HackforGood 2017: Our Hackathon in Nigeria

Five teams had three days to create technology innovations to solve specific problems in their communities at our recent HackforGood hackathon in Anambra State, Nigeria. The cohort came with diverse experiences and skill sets, as captured in this summary of applicants.

Dig in to the final prototype ideas below!

Team Hack-botics Designed and Constructed a Robotic Arm Manipulator (Hackathon Winners!)

3d Africa Hackathon winning team

Summary: The group designed and developed a compact and cost effective robotic arm manipulator that could be modified to fit into different industrial situations.

How it works: The team used servomotors as actuators (Arduino based robotic arm with 6 degrees of freedom). A specific application idea of this product is in bakeries for lifting bread and placing it in the oven. Materials used include wood and Polylactic acids (PLA), with about 40 percent of the parts created through 3D printing. Due to time constraints, maximum payload of the arm was 100g. The design could be modified to lift heavier loads. The device could also be upgraded to use remote controls.

Team Create Good Developed a Road Traffic Accident Alert (Winners of Open Mic  Africa!)

Hackathon team open mic africa winners project accident detection

Summary: The group developed a device that detects and informs relevant authorities of critical conditions affecting vehicles and victims on local roads for a quicker emergency response.

How it works: When an accident occurs, the impact generated is measured by impact sensors attached to the device. The impact sensors generate signals which are channeled to a GPS module that generates GPS coordinates at the site of the accident. The GPS signal or coordinates dispatches the distress alarm in 10 seconds to the authorities, in this case the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) central control at Abuja. The central control would transmit the emergency response to the local FRSC station nearest to the scene of the accident for a quick emergency response. False signals can be interrupted by a pushbutton on a dash board to prevent the dispatch of a distress signal.

TeamTechkers Created A Hybrid Solar Wind Power Generation

Hackathon team techkers group photo

Summary: The group designed a hybrid solar wind power generation system to avoid the hazards associated with the use of fossil fuel such as green house effect and global warming.

How it works: The system consists of solar powered panels and a wind turbine. The two systems are interlinked with a charge controller that controls or regulates power generation. The solar system works during the day and wind system works during the night. Both systems are controlled by a timing circuit that helps to effect switching through the aid of transistors and relays for DC and contactors for AC. These charge controllers are designed using various electronic devices and are interlinked with the help of a TM electronic module.

Team Humanity Created Green Lens Crop Disease Detector

hackathon Team humanity crop disease detector

Summary: The group developed a device that helps farmers diagnose plant diseases.

How it works: According to cropsite, 40 percent of farm yield are lost before harvest yearly to pests. Nigeria recently experienced a devastating tomato disease caused by the pest Tuta absoluta which destroyed over 80 percent of tomato farms in the country within two months. This new device comprises an image acquisition module, microprocessor and a display. Through the image acquisition module, the farmer could acquire the image of the plant which is to be diagnosed. The image is then automatically processed using computer vision algorithm and Artificial Neural Network (ANN) running on the processor. The result of the test is displayed on the screen or an audio message is played in the farmer’s local language. The results may also be sent to organizations like International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for awareness in order to prepare for a possible epidemic outbreak.

Team Vision 3D Created Eco Farm Monitor

hackathon team vision 3d

The group developed a sensing device that can monitor real-time temperature and humidity in a poultry house. This addresses issues like unfavorable weather and climatic conditions that could lead to high mortality and low egg production rates. The components include an Arduino board, DHT sensor, LCD, and battery.

project graphic

We’re grateful for our judges and student ambassadors for making the event a success, and Ventures Africa, the Guardian and Africa.com for their coverage.

A special thanks to our partners and sponsors: HP, Merck, Autodesk, Makerbot, and Women in 3D Printing, and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University for hosting.

Find out more about 3D Africa and other YTF programs.

Strength, Stamina and Shoes: One Entrepreneur’s Story

In a showroom at a shopping mall in Lagos, Nigeria, 24-year-old Aishat runs her shoe business, Aeesha Collections. It first opened in the mall and online at the beginning of this year, but Aishat has been building her career since 2012 when she graduated from university. This past March, Aishat joined our celebration for International Women’s Day when she hosted employees from our partner Mastercard at her store. 

shoemaker nigeria mastercard employee

A Mastercard employee cuts out the leather as Aishat applies gum to the sole of the shoe.

As the CEO of Aeesha Collections, Aishat is part of an entrepreneurs’ network focused on continuing their education and uplifting each other to pursue their passion. Entrepreneurship is attractive to women on so many levels, as Aishat explained:

“Every woman wants to be on her own. No woman wants to be a liability and more so, it’s inspiring when you see a young woman like me doing well for herself in her business, you will feel like doing your own thing. Also, a salary job and getting a good pay is tasking in this country. You can’t have full possession of your time and be making good money while doing a salary job. Everyone, including women, wants their time to themselves.”

female entrepreneur speaking

Aishat speaks at a YTF training session for women entrepreneurs.

 

Taking a Step in the Right Direction

Aishat chose her profession as a shoemaker with determination. She explains the process she went through in exploring her options and what path her passions led her to in the end.

“Growing up, I wanted to become a banker, but I was no longer pleased with the profession,” said Aishat. “I had always wanted to learn a skill and make-up artistry was what I considered, but my cousin advised me to do something different. I had always loved shoes so I thought to myself what could be more satisfying than making them. So I made my decision to learn shoemaking and that was the start of my career.”

Aishat explains that she had only thought of shoemaking as hobby in her undergraduate career. The idea to start her business was originally “to while away time with learning a vocational skill,” but it turned into her full-time job.

shoemaker entrepreneur with mastercard employees

Mastercard employees assisting Aisha in applying gum to shoe soles at her workshop.


Technology Makes the Impossible, Possible

As many seasoned entrepreneurs can attest, not everything is sunshine and roses for a business owner. Aishat knows she will likely continue to face problems with the unequal manner society treats females in business, in addition to the many issues any business owner faces.

“Being in a male dominated industry has been really challenging, people look down on you thinking you can’t offer as much as a male would,” said Aishat. “Also, getting an investor, especially a male, never comes easy because they ask for some favor in return.”

Another major challenge is getting materials needed to make the shoes. Machines that produce quality leather soles aren’t available in Nigeria, so importing those materials adds to production costs. It’s in difficult situations like this where YTF’s technology training really makes a difference. 

learning 3d printing

Aishat learning the basics of 3D printing up close and personal.

 

About a year ago, Aishat learned about a possible solution to the lack of readily available materials for her shoemaking business when YTF and Mastercard paired up to teach women entrepreneurs about 3D printers. The entrepreneurial training sessions featured 3D printing technology and a heavy dose of inspiration, sharing the many possibilities afforded through the technology.

Aishat was thrilled. “This 3D printer will allow me to print shoe soles and customize my shoes,” she shared. “It is a phenomenal experience that I am grateful to have been a part of. I hope to get the machine to ease the stress of importation on my business.”

Aishat nigerian female entrepreneur

Aishat holding up the #BeingBold sign for International Women’s Day in front of her store at the Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall.

Aishat holding up the #BeingBold sign for International Women’s Day in front of her store at the Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall.

We love when women empower women. Aishat takes this call to heart, sharing a message to empower each women entrepreneur she encounters.

“I stand to celebrate every woman out there who is a trailblazer and is making waves in whatever you do. I am Aishat, and I am standing bold for change, ready to make a difference and standing in for the unheard voices of hard-working women in business.”

The Team Behind YTF: One Staffer Brings Design Thinking to Kenya

By Mary Munyoki, Master Trainer, YTF Academy

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I’ve been with YTF for about two years as a Master Trainer in Kenya, mentoring girls and helping students learn basic computer programming and hardware technology. Earlier this month, I jumped at the chance to represent the Kenya YTF office at an eSkills4Girls meetup in Kigali, Rwanda, joined by an inspiring group of digital training peers from 30 countries across the continent.

Even for someone already working in the technology field, the meetup was an eye opener that brought valuable insights to my work. It was a great chance to foster networking with representatives like myself from organizations in different countries, all of us working on the promotion of digital skills for girls.

The event opened with a general session on the gender gap and technology, something YTF is very familiar with and constantly driving to address. We discussed barriers to equal opportunities in technology, such as access to devices and higher education, cultural stereotypes, self confidence in women, and the working environment. The conversation solidified my understanding that bridging the gender gap in technology is key to better jobs for women, quality education, and empowered political participation among others.

As the meet-up transitioned to smaller working groups, I had the privilege of being the resource person for a design thinking workshop in partnership with Christian Vanizette, co-founder of Makesense.org.

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The session was a practical learning experience, mixed with inspiring examples from my work with YTF. Integrating design thinking at YTF Academy in Kenya has always been my tactic in the trainings and workshops, and I love the chance to build on my work and get new ideas every time I train the girls. I shared my experiences as a Master Trainer with the eSkills4Girls group, describing projects accomplished through design thinking and how I use design thinking in my work.

It was encouraging to see how impressed the session attendees were with how I utilized design thinking to create projects that are helpful to society. I could tell my fellow attendees were motivated by our work at YTF, and they reported being ready to employ design thinking techniques back at their organizations.

Design thinking has always been my passion, so this event was a special treat for me. This process to strategically solve problems is powerful and helps bring ideas into realization, making sure the final product is appropriate and effective. I am proud to be a trainer at YTF and to share our work to help other organizations implement similar strategies. I can already see the ripple affect of what we do at YTF Academy Kenya – we’re motivating the girls, instilling in them a positive attitude and the right mindset to create satisfactory solutions to the problems of world.

Just as Nelson Mandela described education as “the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world,” I believe technology that encompasses design thinking can also make an incredible difference. Many girls or women that I encounter haven’t built the self-confidence to act on their ideas. And when they do act, we often see a process of attempts and failures that ultimately stop someone from being successful. Design thinking layers on a process that guides a person from an idea to a successful result, serving as a proven method to help bring more women into the fold of technology innovations.

I left the eSkills4Girls meet-up with new motivation. I am looking forward to having a technology hub equipped with 3D printers and open source technology hardware, not only in Nairobi but all over Kenya and eventually across the world. New ideas like a mobile wireless computer lab struck my mind while at the event, and I can’t wait to use my design thinking experience to create technology education solutions for the future.

YTF’s Njideka Harry Speaks at the World Economic Forum on Africa This Week

Harry Stands as Voice for Youth, Promoting Innovations to Achieve Equal Opportunities and Financial Inclusion

WEF_Image

This week, Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) President and CEO Njideka Harry represents the organization at the World Economic Forum on Africa, leading conversations on creating a skilled workforce, reducing inequalities, and facilitating financial inclusion in a digital world.

In Durban, South Africa, where the forum is being held, some of the top minds in business, government and civil society will focus on addressing challenges posed by growing youth unemployment and the impact of headwinds for commodity-dependent countries, among others. The conversations will be in a context of understanding how the region can strengthen economic resilience and create jobs – all as described by the World Economic Forum.

“We know it takes innovation from every angle,” said Harry. “We’re here because we want to not only learn from other organizations, but share what we’ve learned in our own work with stakeholders in the public and private sector.”

Starting May 3, Harry will serve as a subject matter expert for innovative approaches to decent work and responsible production, sharing YTF’s approach for supporting youth. With a focus on industry, innovation, and infrastructure, Harry will give insight to YTF’s program delivery and technology usage, urging the audience to consider ways to prepare youth with skills for jobs that don’t yet exist.

Later in the week, Harry will lead a discussion on reducing inequalities, taking a fresh look at policies that may help address underlying structures that create and reinforce unequal opportunities. She will also deliver comments to business leaders on financial inclusion, in particular discussing how digital technologies can drive opportunities. Armed with the knowledge that one-third of the one billion Africans who use mobile phones engage in commerce and make transactions with their devices, Harry will emphasize that digital technology has the potential to dramatically transform Africa.

Boldly Boosting Entrepreneurs on International Women’s Day

women entrepreneur workshop Nigeria mastercard presenter

MasterCard’s Tayo Adesina speaking to the women entrepreneurs about customer service segmentation.

When we go bold, we go big. While you saw us tweeting away on International Women’s Day, what you didn’t see was an eager group of women entrepreneurs gathered in Lagos, Nigeria, ready to learn. Our team partnered with generous employees from technology-related companies to mark International Women’s Day as a truly actionable occasion.

While all women are celebrated every year on March 8, it is in YTF’s DNA to celebrate women entrepreneurs in particular – mothers of the thousands of youth we serve. This workshop encouraged our women entrepreneurs in Nigeria to be resilient in spite of the economic change and recession. Sticking with the global theme of International Women’s Day, we aimed to #BeBoldForChange, taking actions towards gender parity.

Formula for Fast-Track Entrepreneur Building

The first day of the workshop brought together women entrepreneurs alongside a group of Mastercard and HP employees, in addition to representatives from the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN), a network of women entrepreneurs invited by the Center for International and Private Enterprise (CIPE).

This four-hour training and knowledge sharing session included building an action wall. Participants brainstormed what they would do to achieve gender equality if they were put in charge of their country. Ideas ranged from giving free vocational training to disadvantaged girls to opening doors for a female president.

The keynote address was delivered by Alexa Lion and Oladipo Ogunshire from the Mastercard team. They introduced Mastercard and shared their vision for “a world beyond cash,” explaining Mastercard uses technology to make payments safe, simple and smart.

Mastercard employee hugging woman enterpreneur

Mastercard’s Alexa Lion giving one of the women entrepreneurs, Charity Esezobor, a hug at the beginning of the workshop as part of an icebreaker.

Sessions throughout the day included:

  • Some practical dos and don’ts in a recession, presented by YTF staff.
  • The impact of e-payment for women entrepreneurs, presented by Uwa Uzebu and Kamil Olufowobi of Mastercard. They educated the women entrepreneurs on what e-payment can do for them as a businesswoman, saying that it can save lots of time and inconvenience.
  • A hands-on training on how to write a business plan, presented by Casmir Anyaegbu with YTF. The women were markedly happy to receive such a practical guide.
  • A focus on empowering women in small and medium businesses, presented by Joyce Onumere and Ruth Owolabi from HP. They introduced HP LIFE – an online business and IT training platform – and encouraged the women to take advantage of the platform to gain education on relevant topics and boost their businesses.

 

Finally, the entrepreneurs were instructed in customer service segmentation to help relate to each customer appropriately and offered ideas on creating customer loyalty by offering discounts and deals.

HP employee instructing women entrepreneurs

Joyce Onwumere of HP speaking to the women entrepreneurs

 

Entrepreneurs in Action: Visiting Aeesha Collections

The next afternoon, the YTF team accompanied the Mastercard crew for a tour of one entrepreneur’s business – Aeesha Collections. Owner Aishat manufactures shoes and has participated in YTF’s Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs training in Lagos. She designs the shoes, puts them together using leather and rubber, and has a couple small machines to complete the product. Very few women in Nigeria do this type of work.

Woman entrepreneur shoemaker in Lagos, Nigeria

Aishat (left) giving a tour

The group met her seven employees – all male – at her workshop and spoke with Aishat about her business. After exploring her workshop, Aishat took the group to her showroom to show off some of her designs.

YTF introduced 3D printing to Aishat and has been working with her to explore the possibilities of 3D printing shoe soles and other materials of her shoes. The Mastercard team learned about this process from Aishat and considered ways in which working with YTF, they can advance this vision for Aishat and many other women entrepreneurs looking at ways to innovate within their product lines. 

Boldly Navigating the New Frontier

We believe Africa is the newest frontier for creating sustainable livelihoods through micro, small and medium enterprise development – especially for women at risk of vulnerable employment. That’s why our #BeBoldforChange idea for International Women’s Day was this event.

The opportunity to get Mastercard employees to donate their time and talent, diving in by touring a business of a woman entrepreneur we support and listening to her stories, challenges, and successes firsthand was the pivotal outcome of this two-day event. Forging connections between entrepreneurs and paths to success is a role we’re excited to play – whether that’s a piece of critical knowledge or a company willing to support small and medium business.

women entrepreneur hands

What I Learned about Women Empowerment from Working with YTF

Post by Narges Khoramshahi, Next Generation Leaders program

Since the day I walked through the doors of YTF’s Louisville headquarters in October 2016, I’ve been floored by how YTF works. Prior to joining the team, I had no idea how far-reaching and positive the impact of one organization could be.

I have the unique opportunity to embed with YTF for a year through the Next Generation Leaders program, digging deep to develop leadership skills that I can take back to my country. So far, I have been included in several talks with YTF country managers and have been incredibly inspired by how YTF leverages technology, often in places that an outsider might consider technology to be a luxury.

This exposure to emerging technologies has prompted me to integrate aspects of technology into my action plan for work back home, opening doors to become more effective.

Roots at Home and Branches Across the Ocean

I have learned that being an influential leader requires a clear understanding of the communities and people you want to work with and empower. A home base for YTF in Louisville, Kentucky, may seem strange at first, but once you get to know Njideka’s vision, experience and dedication – paired with a keen eye for the right partners and a capable team – it’s clear that no individual across the world is out of reach for YTF’s life-altering impacts.

At the same time, I’m learning that you can’t be indifferent about the community that surrounds you. Defining new projects in order to be a change agent and leader where you live is just as critical as reaching new continents. For instance, I am becoming familiar with various YTF programs such as 3D Printing Academy for Girls. While YTF’s 3D printing work started in countries like Nigeria and Kenya, this 3D printing program was recently brought home to Louisville. I have learned to appreciate the accessibility of the Louisville community and their welcoming attitude. I see a great potential for connection and collaboration.

The concept of community for YTF’s work extends beyond directly serving the people of Louisville. YTF also deeply values and benefits from partnerships and learning from their fellow changemaker organizations. YTF wants to be an active part of the nonprofit community in Louisville and as such is a member of Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNPE), based right here in Louisville. We participated in the CNPE annual conference last fall and saw the potential of the Louisville community – an inspiring reminder of the role YTF can play in this space. We especially loved the supportive atmosphere, agreeing with fellow attendees that an effort to be fair and patient with each other can pay dividends in all our work.

Want to Make a Big Impact? Make the Details Matter.

At YTF, every single appointment, phone call and visit matters. And each interaction and communication requires preparation and focus.

We evaluate ourselves before and after our meetings and calls. We try to determine what success looks like in any session. We prepare, have a plan and follow up to establish accountability to implement tasks and keep driving forward. We make it a goal to learn one thing from every meeting. It’s clear these small, organizational culture things matter and make a difference.

This may seem obvious to some, but it speaks volumes to YTF’s operating principles. How you approach your work and how you honor people’s values makes for stronger relationships and lasting, meaningful changes in the world.

Telling Our Story, Our Way

When I first met Njideka and heard the story of how she started and shaped YTF, I knew instantly I could learn a lot from her journey as a leader. As social entrepreneurs, Njideka and I co-wrote a piece in celebration of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day last fall. Talking about our passion working with Iranian and Nigerian women is certainly close to our hearts. It’s been incredible to discover the enormous similarities between our communities when it comes to women. Even more, I’m finding through YTF the potential and the desire to break through all my limitations and to stand tall on their behalf.

I’ve been reminded time and again that empowering one woman is like empowering all women. I cherish the work that YTF does to provide opportunities for girls and women and I am honored to be part of it.

“SCRATCH”-ing the Code World

Brenda Wangwe-Kilonzo writes for YTF Kenya and is based in Nairobi. She wrote this based on her experience at Africa Code Week at Nairobi’s Winka Academy.

The energy is infectious. I am not very sure there are many better ways of unwinding than sitting in the midst of excited 10 year olds. It’s all hands raised, fingers snapping and near-desperate calls on the tutor – everyone seems to have that special answer he is looking for.

 “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”

G.K. Chesterton

I’m at Youth for Technology Foundation’s (YTF) Africa Code Week at Nairobi’s Winka Academy; teaching ages 9-11 to code using a software package called Scratch.

“This is an entry point to the more advanced coding,” said Wanyumu Ibuka, YTF’s program coordinator. “It comes with pre-set icons which can help children program their own interactive stories, animations, and games.”

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively – essential skills for life in the 21st century.

“With no signs that population growth will slow in the decades to come, it is imperative that Africa leverage the talent and energy of its youth to create dramatically higher levels of prosperity and equality and avoid the latent risks of unemployment and social instability,” said Fred Swaniker, founder and CEO of African Leadership Academy. A view that YTF concurs with.

Daniel code ytf scratch

This is even an issue U.S. President Obama has weighed on. In 2015 at the African Union Headquarters in Ethiopia, Obama explained: “Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world.  Africa’s middle class is projected to grow to more than one billion consumers. With hundreds of millions of mobile phones and surging access to the Internet, Africans are beginning to leapfrog old technologies into new prosperity,” US President Barack Obama has said.

So YTF is reaching out to empower Kenya’s youth population to help narrow social and economic disparities through one simple concept: access to information. The information we expose youth to creates economic opportunities and the ability to compete globally.

Back to the refreshing moments at Winka Academy’s Africa Code Week. Like many successful teachers, we want to hear out our students. “Who goes first?” I ask. Daniel shoots up his hand.

Daniel YTF youth code scratch

Daniel is keen on being part of Kenya’s technological future tapestry. The 10 year old second-last born of five siblings says when he is not outside playing soccer with his friends or doing his chores at home, he is usually on the on the computer. “I use my older sister’s computer to play action games, and to talk with my friends over Skype and Whatsapp – just finding out how they are or checking whether they have finished their homework.”

He loves machines and would like to be an engineer when he grows up. Daniel says he has enjoyed the Scratch week and hopes the coding he has just started with YTF would enable him achieve his passion – using the computer to make educative games for children. “I want them not to get HIV and to know have to make good use of the soil,” he asserts.

Eighteenth century writer Alfred Mercier said: “What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”YTF takes this to heart, aiming for plenty of fun at Africa Code Weeks to help launch the next Mark Zuckerberg or Michael Dell – right here in Kenya.

 

Two Girls, Two Countries, One Thread: Hope for the Future

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Nzambi is 13 and lives in Kenya. Precious, 17, lives in Nigeria. Both girls count YTF’s flagship program – YTF Academy – as their opportunity to not only hone in on their future aspirations, but build a path to reach them confidently.

YTF Academy is uniquely positioned to help youth eliminate a life lived in poverty – often aiming for things they didn’t know were possible. The program operates with a curriculum based on principles and flexes to meet the needs of differing populations and circumstances.

Attitude is first. YTF Academy students are taught to dream. They are guided to tackle issues with a can-do attitude and encouraged to participate actively in the learning process.

Within this empowering context, students are taught to be both innovative and effective. Things like creativity and critical thinking top the list of skills students should walk away with upon graduation.

Health Issue Turns Into Inspiration

Nzambi

Nzambi is recovering from an infection that started after an ordeal that left her with multiple fractures on her left leg. She can’t play much, but notes her favorite subjects are science and Kiswahili – which she loves to speak.

In the course of her treatment she had to be admitted at the Kenyatta National Hospital for eight months. It is here that she noted the inefficiencies that plague a well-meaning workforce. In particular, she recalls Kenya’s biggest referral hospital having its reception area crammed with patients needing emergency attention.

“I would like to use the computer to come up with systems that would see to it that patients are attended to quickly and appropriately.”

She explains that as much as she likes the computer, she does not get to spend much time on it at home. When she does get a minute, she listens to her favorite musicians. She was particularly pleased to spend extra time at a computer and learn to code “Scratch” during the coding week at with YTF.

Besides a technology solution to facilitate faster admissions and attention in hospitals, Nzambi wants to learn how to use technology to establish easier ways of recording and sharing music videos.

On becoming a producer with 3D printing

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Proud graduate of YTF Academy, Precious holds up her certificate.

Young people in Africa make up nearly 40 percent of today’s working-age population, yet 60 percent are unemployed. Looking to the future, the World Bank estimates that some 11 million youth will enter Africa’s labor market every year for the next decade. 

Precious is a secondary school graduate awaiting admission into university to study nursing. Since enrolling in YTF Academy, Precious has learned to use Autodesk Fusion360 to design and model 3D printed items. Some of her product designs are proudly displayed on Thingiverse. 

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Precious, far left, learning from 3D printing teacher Donatus, middle, about the steps necessary to design 3D printed products.

A mismatch exists between the African education system and the jobs in a knowledge-based economy. Too many young graduates are earning degrees only to find that they are not qualified for lucrative employment opportunities, largely due to the lack of basic, technical and transferable skills.

YTF Academy is changing that by providing youth with marketable skills so that they have choices; as enthusiastic employees or as job creators themselves. 

“Being a student of YTF Academy and learning about 3D printing technology has taught me that as a  young entrepreneur, I can meet my communities needs without depending on any producer or supplier,” Precious explained. “Having these skills will enable me to continue to be relevant in the global marketplace. Maybe one day I will be able to 3D print medical devices and other parts.”

Looking Back at the Year That Was

Dear Friend,

As 2016 comes to a close, I am truly amazed and humbled by the great work we are accomplishing together. We have spent the last 15 years working to empower youth and women living in the developing world and low-income communities by providing them with the technology to achieve life-changing results in education and entrepreneurship. 

  • With your support, YTF doubled our investment in monitoring and evaluation for impact. We know that a major threat for economic development and global stability, particularly in Africa, is the mismatch between skills demanded by the private sector and those that the workforce can supply. A 2014 study by PWC stated that 96 percent of CEOs in Africa, compared to a global average of 63 percent, are concerned about the lack of skills. YTF Academy is designed to bridge that gap. We are especially proud to share Deborah’s experience as an intern while enrolled in YTF Academy. In 2017, we plan to unveil our recommended solutions on the skills gap conundrum to address youth unemployment. You’ll want to stay tuned.   
  • With your support, YTF continued to develop programs in partnership with private sector companies that invest in the success and sustainability of women-owned small businesses. This work wouldn’t be complete without providing entrepreneurial education in the form of business skills, technology acumen and financial literacy alongside mentoring and networking. Afoma, one of our program participants, introduced e-payments into her business, “Hair Wizard and Spa.” She now employs over 30 people in her business and is a role model for other young women and aspiring entrepreneurs in her community. 
  • With your support, YTF test-launched 3D Printing Academy for Girls in Kentucky, with hopes of fully expanding the program in the U.S. market in 2017. In West Louisville, where YTF’s offices are located, the likelihood of youth participation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields is lower than other students enrolled in area public schools.
  • With your support, YTF made a Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York this September. Our commitment is around education and entrepreneurship, specifically using technology for at-risk girls in Nigeria. You can learn more about the exciting commitment in the press release here. (Plus see the photo below!)

Your support makes it possible for YTF to continue to transform lives, every day. Please consider making your year-end gift today. Every gift is one step closer to helping us make the most impact in countries where we work.    

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On behalf of everyone here at YTF and the youth and women who are at the center of our work, I wish you and your family a prosperous and peaceful new year.

To Impact,

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YTF Njideka Harry with girls who will benefit from CGI Commitment to Action

YTF’s President and CEO, Njideka Harry, pictured with girls from the Obi-Orodo community in Nigeria where YTF is implementing its Clinton Global Initiative commitment to action. Between 2017 and 2019, YTF is committing to providing education and technology skills to 6,000 girls at risk of human-trafficking across Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

Five Easy Ways to Help YTF This Month

With pride in our work and gratitude in our hearts, here are a handful of ideas of how you can to help us keep driving our mission forward. (Need a refresher on our work? Here’s what we’re all about.)

1. Shop with AmazonSmile 

We know you’re online buying last-minute gifts. No? How about splurging online with your holiday bonus? We feel ya. Just know that Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible  purchases to Youth For Technology Foundation whenever you shop on AmazonSmile, so click the link and continue shopping. Easy.

2. Share your tech equipment

Did you know YTF accepts donations of working technology equipment? We’re looking for desktop computers (monitors and CPUs), laptops, printers, photocopiers, overhead projectors, digital cameras and video recorders. In particular, we are always in need of Pentium IV desktops and higher, as well as laptops.

We’re not saying to poke around your great aunt’s basement during your holiday celebrations, but if you happen to find an unused piece of equipment in good working order, we certainly won’t say no.

3. Become a brand ambassador at your company (& match donations!)

We know many companies run workplace giving campaigns encouraging their employees to donate to a nonprofit of choice. This is one way to not only make a financial contribution to YTF, but also to be an ambassador for YTF in the company.

4. Show off your fundraising skills

Did you accidently make a couple dozen extra cookies this holiday season? Have one too many holiday parties on your calendar? Follow the lead of these 2 young sisters in the U.K., who wrote to YTF about a bake sale they were hosting to benefit YTF. So sweet!

5. Remember YTF in your year-end giving.

Did you take on the challenge in #4? Awesome. Is “helping make a positive change in the world” on your New Year’s resolution list? Even better. Donating to YTF is super easy and super satisfying, especially after reading about the people in our community who get a boost up in life, with your help.