Sub-Saharan Africa, youth under 25 constitute 60% of the population and across Africa, 15 to 20 million increasingly young people are expected to join the workforce every year for the next three decades. 

Young women face additional barriers to finding and retaining decent employment. Globally, women earn on average 24% less than men, but in Sub-Saharan Africa, this figure surges to 30% less. In North Africa and the Arab States, youth unemployment among women reaches 44% – almost twice that of men%. 

Key Dates

4th of March:

Deadline to send clarifying questions (online) or request for one on one sessions*.

8th of March:

Responses to clarifying questions will be available on the Challenge Fund website

15th of March:

Submission of Business Case 5 pm CET

7th of May:

Latest date selected candidates will be informed and due diligence process will start.

* Requests for one on one sessions can be made alongside proof that eligibility requirements 3 to 6 as set out in Appendix I are met by the prospective applicant by sending an email to 

Call for Solutions

Small and Growing Businesses are important to create jobs for youth. Intermediaries play an important role to build systems and mechanisms that will continue to create jobs for young women and men. CFYE is looking to partner with organisations that have on-the-ground presence to directly work with Small and Growing Businesses, will continue to exist after the end of the CFYE programme and have the potential to scale.  


The objectives of this thematic call are: 

  • To scale initiatives that successfully create decent job opportunities for youth in countries of its current operation and/or replicate the model in other countries. Through this call we intend to work with 1 to 4 implementing partners that generate decent employment opportunities for 15,000 for youth of which at least half for women;  
  • To design or strengthen mechanisms that will exist beyond the duration of CFYE that anchor employment outcomes in the business case of locally operating Small and Growing Businesses; and, 
  • To contribute to CFYE’s learning and innovation agenda which includes the following themes: 1) defining, enhancing and measuring DECENT jobs, 2) demonstrating the business case of decent jobs, and 3) the future of work in terms of green jobs. We are also interested to learn more on interventions that contribute to the employment ecosystem. See Appendix II of the TOR for more details. 

To meet these objectives, CFYE wishes to collaborate with experienced intermediaries with a strong local presence and proven capacity to work with Small and Growing Businesses. Proposed activities need to take place in at least 2 CFYE countries. 

Eligibility Criteria

The following general criteria for eligible proposals apply: 

  1. Principles: Should be able to adhere to CFYE’s guiding principles & priorities. 
  2. Exclusion Criteria: the programme and organizations involved must pass the FMO exclusion criteria. 
  3. Local Presence: You (the lead organization), or at least one of your consortium partners, has a local operating presence in the countries in which you will operate. 
  4. The proposed project or initiative needs to work in at least two CFYE countries, namely: Tunisia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Jordan, Egypt, South Sudan, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Lebanon, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Morocco and Niger 
  5. Legality: The Lead Organisation and consortium partners are legally registered and proof of registration as private sector, foundation, NGO etc. is provided.  
  6. The lead organisation has been in existence for at least 3 years  
  7. Total Targets: The proposed programme will create, match, improve or sustain at least 2,000 jobs for young men and women. 
  8. Women Targets: Of the total youth employment created, matched, or improved, at least 50% are for women. 
  9. Private Sector: The proposed activities should support private companies in creating decent jobs for young men & women. 
  10. Leverage & CFYE Contribution: The minimum contribution of the fund is € 500,000. This should be matched at the start of the co-investment with an amount of at least half of the contribution requested from CFYE. A strategy also needs to be in place showing how additional capital will be leveraged that will result in a non-CFYE contribution being double the amount requested.   
    Sources of co-funding have to be approved based on the guidance provided. Please note that in-kind contributions are not allowed. 
  11. Youth: The jobs created, matched or improved would be for youth aged 1535 years. Unless the minimum working age is otherwise stipulated by local labour laws. 
  12. Employment type: Initiatives in both the informal and formal sectors are eligible. However, there is need to specify the employment type: wage employment, self-employment or dependent self-employment.  


  1. Applicant organisations can begin project implementation no later than July 2022. It will be up to the applicants to ensure they meet the due diligence requirements. Requirements are specificied in the Guidance Pack that is submitted alongside the Business Case template. 


Relevant Documentation

Want to know what to expect in our application process? Please have a look at the below documents.

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