Get to know YTF
YTF’s mission is to create enriched learning
communities where the appropriate use of technology
affords opportunities for marginalized youth and women.
We get results and make a difference
Since 2000, YTF has…
Inspired the creation and expansion of
Inspired economic sustainability in over
Who we are, what we do, and why
Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) is an international nonprofit organization founded in 2000. We’re a team of passionate optimists driven to help others realize their potential by building lifelong learning skills.
We are a training organization. We provide technology training at the intersection of education and entrepreneurship.
We teach young people how to learn. These lifelong learning skills allow YTF program participants to become economically and environmentally adaptable and resilient. They graduate as flexible, confident individuals ready to take on the future.
What it looks like in practice
Our work addresses gaps in existing silos in the community and educational systems. We run programs that address skills gaps in established education systems, encouraging young people to see entrepreneurship as a viable career. Our training emphasizes STEM subjects to help build the foundation for sustainable career choices. We also provide financial inclusion and business training to empower women with the skills to manage their own lives, households and businesses.
A note from our founder
It was 17 years ago, from a cubicle at Microsoft that a few friends and I decided we wanted to do something. Do something to give back to the land of our birth, while working for the world’s largest software company. It was there that the story of Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) began. Knowing how access to technology transformed my life, I became obsessed with an urgent need to bridge the digital divide between disadvantaged youth and women living in both developing countries and in the developed world.I remember shortly after YTF was established, visiting with stakeholders from government and the private sector in Nigeria, the country in which YTF’s programs were first implemented. Many of those I met with would look at me and say, “Why youth? Why girls and women? Why technology?”But today, that question isn’t heard. Everyone is on board with using tech to empower youth, girls and women. It’s a given.When YTF was founded our mission was simple, yet powerful; to create enriched learning communities where the appropriate use of technology affords opportunities for youth and women. This mission continues, as we facilitate education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth and women in the digital economy.
The global skill gap: Futureproofing our youth
In many developing countries, schools are not just broken, they are obsolete.
Education and training systems lack quality and labor market relevance, leaving young people ill-prepared for employment. It is predicted that some 90% of formal sector jobs of the future will require information and communication technology (ICT) skills. Similarly, as environment-related (“green”) jobs grow, so too will demand for a solid educational background in science or technology.
For example, the World Bank predicts that climate change and clean technology sectors will represent a 6.4 trillion-dollar opportunity in the next decade. UNESCO estimates that 2.5 million engineers and technicians will be needed in sub-Saharan Africa alone to achieve improved access to clean water and sanitation.
The majority of the new roles that will be created between now and 2020 will have a technological component. By 2020, over 60% of the new jobs created will require skills possessed by less than 20% of the current workforce. This is the global skills gap – the difference between the skills that employers around the world want in the workforce and the actual skills that the workforce has.
We also see the on-demand gig economy altering the way we work. We are bound to end up with a future in which a portion of the workforce will do a portfolio of things to generate income. Our goal at YTF is to teach our students how to learn and to prepare them to be “everything ready.” We know that with the right support, young and hungry future professionals in developing and emerging economies can turn themselves into “factories of talent” instead of cheaply-staffed workbenches of the developed world.
The imperative of now: Taking action for women and girls
WEF predicts that it will take 117 years to close the global gender gap as it currently stands. As a mother of three daughters myself, I feel frustrated that none of my children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren will live to see gender parity.
Enabling girls and women—who represent half of the world’s population—to gain access to the internet and its usefulness for the pursuit of higher education or entrepreneurship is not just a fairness argument, but an economic imperative.
Putting some of the most powerful science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) tools in the hands of young women affords them opportunities to create better lives for themselves and others and goes a long way toward positive development outcomes and resilience. We have seen in our work that girls want to change the world and that introducing them to the creative nature of technology provides an avenue for them to engage in scientific and engineering problems that have a personal meaning for them.
We provide women entrepreneurs in the communities in which we work with the business skills and financial capabilities training to enter the financial services value chain and to start or expand their businesses profitably. In 2017, we incorporated training of apprentices into our curriculum to account for succession planning of women-owned businesses. Our women entrepreneurs have told us their businesses are stronger when their employees are well trained.
Fundamentally, we believe that the future belongs to the creators, innovators and people whose ideas and creativity will change our world for good. Beyond our impact and reach now in five countries; Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Colombia and the United States, I am most proud of my incredible team; the YTF board and staff, and the people who relentlessly share our mission moments and have been fully committed to this work. To our partners who trust us, I thank you. To the youth and women we serve, our work is dedicated to you.
Here’s to many more years of impact.
It was 17 years ago, from a cubicle at Microsoft that a few friends and I decided we wanted to do something.
Read Njideka’s letter
We partner with leaders in technology and global education to further advance our mission.
YTF provides original data, analysis, and insights on trends, with a focus on how people access and use these services for transformation.
Learn more about our research >
More about us
If you want to understand more about who we are, what we do, why and for whom, check out answers to some frequently asked questions about YTF.
What we do: Develop basic digital literacy training that address
factors contributing to unemployment and poverty in the region.
Why: Of Colombia’s 13 million young people, 4.5 million are idle;
neither enrolled in school nor employed. Youth represent more
than half of the registered unemployed, and most young people
that work do so in precarious jobs. The lack of employment, education,
and entrepreneurship opportunities for Colombian youth is closely tied
to the conflict in poor, rural areas.
Where We Work
Learn more about our work in Colombia
Back to where we work
individuals and communities in the U.S., particularly middle school age girls.
What we do: Develop programs that provide technology training
and inspire STEM careers and education.
Why: Adolescent years are the most precarious for girls living in the U.S.
Many of them do not sustain their interest in STEM topics during their
middle school years. Providing STEM- and technology-infused academic
enrichment programs increases their interest and helps connect girls
with sustainable career choices.
Where We Work
Learn more about our work in Louisville
Back to where we work
What we do: Develop programs that empower youth
and women, giving them technology tools to succeed
in education or as entrepreneurs.
Where: Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda
Why: There have been transformative developments
in Africa’s information communications technology (ICT)
sector in the last decade, presenting viable opportunities
to equip and empower the continents’s fast-growing
unemployed youth population and women with