Totally Youth

To reduce youth unemployment as part of poverty and crime reduction, and thereby bring economic release and peace of mind to parents and guardians. Totally Youth (TY) provides capacity building, mentoring, and counseling on career, business, gender, and lifestyle issues. TY teaches and provides youth with the space, tools, equipment and Internet access to facilitate practical, in-house internships, and business incubation in a safe environment until they get a job or start their own business.
Jul 14, 2014

STOP YOUTH POVERTY = YOUTH CREATING JOBS FOR YOUTH

HELP YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TO CREATE JOBS FOR UNEMPLOYED YOUTH

SUPPORT 20 YOUTH INCUBATORS has changed its name for the second time in a bid to convey a clearer message on the objectives of the project. We are totally convinced that the only sure way to guarantee employment for the youth is by empowering young entrepreneurs financially and mentally, to create jobs for themselves and other unemployed youth. Totally Youth believes that this project concept can be replicated anywhere in the world to ensure that the youth are taken care of to secure our futures. Each young entrepreneur we support, can employ at least four other unemployed youth. This takes five unemployed youth off the jobs market. If we can support 20 youth incubators a year, 100 youth will be off the jobs market annually. So imagine what can happen if we support thousands of young entrepreneurs, yearly. Globally, the youth have been forced into entrepreneurship, because of stagnant job markets. This is a very good thing. But if we do not resource them adequately, then good talents will turn into idle hands, depression and poverty will increase, crime and unrest will overflow and we will all be the worse for it.

Since its inception, STOP YOUTH POVERTY has impacted the lives of 55 young people who are now striving to grow their small businesses. They are not yet making “big bucks” but they are able to feed, cloth and shelter themselves. Their self-worth has improved and they have the confidence and determination to succeed. They have acquired the necessary business sense and discipline to know that starting “small” is normal and that their business will grow just as any well-tendered seed grows into a big tree and bears fruits. We are therefore grateful to every single person who helped us raise a total of US$4,185.25 out of the US$51,000, to support Urica, Alice, Seth, Wisdom and Team Network. The amount went a long way to help us provide some needed tools and logistical support and sustain provision of consumables to the incubating start-ups.

The Catering Centre reached break-even point a few times. Unfortunately heavy rains have destroyed our Event Space where customers sit to eat. We are now trying to rehabilitate it so we can continue services and delivery. Furthermore, due to limited resources we are yet to purchase the deep freezer, which will help buy more stock at a time, to avoid the daily increases in prices of consumables and supplies. Hopefully, through the benevolence of our supporters, we will be able to complete these tasks by the end of July 2014 and get back to business. It will cost US$3,500 at the current exchange rate to get things back into ship shape. We are in the process of registering a new set of incubators and interns for the Centre.

The Backyard Space is seeing its first garden of tomatoes, which will be harvested in August 2014. Unfortunately the Garden lost its crop of cabbage and lettuce due to termite attacks. We are therefore planning to plant okra, garden eggs and “kpakpo shito” which are not susceptible to termites, for harvest in October 2014. Produce from the Backyard, will be sold to the Catering Centre and the general public. Everyone at Totally Youth will also buy these produce to ensure revenue generation. We are yet to bring on board the four start-up interns due to limited resources.

The Fashion Centre generated some modest revenue with a small profit through custom tailoring. It is now going to produce ready-made clothing, using African print. These will initially be sold locally but our donors and friends outside Ghana will be able to order our label through our website. Profits from revenue generated, will support all incubators, towards self-sustainability. We will be able to bring on board more Fashion Incubators, if we make enough profit with our first batch of ready-to-wear clothing. We will appreciate support to bring on board the start-up interns as well.

Our last Beauty Incubator – Mami, successfully completed her incubation with enough seed money to start her own hairdressing salon. The Centre is fully equipped and ready for use. Everyone at Totally Youth will use the Centre for all their beauty needs. Old customers will be contacted through our informative complimentary card distribution and on our website. We will be registering new incubators for the Centre next week. This new entrant will need free accommodation at TY during her incubation, since she cannot afford boarding and lodging in Accra.

We are in negotiations with a major television station to start a new Reality Show called FAME – Fashion and Modeling Extravaganza, to help keep young models off the streets and support young fashion designers into business. This will also protect the girl-models from sexual influences. It will be a weekly show, which will earn the participants some income and bring them together as self-agency.

All donations received are used solely for the incubators.To ensure some level of profit for the incubators, Totally Youth covers all utilities, rents, promotions and communications costs, for the incubators. Totally Youth takes care of consumables based a revolving fund for each Centre. We also provide free accommodation (free room and utilities), for up to four homeless participants.  All this allows the incubators to focus completely on business development, instead of overheads and the next meal.

On a sad note, our currency – the cedi is still depreciating. Consequently, several of the imported goods we depend on, are being sold at four times their cedi value, in anticipation of the next drop. This reduces the purchasing power of our foreign earnings, which is at an exchange rate of three times the cedi value. Any time gap between budgeting and purchasing, means that we can only purchase some and not all the supplies and services needed for success. Not reaching our target fundraising amount makes it even harder. Today, 15 July 2014, petrol prices have gone up by over 20% and the market is already adjusting itself to increase profit margins in order to protect purchasing power. Customers can only device cost-savings through cutbacks, sincere no salary/wage increases have been announced.

Within the above contest, we are sincerely appealing to you to consider becoming a recurrent donor. This will help us to plan and deliver successfully, one month at a time. If 10 to 20 donors can consider contributing an amount from US$ 25 – US$ 500 a month for two years, to augment one-off donations, we will be able to successfully turn STOP YOUTH POVERTY into a self-sustaining project. Self-sustainability will be achieved through timely delivery of appropriate levels of requisite materials, tools, supplies and consumables to Incubation Teams (minimum one entrepreneur and four start-up interns) to ensure appropriate profit margins. Appropriate profit margins will earn Incubators adequate seed money and basic business tools for a self-sustaining start-up at the end of their incubation.

We are forever grateful to all our donors for their generous donations. We are grateful to Global Giving for making it possible and to Microsoft's Youth Spark for doubling our efforts whenever we qualify. You are always welcome at http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/stop-youth-poverty. God bless.

With gratitude,

Eva Lokko/CEO

Jun 23, 2014

STOP YOUTH POVERTY - HELP THEM CREATE JOBS

Unemployed Youth at Work at TY ICT Centre
Unemployed Youth at Work at TY ICT Centre

STOP YOUTH POVERTY, HELP THEM CREATE JOBS

Since starting our programme to “Support 5000 Unemployed Graduates into Self-Employment”, we have been constantly reminded that job creation is the only sure answer to stopping youth poverty. The government and private sector are not creating jobs at the rate of youth employment needs in the country. The rate of graduate unemployment is now at 80,000 per year. From labour sources, the rate of youth unemployment has reached 250,000 a year (includes graduates of junior and senior high schools).

Totally Youth is convinced that the only way round youth unemployment is for the youth themselves to create jobs. For example, assisting one youth entrepreneur to start up a business, which can employ at least four additional unemployed youth, will immediately take five unemployed youth off the jobs market. Totally Youth has therefore been focusing on the principle of “Youth Creating Jobs For Youth” as the sure means of reducing youth unemployment and youth poverty.

Consequently, we designed a sub-programme to “Support 20 Youth Incubators” a year with several projects under it (Lift Urica …; Save Alice …; Lift Seth …; Help Wisdom …, etc). We are forever grateful to our donors who have supported one or more of our projects as well as our main programme. We are extremely appreciative of our recurrent donors with their regular donations throughout the year, which has earned us needed matching funds from Microsoft and Global Giving. Without your help we could not have assisted as many youth as we have done to date.

However, it has become clear that the instability of our currency – the cedi, has steadily reduced our purchasing power since prices are adjusted to meet dollar values on our local markets. Since we receive donations mostly within planned budgets, we have been unable to achieve our planned objectives for participants. For example, if we plan to buy a deep freezer this month at a given price and we get that amount next month, it is more likely that the price will have increased and therefore additional funds will be added before the purchase can be effected. This would mean that some funds will have to be redeployed from another budget line to purchase the deep freezer. This pushes us into a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” situation and limits our support to our young participants. But if there are no re-deployable funds, then the deep freezer and all activities linked to it are put on hold. Project durations are ultimately increased (e.g.: 3-month incubation stretch to six months or more reducing impact, output and outcome). To date, we have received the following donations:

  1. Support 5,000 Unemployed Graduates to be Self-Employed:            US$  7,574    out of      US$ 100,000
  2. Lift 20 Unemployed Youth From Poverty into Jobs                             US$  25         out of      US$    51,000
  3. Lift Urica From Poverty (Retired)                                                        US$  2,300     out of      US$     3,300
  4. Save Alice From Homelessness                                                         US$  260        out of      US$     3,300
  5. Lift Seth From Poverty (Retired)                                                         US$  1,279     out of      US$     3,300
  6. Help Wisdom To Farm                                                                        US$  75           out of     US$     4,000

We are therefore humbly appealing to our existing as well as potential donors to consider becoming “Recurrent Donors” so that we can plan more effectively and support a fixed number of youth every single year. This mode of donation will work perfectly with any of our projects as well as with our main programme. No amount is too small or too big so long as you are comfortable with it. Timeliness gives higher or the expected impact to your donations and guarantees sustainable outcomes.

Together, we can take many more youth out of poverty and reduce depression, homelessness, broken homes, drug and alcohol abuse, fraud and crime among the youth. Our joint efforts can only help towards world peace, given that most conflicts around the world involve a large number of unemployed youth. We can together reduce youth poverty, one youth start-up at a time.

We are pleased to inform you that the next Microsoft YouthSpark Fundraiser is on 26 June 2014. We are therefore humbly appealing to our donors, all benevolent people and Friends of the Youth, to support us win the highest matching fund. Please invite everybody in your corporate and social networks to donate to any of our programmes and projects. Thank you so much and God bless.

Links:

Apr 18, 2014

MAKING THE YOUTH THE THIRD PILLAR FOR JOB CREATION

TOTALLY YOUTH INCUBATORS AT WORK
TOTALLY YOUTH INCUBATORS AT WORK

We extend our warmest Easter greetings to all our donors and friends. This year we have been working with over fifty unemployed youth entrepreneurs who are willing to set up their own businesses instead of looking for non-existent jobs. We have models, event managers, chefs, fashion designers, transport operators and a farmer, all going through capacity building and mentoring and receiving inputs to incubate their start-ups in a hands-on, practical way. We have embarked on another realty TV show – Fashion And Modelling Extravaganza, which will help 26 young boys and girls into jobs and protect young models in the industry. As the parent programme, the Support-20-Youth-Incubator has seen four incubator projects under its umbrella:

  1. http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/help-wisdom-to-farm
  2. http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/lift-seth-from-poverty
  3. http//www.globalgiving.org/projects/lift-seth-from-poverty
  4. http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/lift-urica-from-poverty

and two incubator projects in the pipeline:

  1. Support-eFive-Transport-System
  2. Help-Kofi-Protect-Young-Models

These two pipeline projects will soon be posted on GlobalGiving for your kind consideration. We are pleased to announce that we are receiving more participants who would rather go into business for themselves, than look for non-existent jobs. The catering, fashion and farming incubators are poised to break even soon. The beginning of incubation is always difficult for participants, especially when they have to contend with breaking even before realizing profits. This is always the difficult lesson to learn, since the participants have very little or no money at all, when they come to TY. Our main difficulty relates to the current depreciating value of the cedi which has given rise to price hikes to cover purchases in foreign currencies. This affects the amount of money that Totally Youth can invest in the incubators, since what was bought for a cedi today will cost three cedis or more tomorrow. This makes it difficult to provide all the needs of the incubators and to plan effectively for scheduled completion of incubation. Without the generous support of our donors, we will be in dire straits. Timely donations are the most cost-effective, since we can then complete procurements before the next price hike.

EMERGENCY REQUEST

Due to recent heavy rains, we have lost the canopy over our Event Space where customers sit to be served their meals from the Catering Centre. Since we are in the rainy season, we need urgent assistance to replace the canopy and fixed the supporting metal beams. If we do not do this in time, Incubators at the Catering Centre will lose their hard-earned customers. This will also delay their expected break-even schedule and hence their opportunity to start buying tools for their planned businesses from expected profits. We are therefore humbly appealing for donations of US$2,000 to Support-20-Youth-Incubators for the replacement and repairs to the canopy and structure.

WORSENING YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT TRENDS

The unemployment trend has gotten worse, with a local labour organization quoting 250,000 unemployed youth a year, as the latest figure. The CEO of Totally Youth was recently invited to present at a TEDx in Ghana – TEDxLabone, where she received a standing ovation on her presentation entitled “Youth – The Third Pillar for Job Creation”. Youth employment is contributing significantly to crisis and unrest in countries all over the world and we must make every effort to stem it. The good news is that youth unemployment can be drastically reduced if youth entrepreneurs are supported to set up businesses to create jobs for themselves and other unemployed youth. Totally Youth is therefore sincerely appreciative of our donors, because they are helping to prove that the youth are indeed the Third Pillar for Job Creation after government and the existing private sector. Your donations help the “youth to create jobs for the youth” and to reduce youth poverty, homelessness and crime.

Currently, we have four needy male participants sharing the two rooms on our premises (rent-free with free water and electricity). Even with this support, they still need allowances for daily meals and transportation when they go on errands for their start-ups. Unfortunately, the continuing rapid fall of the cedi reduces our purchasing power everyday thereby reducing our projected support and impact. It is therefore critical to get donations that will allow us to purchase in bulk (with consideration for shelf life), and also benefit from volume discounts and cost-savings. We would therefore be grateful if you will consider making lump sum donations to our projects. Please note that all incubators benefit from donations made to Support-20-Youth-Incubators, as the parent programme. Donations can be made to:

  1. www.globalgiving.org/projects/support-20-youth-incubators
  2. www.globalgiving.org/projects/help-wisdom-to-farm
  3. www.globalgiving.org/projects/lift-seth-from-poverty

With your continuing support, we will surely achieve our vision where employment will be an entrenched human right and our youth will be the confirmed Third Pillar for Job Creation worldwide.

                                                                                                 Thank you and God bless.

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