We are EMpower

We partner with local organisations in emerging market countries, and other change-makers, to enable marginalised young people to transform their lives and communities.

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EMpower Impact to Date

For 20 years, we have worked alongside local organisations and young people to advance innovative programming and best practices to enable youth to live their full potential.


Grants Made

$45 Million



Youth Directly Impacted

3.1 Million

Lives Touched


Youth Development Tools

EMpower is committed to sharing knowledge, tools and lessons-learned that can inform and strengthen youth programmes.

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We work globally to empower marginalised youth, especially girls.

There are more than 1.8 billion young people in the world, and many emerging market countries currently have their largest populations of young people ever. And these numbers are only expected to grow over the next 10 years. Already experiencing significant poverty, discrimination, violence, and exclusion, young people living at the margins now face the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19. The crisis has taken an unprecedented toll on their schooling, health, safety, and livelihoods. Our support to local partners aims to create more opportunities, assets, networks, and safe spaces for young people. EMpower provides financial grants and other value-added support to local organisations in emerging market countries in three interconnected areas that are key to youth development:

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Partnership with Impact

With partnership at the heart of our work, EMpower learns from and with our partners, leveraging and sharing learnings from our 100 active grantee partners in 15 EM countries.

Featured Grantee Partner


UmRio, a recent grantee partner of EMpower, focuses on improving school dropout rates and academic performance in a poor and often violent favela in Rio using a surprising entry point: rugby.

Over 90% of those who join drug gangs in Rio’s favelas are between the ages of 13 and 18. They sometimes see this as their only option, as they have limited access or motivation to go to school and few alternative opportunities or role models. They face financial pressures, so getting an education falls by the wayside. And COVID has only made things worse: As a country, Brazil experienced one of the longest periods of school closure in the world. In the favela of Morro do Castro, where UmRio operates, only 15% of children and young people participated in remote classes during the pandemic, and a whopping 60% have returned to school unable to read or write.

In this environment, UmRio offers another choice. Rugby helps instill values of self-respect and discipline and improves young people’s team building and communications skills. And the organisation goes beyond the sport and provides academic learning opportunities, one-on-one mentoring, as well as professional and personal development. Over the past eight years, UmRio has supported more than 2000 children and young people, inspiring them to make better choices and to return and stay in school.

Learn more about UmRio →

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03 November 2022
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