YSEALI Seeds for the Future

YSEALI Seeds for the Future is a small grants competition for young leaders in Southeast Asia. It provides funding for the region’s most promising young leaders to carry out projects that improve their communities, countries and the region across the program themes of Civic Engagement, Education, Economic Growth, and Sustainable Development.

Projects of the Month

Team recoding talkshows on promoting positivity and support for LGBT+ community.

Buzz Talk Cambodia

Breaking the stigma on LGBT+ in Cambodia through constructive dialog and storytelling by aspiring journalists.

Participants of discussion group on sanitation issues gathered to brainstorm innovations

Etam Impact Academy for Sanitation Heroes

Leading youth-driven impact accelerator for innovative ideas on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to combat children stunting and mortality in East Kalimantan.

Participants engaged in conservation conversations through an educational card game.

SULUT Semangat

Improving conservation education in North Sulawesi by creating fun teaching materials and engaging capacity building opportunities.

Announcing the 2020 Grant Recipients

Aku Mampu (Indonesia)
Means “I Can” in Bahasa Indonesia
Promoting inclusive workspaces in Indonesia by empowering jobseekers with disabilities and supporting prospective employers with educational materials.

A Better Vietnam (Vietnam)
Connecting native English-speaking volunteer teachers with Vietnamese students for online, one-on-one, free English lessons.

Buzz Talk Cambodia (Cambodia)
Breaking the stigma on LGBT+ in Cambodia through constructive dialog and storytelling by aspiring journalists.

Etam Impact Academy for Sanitation Heroes (Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia)
Leading youth-driven impact accelerator for innovative ideas on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to combat children stunting and mortality in East Kalimantan.

Eureka Hub (Malaysia)
Helping Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) community in Sabah improve their vocational projects by equipping them with skills in digital technology and pitching.

FemaLEAD (Vietnam)
Empowering female Vietnamese students to become leaders in their future workplaces through mentorship programs, public lectures, and seed funding for small projects.

Fonik Asyik (Indonesia)
Means “Fun Phonics” in Bahasa Indonesia.
Promoting literacy in Papua by providing Bahasa Indonesian phonics program as a fun and comprehensive reading method suitable for all learners.

Future Deaf Teachers (Vietnam)
Improving social inclusion and creating career opportunities for Deaf people in Mekong Delta through Sign Language Teaching.

#GrowASEAN (Philippines)
Activating a new breed of farmers in the Philippines by training them in digital agriculture.

IProcure Youth Procurement Fellows Program (Philippines)
Tapping into the collective talent of university students around the Philippines to solve government challenges in procurement through technological innovation.

JourneyPH: Stories Across (Philippines)
Bridging communities in the Philippines in shaping and sharing developmental stories through journalism and service-learning.

LatihID (Indonesia)
Means “PracticeID” in Bahasa Indonesia.
Creating online learning opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to grow their talents, succeed in the global market, and improve Indonesian economy.

Edujobs (Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand)
Matching micro-education courses with full time and freelancing job opportunities through an online platform, aiming to upskill the workforce in developing countries.

Miles (Malaysia)
Providing academic mentorship and equipping high school students with soft skills necessary for the labor market to improve economic conditions in low-income communities in Penang, Malaysia.

Play Naturally (Brunei)
Connecting Bruneian youth with nature and indigenous communities of Tasek Merimbun, an ASEAN Heritage Site, through a conservation theater program.

SAYA (Myanmar)
Empowering self-learners from Myanmar to improve their English through an app-based interactive contextual learning.

Smile Space (Thailand)
Helping the people of Bangkok build resilience and overcome mental barriers through guided one-on-one mental exercises in a co-creative space.

Start Me App (Philippines)
Teaching people in the Philippines how to start a business through an online app anywhere, anytime, and with any budget.

SULUT Semangat (Indonesia)
Improving conservation education in North Sulawesi by creating fun teaching materials and engaging capacity building opportunities.

Sureplus (Philippines)
Reducing hunger and food waste in Davao City through an online platform that connects farmers and restaurants with charities and communities in need.

Teach4Future (Indonesia)
Training Indonesian teachers to promote eco-consciousness and providing small grants to help incorporate environmental issues into their curricula.

INpaktu Youth Timor-Leste (Timor-Leste)
Empowering Timorese youth leaders to build sustainable future through pilot grants, podcast series, and a capacity-building bootcamp on social innovation and development.

VIGA (Vietnam)
Connecting Vietnamese high school students to lead the gender equality movement through an incubation initiative.

Yes to VOW (Myanmar)
Providing accurate information on reproductive health education and rights for youths in low-income communities in Myanmar.

The Xiang Miang Project (Laos)
Educating high school students in Vientiane about emerging technologies to prepare them to become future tech entrepreneurs and inventors.

Learn About 2019 Grant Recipients


Supporting STEAM Education in public and private schools across Myanmar through a unique computer game.


Providing former juvenile offenders in Thailand with a second chance through skill-building activities and employment trainings.

Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia

Bringing awareness about fake news and disinformation through the international hackathon in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

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Creating an impact accelerator and a lab for designing innovative, scalable, and replicable technology to address water-energy-food challenges in Indonesia.

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Philippines, Cambodia

Training young professionals to map the trails of ASEAN national parks and heritage sites in the Philippines and Cambodia for posterity and environmental sustainability.

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Bringing ethical entrepreneurship to underrepresented youth through a unique boot-camp program in Bali, Indonesia.

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Equipping students with English language skills to help build prosperous communities in Vietnam.

Timor Leste, Indonesia

Promoting behavioral change in caring for the coastal communities of Kupang and Dili through activities on improving personal hygiene as a set stone for improving the environment.

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Building sustainable economic development in Malaysia through mangrove ecosystem education for the small-scale fisherman communities.


Reshaping domestic work sector by empowering migrant workers and providing better hiring solutions for employers in Malaysia.

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Engaging young entrepreneurs in Thailand into a social innovation development process through an Incubation Program, Educational Workshops, and an Impact Venture Clinic.

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Teaching youth in East Java to preserve biodiversity of the marine and coastal ecosystems through skill-building activities.

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Encouraging and supporting youth participation in the local communities though a good governance development program in the Philippines.


Educate children in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, about dental and oral health through a mobile game called Si Manggis Celebes.

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Bringing cultural exchange and life skills education through rugby competitions between young leaders in Laos and Vietnam.

Lao Rugby Federation:

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ChildFund Pass It Back:

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Taking action on waste management through awareness trainings for teachers and students in public schools in Myanmar.


Helping Cambodian high school students excel in Match and Sciences with an innovative app.

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Singapore, Indonesia

Bringing together diverse creative talent and creating platform for the disability in art in Southeast Asia.

Ketemu Project:

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Co:Creation Workshop:

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Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia

Educating young leaders on marine conservation through scuba diving trainings in Khao Lak, Thailand.

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Vietnam, Cambodia

Bringing environmental and social issues up on the stage in the form of recycling art performances and workshops in Vietnam and Cambodia.


Navigation app and participatory mapping to empower people with visual impairment.

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To submit a proposal you must be a registered YSEALI member, be from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, or Vietnam, be between the ages of 18 and 35 and have a project that addresses at least one of the following themes:
  • Civic Engagement
  • Economic Growth
  • Education
  • Sustainable Development
No, however the strongest proposals will offer solutions that can be replicated in more than one region.
No, however the strongest proposals will encourage cross-border collaboration.
There is no minimum or maximum, however, there should be an appropriate number of people in relation to the size and scale of the project. Additionally, the strongest proposals will have different people in each of the three leadership roles of Project Leader, Secretary, and Treasurer.
• A successful project is one that is feasible, innovative, reproducible, and scalable making a tangible difference in any one of the four YSEALI themes.
• Budgeting is one of the hardest and most critical parts of your proposal. You must list all appropriate and applicable costs while remaining cost-conscious and feasible. The most successful projects are realistic in their costs. Please use the budget template from the application to help you get started. Make sure to not include any sustained salaries or large equipment purchase in your budget as those are not within the scope of the YSEALI Seeds grant.
• The award announcement will occur in January 2020, thus, your project should plan to be ten months starting in late January 2020.
If selected, you will receive 60% of your funds after submitting the answers to the follow-up questions based off your initial proposal requested by Cultural Vistas. You will then receive 35% of funds six months later, after submitting your monthly reports and your mid-term report. Finally you will receive the last 5% of the project funds after submitting your final report with project results.
Cultural Vistas will be your point of contact for the entire process and serve as your mentor to implementing your project. Any questions you may have on administration, budgeting, planning etc. Cultural Vistas will work with you. Additionally, Cultural Vistas will provide online mentorship to assist you in different aspects of your project from before, to during, to after the grant has completed.
Projects will be evaluated by Cultural Vistas staff in conjunction with U.S. Mission to ASEAN staff and sent off to a Department of State grants panel for final review and selection.
No, you may be listed only on one 2020 YSEALI Seeds for the Future proposal
Yes, all projects will be encouraged to seek crowdfunding through Generosity.com or other platforms and to seek additional funds through the private sector to create as much impact as possible.
You can view the webinar recordings on Cultural Vistas YouTube channel. Through the webinars you will learn more about creating successful YSEALI Seeds application and budget proposal, as well as receive some advice from the previous YSEALI Seeds grantees.



Launched in 2013, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is the U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programs and engagements, YSEALI seeks to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and nurture an ASEAN community of leaders who work across borders to solve common issues.


Approximately 65% of people in the ASEAN region are under the age of 35. YSEALI is an effort to harness the extraordinary potential of youth in the region to address critical challenges and expand opportunities.


The YSEALI community consists of bright young leaders, 18–35 years old, from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam who are making a difference in their communities, countries, and the region. Learn more about the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative at yseali.state.gov and join the official YSEALI social media communities on Facebook and Twitter.

The YSEALI Seeds for the Future program is sponsored by U.S. Department of State and is funded through a grant from the U.S. Mission to ASEAN. Cultural Vistas will administer the program through 2020.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact us at yseali@culturalvistas.org.

About Cultural Vistas

Founded in 1963, Cultural Vistas is a nonprofit exchange organization promoting global understanding and collaboration among individuals and institutions. It develops international professional experiences that create more informed, skilled, and engaged citizens. Every year, Cultural Vistas’ 30-plus unique exchange programs empower thousands of individuals and organizations in the United States and more than 135 countries to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations, and society.