A digital marketplace to unlock young people’s potential
Yoma is a digital platform where young people can develop their skills, find opportunities, and achieve social and environmental impact.
Young people can build their futures by actively engaging in social impact tasks as well as learning to earning opportunities. By September 2023, we had:
Users registered on the Yoma platform worldwide
Major partnerships secured
Today, young people account for 60 percent of Africa’s unemployment. This figure is expected to worsen as the population further increases. Many of these young people are neither formally employed nor in education or training.
Responding to this challenge, Yoma provides youth opportunities for social and environmental engagement, skills acquisition, and (self-) employment. The platform offers specific pathways from learning to earning that build young people’s skills and connect them to livelihood opportunities. Pathways are tailored to each individual and align opportunities with the young person’s goals and potential as well as market demands.
Personal growth is incentivized with digital tokens that can be swapped for digital services or physical goods, such as credit for mobile phones or access to more skill building courses. All engagements and milestones reached on Yoma are recorded on a verifiable digital CV, which can be shared with potential future employers.
To compete locally and globally, young people must be equipped with skills to meet the labor market’s changing needs. Developed by UNICEF and partners, Yoma aims to catalyse young people’s creativity and ideas on how to create economically viable business models and employment opportunities. At the same time, Yoma provides the opportunity for organizations (non-profits, corporations, academic institutions, etc.) to reach out to young people to provide support and services, capitalizing on each individual’s potential.
Yoma in action
Yoma is currently active in Benin, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Philippines, and Trinidad and Tobago. Within the next years, there is an increased focus to contextualize its offerings for Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Young people in Cote d’Ivoire represent over 30 percent of the population. Poverty, limited access to education and skills development opportunities, and a mismatch between training programs and labor market needs pose major challenges. According to the National Employment Survey, 35 percent of Cote d’Ivoire’s youth are not in education, employment, or training.
To support young people’s skills development and social impact, UNICEF and partners launched Yoma in 2023.
For the current one-year pilot launched by UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein and MSC Foundation we expect:
- More than 70 adolescents to gain access to improved employment opportunities in the green and blue economy.
- More than 2, 000 young people to receive training and incentives to participate in impact challenges focusing on environmental and ocean health challenges.
To scale the Yoma initiative, innovative financing solutions will be crucial. This kind of solutions are currently developed as part of the ongoing pilot project of the LIFE Climate Foundation together with its partners, the Liechtenstein Bankers Association and the University of Liechtenstein.
The banking experts are developing innovative financing approaches, testing them for practicability, functionality, and feasibility. In addition, the parties are mapping out how blended finance and/or bankable products can be developed and implemented in the context of Yoma.
How to get involved?
To deliver on its ambition, Yoma seeks to further strengthen its ecosystem of public and private donors - corporations, foundations, and philanthropists - to support young people on their journey from learning to earning, as well as empowering them to achieve social and environmental impact.
Yoma is working as an ecosystem of partners meeting the needs both of youth and employers. Together with partners, Yoma strengthens 21st century skills and employability of young people. In close collaboration with business, on the other hand, Yoma creates a pool of talents meeting the current and future needs of various business sectors. Through Yoma, the business sector can reach youth with training offers and apprentice opportunities. Yoma can also incentivise both youth and employers, through mentoring opportunities for example.
«Young people should be empowered to feel that they can achieve anything they want in life, regardless of their circumstances and background. With Yoma, they take the lead as drivers of social, economic, and environmental change.»