Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) aims to uplift rural communities in developing countries by providing educational and technological resources and training to empower youth and improve their employability. It teaches students how to become producers, and not mere consumers, of solutions to their problems.
The organisation is an advocate of reverse migration: it seeks to create opportunities in rural areas so that young people find relocating to big cities less attractive. In partnership with schools, community based organisations, non-profits and small businesses, YTF provides people with leadership skills and helps them improve academically through programmes that directly relate what they learn to real life.
Clinton Global Initiative (2016). Njideka Harry was recognised as a Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation (2013). She is an Ashoka Fellow (2011).
- Since 2000, YTF had trained over 1.6 million youth and women, supported 4,500 communities and inspired the creation and expansion of 14,000 businesses.
- YTF Academy students register on average a 40% increase in school academic performance.
- 96% of graduates go on to higher education within two years and 55% choose technology-related fields.
- Employers say YTF graduates perform better than overall employees, with 40% being promoted within three to six months of graduation.
Most of the critical issues in these communities relate to agriculture, education, entrepreneurship and health. The curriculum is therefore focused on developing knowledge and skills in these four areas by providing training modules in technology, ranging from basic digital literacy to software and mobile application development, entrepreneurship and life skills.
The core educational project is the YTF Academy, which offers a series of after-school teaching programmes co-developed with local communities:
- ‘TechKids’. A three-month module for school children, aiming to raise awareness of the possibilities of technology applications in everyday life through open-ended activities.
- ‘TechTeens’. A six-month course designed to foster science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) vocations among teenagers.
- ‘TechCommunities’. A training programme that teaches youth to incorporate technology into their role as employees or job creators. Hands-on experiences inspire peer-to-peer learning and empower them to recognise issues and propose solutions in a collaborative way.
- ‘TechEnhancements’. A module designed for civil servants to develop or enhance their skills in specialised technical areas.