“At YTF, our culture embraces individual differences and embodies the belief that individuals can change their communities…for good”.
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.
Africa has the youngest and fastest growing youth population in the world today. The number of people between ages 15 and 24 is expected to double to 400 million by 2045, and youth under the age of 25 represent 62% of sub-Saharan Africa’s unemployed population. Simultaneously, there have been transformative developments in Africa’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector in the last decade, which is expected to reach $150 billion by 2016.
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.
Why Latin America?
In Latin America, 82 million people are living on less than $2.50 per day. Youth unemployment is extremely high, especially among those at the lower end of the income distribution. Since young people are substantial contributors to household income, this affects national living standards.
The challenges surrounding education are growing. These include unequal access to schooling; low overall quality in education, especially at the secondary level; and poorly motivated teachers. Because schools can’t offer adequate support, overall educational achievement is low and students often have gaps in the skills necessary for employment. When they do find work, the transition from school to work is difficult. YTF programs in Latin America help develop holistic skill sets – with a special focus on technology proficiency – that fill the gaps in students’ education, and ease the transition into working life.
Inequality reduction is one of the main development challenges in Latin America; it is strongly linked to poverty and the distribution of opportunities and resources. YTF supports equal opportunity and seeks to level the playing field so that circumstances like gender, ethnicity, birthplace, or family background do not influence a person’s life chances.