2nd ASEAN Youth Social Journalism Contest 2021


The 2nd ASEAN Youth Social Journalism Contest 2021 is inviting youth “Social Journalists” to submit an essay and campaign ideas describing a theme of “#ASEANYouth and COVID-19 ─ Response, Recovery, and Resilience”. We are inviting the talented ASEAN’s youth to share and promote fact-based and compelling messages showcasing the importance of ASEAN youth at the forefront of efforts to combat the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The COVID-19 global health emergency and its social and economic implications have dramatically affected all facets of life amongst all groups of society. People of all ages, though, are experiencing its impact in a myriad of areas. The Global Survey on Youth and COVID-19 by the International Labour Organization/ILO (2020) indicates the immediate effects of COVID-19 pandemic on young people is systemic, significant and excessive, especially to the young women, younger youth and youth in lower-income countries. For young people and particularly disadvantaged ones, the COVID-19 crisis raises significant risks in the areas of education, job opportunities, mental wellbeing, rights and social activism. 

The importance of active participation and integration of the ASEAN youth has been an ASEAN priority since the Declaration of Principles to Strengthen ASEAN Collaboration on Youth presented in Bangkok on 24 June 1983. Youth play a vital role in community building and represent the values envisaged by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN. In particular, ASEAN youth leadership is at the forefront of efforts to combat the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic as young people have a pivotal role to play in limiting the epidemic and alleviating its effects on public health, community and the economy as a whole. They have been responding to the pandemic in a multitude of ways – by serving as health workers and community volunteers, leading public health promotion initiatives, as well as combating the pandemic through artistic, scientific, entrepreneurial, and technological innovations although they are specifically vulnerable to the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

ASEAN youth will have to look beyond themselves and work together across borders to build a stronger and more cohesive community of nations in response to the global pandemic.

A “Social Journalist” is a member of the general public who is interested making a positive contribution to his/her community by collecting and disseminating and/or publishing news and information based upon his/her observations, research, or through other means. Through this initiative, we invite active young social journalists to produce and publish an essay content related to the above theme and its impact on youth. The young social journalists will provide compelling media products to express their critical thinking and allow them to raise their voices on COVID-19 issues affecting their local communities that also have regional implications.

Based on the essay submissions, we will competitively select up to 20 youth from 10 ASEAN Member States to participate in a virtual workshop to develop and implement a social awareness activity in their respective countries.

This contest is endorsed by the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Youth (SOMY) and supported by the ASEAN Foundation, ASEAN Secretariat, Ireland Embassy, and the ASEAN-USAID PROSPECT, a joint project of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. State Department.


Apply before 21 February 2021

Note: The submission deadline has been extended until 21 February 2021 for ASEAN youth from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore.



Who can apply?

  1. Any existing or aspiring social journalist that holds an ASEAN Member States passport (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam) and resides in the country of citizenship. Note: professional journalists who are full-time employees of established media outlets are not eligible to participate).
  2. The interested ASEAN youths are required to form a team of two from the same nationalities. The applicants must be between 18 and 30 years of age on 26 April 2021.
  3. Selected finalists must be able to communicate fluently in both spoken and written English.
  4. Selected finalists must have active Facebook and Gmail accounts for ease of communication with the trainer and other participants.

How to apply?

  1. Write a TEAM’s essay (maximum 500 words) and its summary inclusive of the campaign ideas (maximum 300 words) on the selected theme described above, explaining the theme, why it is important for youth in ASEAN, how it is relevant in your own life. The summary must answer the following enquiries:
    1. What is the problem you are trying to solve with your campaign?
    2. What evidence do you have that there is a problem?
    3. What is your target audience?
    4. What qualifies you to be listened to by the target audience?
    5. How will your campaign contribute to solving the problem?
    6. What will be the expected tangible results of the campaign?
  2. In the application form, list any supporting references to existing publications or sources that support the information in the essay. Such references can be in any format, such as text, photos, infographics and audio/video.
  3. Complete the application form at this link and upload all attachments as requested.

Deadline for applications:

21 February 2021 at 23:59 pm Jakarta/Bangkok time

Application process and evaluation criteria

A selected panel of judges will evaluate your essay submission. The selection criteria are outlined below:

  1. Clarity of ideas: The essay clearly demonstrates an understanding of the theme and why it is important to youth in ASEAN Community.
  2. Originality and creativity: The content is unique and written in a creative and compelling way with a thoughtful approach from the youth perspective.
  3. Potential reader impact: The essay conveys personal or aspirational thoughts that are inspiring to viewers.

Following the evaluation process, ten teams consist of 20 finalists (two from each ASEAN Member State) will be selected to participate in a virtual social journalism workshop in April 2021.

What to expect in the workshop?

  1. During the workshop, each country team will develop one agreed upon activity proposal to raise the awareness and address the above-mentioned theme related to ASEAN and in their home country and pitch this proposal to the trainer and judges.
  2. The trainer and judges will evaluate the proposal pitches and provide feedback to the finalists.

What happens after the workshop?

Following the workshop, each team will receive a stipend and be required to implement their proposed activity to attract public engagement. Each Team will be required to submit content posts (e.g.: news articles, photos, videos, etc.) in English to be evaluated and published on the ASEAN Social Journalism Facebook Group. Activity and content will then be evaluated based on several indicators such as the amount of content published, the diversity of the content format, the frequency of the publication of the content, and audience engagement. Following the evaluation, the top three teams will be announced to receive cash prizes to support the sustainability of the activity.

Copyright By submitting an entry to the contest, participants agree to grant ASEAN Foundation, ASEAN Secretariat, Ireland Embassy, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Mission to ASEAN the right to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the entry in any media at any time.


22 December 2020: The 2nd ASEAN Youth Social Journalism Contest 2021 is launched

21 February 2021 at 23:59 pm (GMT+7): Applications are submitted to bit.ly/AYSJ2021

21 February – 15 March 2021: Technical Evaluation Panel reviews submissions and selects the finalists per country.

16 – 25 March 2021: Shortlisted social journalists from Member States are notified, interviewed, and requested to verify their eligibility.

26 March – 9 April 2021: The shortlisted finalists per country shared with SOMY for selection of one top team per country.

12 – 16 April 2021: Top 20 selected social journalists announced.

End of April 2021: The 20 social finalists participate in a virtual social journalism workshop to develop and pitch their Social Journalism campaign proposals.

May - June 2021: 20 finalists execute their social journalism campaign proposal in English.

July 2021: Technical Evaluation Panel reviews final content posts to determine the top three teams.

August 2021: Top three team winners announced and prizes awarded


Contact Information

If you have questions regarding the 2nd ASEAN Youth Social Journalism Contest 2021, please contact [email protected].


Apply before 21 February 2021

Note: The submission deadline has been extended until 21 February 2021 for ASEAN youth from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore.




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