As the COVID-19 continues to escalate, YTF is taking immediate actions to respond urgently, effectively, and compassionately. Our highest priority is to keep the people we work for – and with – safe.
Pandemics exacerbate inequalities. Digital inequities are in full play that everyone doesn’t have access to good quality internet or any internet at all is impacting their lives, as many children are deprived of one of their human rights: education.
1.54 billion children and youth are out of school or university including 743 million girls. COVID-19 school closures around the world have hit girls the hardest. The pandemic presents us with an opportunity to affect systemic changes that could protect girls and women from bearing the heaviest brunt of shock during pandemics.
The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting people living in poverty the hardest. Especially those in low-income communities and in developing countries. We are deeply concerned about the impact of the virus on people in communities with obsolete, non-existent or fragile health systems.
In the U.S., many of our students live in low-income communities of which broadband connectivity access is still spotty. Connectivity should be a vital utility today because education, a basic human right, is denied without connectivity in these times. Across Africa, 75% of learners have limited or no access to interactive and internet-based learning materials. Such materials are open access but unreachable mainly due to connectivity related challenges. Internet penetration is only at 40% of the total population compared to the rest of the world at around 63%.
Actions to Protect Our Staff and the Communities
We have taken the following actions to respond to the COVID-19 crisis:
- YTF is restricting all non-essential travel. We have postponed all global and regional meetings.
- We are sharing essential information with our global staff on steps everyone can take to prevent infection.
- In the countries where YTF works, we are following municipal, state, and federal guidelines. In schools that remain open, for example, our teams are there, providing services, washing hands, and staying as safe as they can.
How We are Engaging Our Youth
We launched a Covid19 Designathon for designers, innovators and technology enthusiasts to create prototypes that have the potential to address the coronavirus.
Our students are accessing our curricula at YTF Academy online and we have made available offline content for our educational material on Kolibri.
We are organizing a series of “Locked In, but Not Locked Out” webinars for educators in Africa teaching them how to bridge learning from classroom to online and providing professional development.
We are evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on our programs day-by-day, in close consultation with government and local partners. As the situation evolves, we will assess ways we can make use of our vast field presence to contain the pandemic, and support local partners.
Together, we can protect our families and our communities – and take measures to help keep the most vulnerable families safe in the face of this massive threat.
Our hearts go out to everyone who is suffering from the horrible impact of Covid-19 and we are doing everything possible to connect the dots with our private sector partners and other nonprofit partners to do what we can to flatten the curve and provide the much needed resources to people who need it the most.
Thank you so very much for being part of YTF’s community.