A message from our CEO
YTF is all about the people we serve: youth and women. Our focus is on creative, practical solutions that ensure youth stay in school, gain viable employment, and compete confidently in the 21st century job market while providing women entrepreneurs, their mothers, with technology, financial capabilities, and business skills to grow their businesses so they can support their children. This is our DNA.2015 has been a year of incredible milestones at the YTF. We have taken a laser-focused approach to forming partnerships with global leadership, like-minded organizations in civil society, the private sector, and the public sector to help youth improve their learning outcomes and to empower entrepreneurs to expand their businesses while scaling their impact. We continue to be inspired by the support of our wide range of partners whose support has enabled us to get closer to our vision of a world where youth, and their mothers, thrive.
YTF Academy continues to deliver results—we incorporated new classes based on industry needs and replicated without diluting the quality of the program. 2015 was an unprecedented year with 50, 322 students completing YTF Academy programs. We deepened our partnerships with Universities, Secondary Schools, Libraries and Ministries in the countries we work in. We continue to adopt a gender lens in our work awarding 80% of the girls that apply to YTF Academy full scholarships in an effort to ensure they have equal opportunity to get the best education.
In Nigeria, we equipped 513 students with digital literacy and entrepreneurship skills through our Learning and Libraries Project (“Project LLP”). Moses, one of our students, was hired almost immediately as a teacher in a local secondary school. Our program, She Will Connect, delivered incredible results by providing digital literacy skills to 12,023 girls and women this year. Precious, a mechanical engineering student and a participant in the program, wants to create job opportunities for young women like her.
Across our Africa footprint, we launched 3D Africa to transform user-economies into producer economies. We believe that young people should be inspired to create the world they want to see. 3D printing is one way to encourage STEM education, equip engineers with an additional set of skills, and encourage entrepreneurship. Amarachi, a 15-year-old participant, designed and printed a beautiful customized pendant for her school, and Esther, another student, demonstrated a passion for human-centered design.
Irene is 16 and participates in YTF’s work in Kenya. An only child, she lives with her mother in Mukuru Kwa Njenga, a Nairobi slum. Irene credits the training she receives at YTF as having helped her to think outside the box and to dream of what she wants her life to look like. “I want to be a computer engineer,” she said. “It’s fun and easy.”
In Colombia, 148 girls participated in GirlsRock!, an after-school program that teaches displaced girls to use technology to solve the health and community challenges in her community of Soacha. One participant, 14-year-old Maura Lizeth, has been taking the skills she learned and is using social media to prevent rape.
Our work with Mobile Financial Services for Women equipped 2,314 women entrepreneurs with financial capabilities and business skills, thus allowing them to become a part of the financial services value chain as banking agents. Fatima, one of the women we trained in Kano, has seen an increase in sales in her existing confectionary business since she became a banking agent. “The people that come to register on the platform end up becoming not only my banking clients, but also customers of my current clients. The possibilities to increase my income are endless.” With a smile she added, “My husband was my first banking client.”
The Women Entrepreneurs and Mobile Value Added Services program continues to demonstrate remarkable success: 2,214 women entrepreneurs, across four industries and 12 states in Nigeria participated in the program. Activities included classroom learning, industry tours, networking events, and daily follow-up SMS business tip messages that continued to help them increase their business skills and strategies.
Although the scope of our work is wide, we never lose sight of how individual contributions change lives and how a simple action can help someone build a better future for his or her family, and ultimately for his or her community.
Our Journey – Perspective from Dr. Irving Rother, YTF Board Member
I first became involved with YTF in March 2006 when I was invited to volunteer with media literacy projects for youth and women at YTF’s community center in Nigeria. I have been impressed by YTF’s dedication and belief in the value of youth, education, employment, entrepreneurship and the promotion of youth citizens as essential participants in a democratic society through the use of leading edge technology.What impresses me the most is not what YTF does but how it goes about reaching its aims. YTF’s approach is to teach far reaching societal skills in order to satisfy a need they have rather than providing a temporary solution to a problem. The solutions are co-created in partnership with the clients themselves, are long-lasting and sustainable.
Last summer, I had the privilege of representing YTF at the National Association of Media Literacy for Education (NAMLE) conference in Philadelphia where I presented our work with PeaceOpoly, an education platform for youth that combines civics workshops and access to a safe platform for dialogue.
I was anxious to use it as an example of just one of YTF’s best practice around the use of media literacy as it relates to the democratization of marginalized youth and women in nascent democracies. PeaceOpoly represents: literacy, education, democracy and citizenship which are crucial to so much of YTF’s work. As we move beyond the 2015 Millennium Goals, YTF’s work and track record is very much aligned with the 2015-2030 Sustainable Goals in the way of gender equality, ICT, peace & security and human rights.
In 2012, I visited YTF in Kenya and learned about how the organization engages local talent to build, test and roll out the technology solution they have designed for themselves. This was a very eye-opening experience for me meeting the local software development team and interacting with stakeholders, including schools and other civil society organizations.
YTF has established a strong base on which to build for the future. Our model of using appropriate technology to empower youth and women has been built with the clients themselves at the center of our work. We have engaged a growing network of donors and partners who share our passion and values.
We know that our work is touching lives across the world. I am honored to work alongside with YTF’s President, fellow board members and our global staff and network of donors and partners to unleash the full potential of youth and women in the developing world.
YTF Board of Trustees
Looking Ahead: The Next Decade
Year-over-year goals help us keep a steady drumbeat of progress, but we’re also thinking big. Over the next ten years, YTF’s reach and impact will grow exponentially.
“A world in which our youth have access to technology and education to compete for 21st century opportunities and where women, their mothers, have the knowledge they need to support their businesses leading to more economically and socially viable communities in which our youth live.”
– Njideka Harry, YTF President and CEO
2020 and Beyond
Here’s a preview of our trajectory for the next several years and beyond.