With sixty percent of the population being under the age of 25 Africa is the youngest continent in the world – and it’s growing fast. The majority of its population being young offers huge potential across all of society – from health to education to business – but at the moment it is being hindered by a lack of opportunity. For example, today, young people account for 60% of Africa’s unemployed. This figure is expected to worsen as the population further increases.
In response to this challenge, Fondation Botnar and partners are collaborating on Yoma, a platform that aims to catalyse young people’s creativity and ideas on how to create economically viable business models and create employment opportunities for young people across the African region. The partnership focuses on designing programs not just for, but with young people.
Fondation Botnar supports Yoma, an initiative that connects young people with potential future employers, social impact organisations, local and national governments via an online platform.
Through a digital learning platform that uses ethical and privacy-preserving machine learning algorithms, Yoma provides young people with opportunities for social and environmental engagement, skills acquisition, and employment. The individual growth journey on and off the platform is reflected in a digital CV and stored on a blockchain.
This information will be the basis for individual learning pathways for the user as participants are incentivised to complete tasks through a positive reinforcement system based on digital tokens, which can be redeemed in a digital or physical marketplace.
The platform was launched in June 2020 and since then, more than 300,000 young people have been engaged in various opportunities. Currently, Yoma is being incubated by RLabs in South Africa and is expected to expand globally as a separate non-profit entity in 2022. By the end of 2023, Yoma aims to have reached 3 million young people.
Past challenges by Yoma
Yoma regularly runs challenges on the platform to tackle specific issues. Fondation Botnar is proud to have supported the below challenges.
The COVID-19 Challenge (2021) was launched to seek ideas from young people on how to protect themselves and their communities from the virus.
- 100,000 young people reached
- 9,669 prototypes were developed to fight and prevent COVID-19 in Africa, mainly from Nigeria, Malawi, and Burundi.
The Reimagine Your Future Challenge (2021) gave youth the opportunity to think big and use their talents, build skills, and connect with peers to explore ways of reimagining their futures.
- 34,000 young people engaged
- 24,471 young people shared ideas and pathways for their future
- 75% of participants reported they gained confidence
The Plastic Tide Turners Challenge (2021) is a global youth movement to fight plastic pollution around the world.
- 2,000 young reached
- 928 prototypes developed by youth to use less plastic
- 3,800 new ideas created
The Think Like an Entrepreneur & Designing your Futures (2021) helps young people develop ideas and prototype and become impact entrepreneurs.
- 79,000 young people reached,
- 49,000 ideas
- 1,186 ideas submitted via Think Like an Entrepreneur & Designing your Futures.
The BetterTogetherAfrica Challenge was an “alternative learning to earning opportunity” for young people to drive skills development and entrepreneurial thinking for young people in Africa.
- 125,000 young people engaged
- 34 people inspired the community with elevator pitches
- 96% of the participants said they feel more positive about the future after the challenge
The Green Challenge Nigeria was an initiative to engage and empower young people through a call to action getting them to complete small real-life tasks, while achieving measurable climate-related impact in their communities.
- 17,600 youth engaged
- The winner of the challenge cleaned up plastic waste and used it to create shoes
Duration of project
UNICEF, Giz, Generation Unlimited, Université de Genève, Goodwall, RLabs, Didx, Atingi, Cartedo.