Where We Work
"At YTF, our culture embraces individual differences and embodies the belief that individuals can change their communities...for good".
~Njideka Harry, YTF Founder
YTF is committed to the holistic, positive development of youth living in some of the poorest communities in the world. Over the last decade of our experience, we have learned that youth are more productive when their mothers are happy and are contributing to the society as well. As a result, YTF’s innovative programs are focused on marginalized youth and women in low-income communities in the United States and in rural communities in Africa. Providing access to appropriate technology has the potential to increase efficiency, provide access to new markets or services, create new opportunities for income generation, improve governance and give poor people a voice.
YTF knows that to unleash the poverty chain from developing countries, it is essential that effective programs are developed that integrate and empower youth to stay in their rural communities and evolve into agents of change. This “reverse migration” concept will encourage youth to stay in the rural areas and create or participate in programs designed to sustain their communities while avoiding the urban vices of overpopulation, unemployment, disease and crime.
At the core of YTF’s work is a global network of like-minded partners consisting of grassroots organizations committed to the positive development of disadvantaged people dwelling in rural communities. Our partners have extensive relationships with networks of civil society organizations, philanthropic institutions and the private sector.
One of YTF’s key tenets is community involvement, participation and investment. We have found that a project’s success in a country is completely dependent on whether or not the community feels ownership of the project from its onset and is willing to make a conscious investment to see the project succeed.
There is no other place in the world where poverty is more evident than in Africa. According to the World Bank (2009):
• 70% of Africa’s population lives in rural areas and survives on less than $1.25 per day.
• 32 of the 48 poorest countries are located in Africa, a continent plagued by conflicts, dysfunctional governments and grave health challenges.
YTF’s partners with communities in Africa, listening to their voices and concerns around a specific issue in their community. We then develop measurable programs that empower beneficiaries to learn more about the issue and potentially how to solve it.
Why the U.S?
Technology will be a quick-fix solution to poverty, but ensuring that underserved individuals and communities can access education and tools to improve the quality of their lives is a critical piece of the answer. In the U.S., YTF’s programs build educational capacity to increase the economic base of youth and their families in economically disadvantaged communities. In so doing, YTF develops programs that strengthen the science and technology foundation of K-12 youth in these communities while fostering cross-cultural global collaboration with youth in developing countries where YTF works.