Podcast: Njideka Harry, Empowering Youth and Women Through Technology

“Our programs prepare youth and women to enter a workforce that will be more global, more digital, and entrepreneurially focused.”

For nearly two decades, YTF has devoted itself to empowering youth and women through technology.

Access to appropriate technologies, like basic Internet or mobile devices, opens up a world of opportunities to those on the margins of the digital era. Technology is an enabler of rights, a gateway to other rights including freedom of expression, social and economic rights, and hence should be a basic human right itself.

The Internet in particular is a catalyst for economic growth. An increase in a country’s Internet maturity correlates with a sizable increase in real per capita GDP. Yet research shows that at current trends, the world will not meet its goal for universal access until 2042 — over 20 years past the target date. YTF is aiming to equip youth and women with the skills they need to overcome this gap.

The gender digital divide by the numbers

The gender digital divide is growing. Women in poor, urban communities are up to 50% less likely to access the internet than men in the same communities. Doubling the number of women and girls online would generate an estimated additional USD 13 to USD 18 billion in GDP across developing countries. It would unleash a market of new platform sales and network access amounting to an estimated USD 50 to USD 70 billion.

Njideka U. Harry is the President and CEO of Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), an innovative non-profit organization focused on using the power of technology to transform the lives of youth and women living in developing countries. YTF’s strength lies in its ability to access market demands, design developmental programs, provide linkages that accelerate business opportunities and administer customized information and communications technology (ICT) and entrepreneurship training programs that uplift youth and women from poverty.

Mrs. Harry also serves as a consultant to several social enterprises, for-profit businesses with a social mission and international agencies on matters related to technology for development, entrepreneurship, gender/impact investing and corporate social responsibility. She has moderated and served on hundreds of panels in international forums and her work has been featured in world renowned journals, books on ICT and development, and in Forbes and the Huffington Post.

Mrs. Harry earned her BBA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She completed her post-graduate studies at Stanford University were she was a Reuters Digital Vision Fellow. Mrs. Harry is an Ashoka Fellow and a Schwab Foundation Fellow at the World Economic Forum.

To help YTF reach vulnerable people and communities, visit https://www.youthfortechnology.org/

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