The Canadian Friends of Youth Impact

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Objectif

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Millions of dollars are spent every year producing research and ideas to solve the world’s problems. Many of these are never scaled widely and never reach the people that need them most. That’s why KBF CANADA is very proud to work with Youth Impact. They have the skills to identify, adapt and scale up proven health and education programs, by young people for young people harnessing the credibility and relatability of peers for maximum traction with the target audience: the youth.

Context

  • Basic Literacy and Numeracy : While Botswana ranks highly on access to education, learning lags behind. In recent Southern African Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (SACMEQ) and UNESCO reports, Botswana ranked above Tanzania and Kenya on access, yet fell short of both neighbors on learning. We verified this need in collaboration with the Ministry of Basic Education and the University of Botswana. We conducted a needs assessment in two regions of Botswana and found striking gaps in learning: 32% of Standard 5 students could not do subtraction, and 88% could not do division. 43.5% could not read a story in English, and a fifth of students could not read a paragraph. Students are falling multiple grade levels behind without acquiring the basic skills.  Although over 90% of students are enrolled in primary school, the government has identified an urgent need for quality education interventions to ensure that students are achieving their learning potential.
  • HIV Prevention :  Eastern and Southern Africa contain 63% of the world’s population living with HIV.  Girls are particularly vulnerable, contracting HIV at young ages, and diverging from their male peers since they often date older partners who are exponentially more likely to have HIV. In Botswana, nearly 45% of forty-year-old men are infected with HIV, nine times higher than boys.  When surveyed, we found that 90% of young people in Botswana are unaware of the risks of older partners. Girls enter relationships with older partners thinking they are safer because they are “old, wise, and mature,” but in reality, these relationships have lethal risks.  Indeed, this is indicative of a widespread problem: over 60% of girls in East and Southern Africa lack comprehensive HIV knowledge.
  • Remote Learning Opportunities:  With as many as 1.6 billion learners out of school, the COVID-19 pandemic greatly underscored the need for adaptable, resilient distance education models, both during crises and other school disruptions and breaks. Less than 40% of households in low- and middle-income countries have internet capacity or 3G mobile networks required for typical ‘high-tech’ distance learning options.  Without the necessary infrastructure and technology, many of these solutions have limited success in these contexts.  Therefore, a simple and accessible solution is necessary to support distance learning in the hardest-to-reach populations and ensure that these children do not suffer disproportionately.

Goals of the project

  • Identify, adapt, and scale-up proven health and education programs, by young people for young people in Botswana and other low- and middle-income countries.

Activities

  • Basic Literacy and Numeracy : Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL), an approach pioneered by Indian NGO Pratham, targets the root of the learning crisis by transforming the structures that lead to it. The approach works by dividing children (generally in Grades 3 to 5) into groups based on learning needs rather than age or grade; dedicating time to basic skills rather than focusing solely on the curriculum; and regularly assessing student performance, rather than relying only on end-of-year examinations.  In a recent round of implementation in the North East region of Botswana, 83% of students learned a new mathematical operation. Youth Impact recently renewed its 8+-year Memorandum of Understanding with Botswana’s Ministry of Basic Education to scale-up Teaching at the Right Level to reach all primary schools by 2025. 
  • HIV PreventionZones is a 60-minute class delivered in junior secondary schools by peer educators that encourages youth to safely date age-mates instead of riskier older partners. It was inspired by a study of a similar program in Kenya that was shown to reduce teen pregnancy–a proxy for unprotected sex and HIV–by 28%.  We adapted the program to a Botswana context and developed and rigorously tested a curriculum that demonstrates significant and sustained increases in HIV knowledge and reductions in risky sexual behavior. The percentage of students who correctly knew that older partners have the highest risk of HIV has grown from 70% to 97%. Additionally, we’ve seen large and significant reductions in risky sexual behavior that will lead to even larger effects on long-term outcomes, such as reductions in pregnancy, school dropout due to pregnancy, and HIV/STI incidence.
  • Remote Learning OpportunitiesConnectEd is a remote education program that utilizes “low-tech” platforms such as basic text/SMS messages and phone calls to deliver simple mathematics tutorials to children around the world. During COVID-19 school closures in early 2020, we adapted the Teaching at the Right Level program to this phone-based platform with equally powerful results. Evaluated across six randomized control trials in countries around the world, ConnectEd has been shown to reduce innumeracy by up to 31% for enrolled children.

KBF CANADA will work with Youth Impact to implement this project: Youth Impact is a grassroots, youth-led, evidence-based movement headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana. Through a school-based delivery model in partnership with the government, the organization has reached more than 100,000 students in ten countries.

How to support this project?

By credit card: At the top right of this page, indicate the amount you wish to donate, and make the donation online by credit card. You will receive a receipt for tax purposes by e-mail just a few minutes after making the donation. Quick and easy!

By cheque: Mail the cheque to the KBF CANADA Foundation, mention ‘Project C302 – Youth Impact in the ‘For’ section and send it to: KBF Foundation CANADA, 1 Place Ville Marie, Suite 1670, MONTREAL, QC, H3B 2B6 – CANADA.

By Direct Deposit: Send an email to the KBF CANADA Foundation [email protected] or call +1 514.481.2000.

All donations are eligible for a tax receipt in Canada.

The projects are managed with the greatest care and professionalism.