Maureen owns Afrocentric Afrique, a boutique established eight years ago in Nigeria. She first participated in YTF’s Women Entrepreneurs and Mobile Value Added Services program, which is designed to provide women entrepreneurs with the tools to sustain and expand their businesses. YTF trains women entrepreneurs, like Maureen, in financial skills, business capabilities and business strategies, and provides mentoring and networking opportunities.
Maureen left a secure and stable job to start this business because she wanted to do what she loved – art. She also knew that entrepreneurship offered a lot more opportunities for women like herself.
Since participating in YTF’s program, Maureen has the knowledge and tools that she needs to market her products on global marketplaces. YTF has even paired her with someone to mentor, a young technical apprentice named Chiamaka. Chiamaka uses 3D printing software to design and model products that Maureen wants to sell to her customers. These items are 3D printed, allowing for customization and timely product fulfillment.
Entrepreneurs like Maureen know that online marketplaces will revolutionize their businesses, operations, product development, and have the potential to spark exponential growth leading to job creation.
No longer must women leave home and go to brick-and-mortar shops to conduct business. No longer are Maureen’s customers just in her village—the world is now her customer base.
You can hear more about Maureen’s business and how she is leverages the possibilities that 3D printing and online marketplaces afford here.
Help someone like Maureen get a brighter future:
Emmanuel is enrolled in YTF’s 3D Africa program. He is in a university and is studying mechanical engineering. He has a passion for using engineering and technology to meet the needs of people in his community.
Emmanuel first learned about YTF through a workshop held on campus. He was fascinated to learn of YTF’s work with 3D printing in Nigeria, in particular how YTF helps use 3D printing to design marketable engineering products.
Using AutoCAD software, Emmanuel is able to model many different objects and then print them out using a MakerBot 2 replicator at one of YTF’s engineering and prototype hubs.
Emmanuel’s greatest accomplishment is the drone he has designed at YTF to be used for surveillance, videography and crop monitoring. He printed the drone’s case using 3D printing. “YTF has helped me achieve some of my greatest dreams making them a reality,” he said.
Watch Emmanuel share the process of building and 3D printing his drone, which he has named Iroh.
Help someone like Emmanuel get a brighter future:
Anjali, 10, would like to be a pilot to inspire the conviction that ladies are as great as gentlemen. She would also like to come up with educational cartoons for children. Her aspirations are inspired by her appreciation for her Scratch coding class in YTF Academy. “It has been fun and easy – now that I spend some time on the computer at home,” she says.
The first thing she does when she gets home is finish her homework, then help with the chores and help baby-sit her nine-month-old sister.
How does she use the 30 minutes her mother allows her on the computer? “I like researching,” she says. “I check out all questions I have on social studies, history, and geography – like how the earth was formed. I also like to play games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Legends.”
Anjali is looking forward to code educational cartoons for children. “I would like to show them how not to use drugs and alcohol, how not to run away from school, or focus on girls not getting into trouble with boys,” she said.
Help someone like Anjali get a brighter future:
At 16 years old, Nuria reacts to the world around her with childlike, candid emotions, but has an adult’s wise perspective to understand that education can change a community with poor resources. She joined YTF in December of 2015 at her home in Nairobi, Kenya, where she is originally from one of the slums of Mukuru kwa Njenge.
With the optimism that comes with the possibilities of technology, Nuria hopes that a computer science degree will help her to give back to her community. Before entering her current courses in form two (8th grade equivalent), she spent a year after primary school fearing that her family wouldn’t be able to afford for her to continue school. Education is a gateway to success, and for Nuria, a way out of poverty. Without the opportunity to continue her education, the future doesn’t hold many alternatives to making a livelihood. Nuria explains, “high school was once [only] a dream, but eventually the door opened… My mother got some funds and now here I am!”
Before participating in YTF, she was stuck on the idea that technology and computers were meant exclusively for men. Thankfully, Nuria now understands that gender should not stand in the way of her passions.
Help someone like Nuria get a brighter future:
This Busy Student and YTF Master Trainer Is an Inspiration On World Teachers’ Day
Most days, Mary Munyoki is an ambitious student in Kenya, on the path to become an electrical engineer. Mary is also a Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) Master Trainer, passing on her love for engineering and passion for youth to secondary school age students that participate in YTF Academy in Kenya.
A final year student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture And Technology, Mary’s education and work experience have afforded her critical training and even real-world experience. A project to design a new water level sensor even exposed her to knowledge of 3D printing, since she had to come up with the casing for the sensor’s gadget. This comes in handy for her work with YTF.
Mary teaches program participants basic technology skills, hardware programming using Arduino and Raspberry Pi and programming languages, like C. She is a mentor to many of the students, especially girls, helping them relate what they learn in school to real world problems how technology can be part of the solution. Mary recalls one of her students, Irene. “She always comes with an open mind, is very active in class and always willing to learn. She and many others, inspire me”.
With only 6% of women engineers in Kenya, Mary knows there is a lot still to be done. “We are proud to partner with and introduce our students to women in technology in companies like Safaricom and MasterCard. The more we can expose girls to women in technology the better, she said. “They need to see women in these roles so they understand their goals to pursue science or technology careers are attainable”.
Engineering has always been a passion for Mary. She always had an admiration for airplanes and was interested in studying aeronautical engineering. During high school, she shadowed one of the engineers who worked for Wilson Airport. Though he was pleased with her interest and choice of career, he advised that since the aviation field was not fully developed in Kenya, pursuing Electrical and Electronics Engineering may be a better option.
Mary is the third born of four children, many of whom pursued science related careers. Her older sister is a nurse, her older brother is studying Medicine and her younger brother is still in high school. Her father worked for the Government of Kenya where he retired as the Deputy Director of Agriculture and her mother is a veterinary doctor. Mary attributes the influence of her parents, siblings and mentors as being instrumental in shaping her choice to study engineering.
In celebration of World Teachers Day, YTF is grateful for Mary’s contributions to our work in Kenya. We applaud her commitment and the inspiration she is to many of the girls and students she works with at YTF.
by Najah Woodby
I recently graduated from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and had time to reflect on standout activities from my time as a student. My experience in Kenya with the Youth for Technology Foundation definitely tops the list!
Tour of Technology
As part of a Global Initiatives in Management class focused on social impact, over 30 of my fellow students and I spent two weeks in Arusha, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. During our visit, we met with socially-minded start-up organizations in the two cities. YTF was among the six companies that the technology-focused group met with. The group also met with Safaricom, Medic Mobile, BRCK, Eneza, and Acumen while in Nairobi.
Prior to meeting with YTF, our group had learned about and witnessed the use of agrotechnologies such as hand corn shellers, fertilizer spreaders, and other technologies used to make farming more efficient. It was not until our meeting with YTF, hosted and arranged by YTF’s Country Manager Joe Kamau, that we fully understood the movement towards high tech education in East Africa.
Showcasing YTF’s One-of-a-Kind Work
We were inspired by the stories of the instructors who all studied computer science at the university and spent time teaching the youth about coding and robotics. What was most inspiring was how the instructors empower their students to not only think about the problems they are faced with in their everyday life, but also think about how they can solve their problems through the use of technology.
While we were impressed by the start-ups that we met with at the Nairobi garage and iLab, the work that YTF accomplished was truly unique.
It was organizations like YTF that inspired me to return to Nairobi after graduation to work with a small fashion start-up prior to starting my full time job.
July 11, 2016
We know you are dedicated to giving children, youth and women, of all backgrounds, the skills they need to unlock their potential. In light of the events that occurred last week in the United States, we want to take a moment to reflect on the affected families and communities and to thank you for your continued investment in our collective future.
Our education model is one of cooperation, appreciation and learning to constantly improve. These are not only skills for a successful professional life, but characteristics that enable the next generation to value the experience and perspective that each person brings to their work, to their community and to the world at large. Together we are making tremendous impact to under-represented youth, particularly girls, and women with high quality education and entrepreneurship programming. Your continued support is helping to model for future generations, how to work with one another and value the experience each person brings.
As a community, we serve thousands of youth and women everyday and together they represent the beautiful diversity of the world we live in. Please know that you are appreciated for your continued support and the change you are helping to bring about.
President & CEO
In 2015, the Youth for Technology Foundation launched an Indiegogo campaign aimed at funding a budding 3D printing program to help close the STEM gender skills gap.
By the end of the campaign, generous donors helped meet and exceed YTF’s fundraising goal.
Nathan Janos was one of those donors.
“I donated to the project because I know the YTF team and all the great things they’ve done and I was looking to give back,” Nathan explained. “When Iooking to give back to communities I search for projects that focus on technology and teaching young people. I was especially drawn to YTF’s 3D Africa initiative because it fulfills these requirements. I’ve been involved at some level with YTF (either as a donor or volunteer) for many years now.”
One option as a gift for donors like Nathan was to receive a 3D printed design from the students in the program, with a suggestion to deliver this unique, custom item as a gift. And Nathan knew just the person.
“I happened to receive an email about the Youth for Tech Indiegogo project around the time I was considering proposing to my wife,” he explained. “When I was asked what kind of 3D project I’d like, I decided on a pendant and wanted to make it customized for my wife, Alex. I left it up to the YTF girls to design and print up the pendant using their own creative ideas.”
Today, Nathan and his wife are grateful for the 3D printed pendant and what it represents.
The students who made the pendant are also grateful for Nathan’s support.
The team that designed the pendant for Nathan was from the Federal Government Girls’ College (FGGC) in Nigeria. During the 3D Africa pilot in Imo state, YTF divided the training into several stages. The first stage was computer appreciation, the second was Human Centered Designing (HCD) and then CAD modeling and 3D printing.
YTF’s Nigeria Country Manager Uchechukwu Ajuonuma explained the process from the students’ angle:
“During the HCD stage, we taught the girls how to identify people’s problems and how to offer solutions to them. This was exactly what happened between them and Nathan. The team of ten girl, under the leadership of Esther Nkwocha, met with Nathan via mail on several occasions to understand what his problem was. The problem identification stage entails lots of questioning and brainstorming processes.
After understanding exactly what Nathan wanted, they went ahead to start designing a solution to his need. The team told me that they were modeling a pendant. They asked me series of question for my assistance at some points, and then the Africa map-looking pendant was modeled.”
The team was represented by few girls (the lead and two others) to print the pendent. After the pendant was printed, the remaining team joined to finish and paint the pendant to give it an artistic look.
Nathan gives the students kudos for a job well done, made possible with YTF’s 3D Africa program and ultimately, through donors like him.
“It was a pleasant experience,” Nathan described. “I had a couple exchanges back and forth with the students before receiving our pendant in the mail along with a very nice hand written letter. The pendant itself was a surprise present for my wife and I had no idea what it would be like before it arrived. When we opened it we were surprised with a very unique and creative pendant that was personalized with Alex’s name and in the shape of Africa.”
This simple exchange has inspired not only the students to continue creating and learning, but has made Nathan excited for future opportunities as well.
“I’m looking forward to 3D printing revolutionizing our households!” Nathan said. “I expect to have a printer in our house some day that will solve fabrication needs for many small parts in the house.”
As YTF’s 3D Africa work expands, including a sister program in the United States, we can’t wait to see what other stories we uncover!