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.
Nov 14, 2014

YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT AFFECTS US ALL

Totally Youth Alumni Nakki with CEO
Totally Youth Alumni Nakki with CEO

The plight of unemployed youth which affects 250,000 youth each year in Ghana have dire effects on all sectors of our society and economy. As the saying goes, youth unmployment increases poverty, riots, fraud, violence, unrest, unrest, etc. However, relatively very little is being done to arrest it. Youth unemployment affects families so it is accurate to say that youth unemployment impoverishes not just the youth, but also entire families. This is why we are so grateful to all our donors who have given what they can afford to help the unemployed youth of Ghana into jobs and businesses.

To date we have received donations totalling US$255 for our STOP YOUTH POVERTY project out of the US$51,770 required. This has naturally constrained the project and has delayed the schedule for the planned self-sustainability of the project. Totally Youth is however grateful for the donations made towards supporting Urica, Alice, Seth and Wisdom under the micro-projects. All four are now involved in gainful businesses  and jobs. They have proven that youth poverty can be stopped one youth at a time. We are therefore hopeful that more donors will support STOP YOUTH POVERTY in the very near future, so we can achieve self-reliance.

To ensure that we help more youth and also stem the plight of unemployed youth, we now have a new level of support for struggling youth businesses including NGOs called “Business Facilitation”, where young businesses are allowed to use our premises and facilities to conduct their business. They have access to our Centers and Spaces and we mentor them. Currently we are in the process of enrolling the first two of such businesses.

Furthermore, we have gone to the root of the problem through a new project we are calling "Homebase Support" where we are adopting households in low-income, underserved communities, where there are needy but brilliant unemployed youth. We will mentor and coach the families to instil entrepreneurial spirit in their children and wards and build their capacity towards self-help. We believe that this will create partnerships at the local level where we can join forces to help a lot of the youth to form partnerships based on the talents and skills needed to set up a particular business. This is inline with our Youth creating Jobs for Youth concept. With the support of the families, we believe we can make higher impact.

Even though it seems that youth employment does not attract the right level of sponsorship requred to effectively stem the high increases, we appreciate the fact that those who do donate are really committed and generous. We know for a fact that solving the youth unemployment problem, goes a long way to reduce poverty, depression, teenage pregnancy, broken homes, single parenthood, drug and alcohol abuse, fraud, riots and violence in all societies. We are therefore determined to do all we can to making youth poverty a thing of the past.

The smile on the face of one unemployed youth after the first and on the last day in Totally Youth, compares to nothing money can buy. But it is money that helps to do the things that put such smiles on their faces – a safe and enabling haven, access to mentoring and counseling, capacity building, access to facilities and tools, etc. Please help us to help them so we can have a better world all round. Thank you.

A BIG THANK YOU to all our donors and a SPECIAL THANKS to our recurrent donors. God bless you all
                                                                              stop-youth-poverty

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Oct 28, 2014

TIME TO MOVE ON - BUT YOU CAN STILL HELP

Through the generous support of our dnors over the years, our programme "SUPPORT 5000 YOUNG GRADUATES TO BE SELF-EMPLOYED" has impacted thousands of unemployed as well as employed youth, through our six flagship programmes, youth workshops, seminars and conferences. We have also reached millions of youth through television appearances and radio programmes. Our only limitation in our drive to support unemployed youth, is our growing need for funds at the right time. But, together we have achieved a lot since 2011 and we are grateful.

With your support, our Catering Centre was completed this year and have seen two alumni Urica and Seth. Wisdom has finally received a plot of land and is now putting in irrigation pipes and will soon start his own pineaple farm. Summ is able to pay his own rent and have moved out of our premises. Akweley has found an accounting job, Emmanuel has found a teaching job, Akosua is working with a big telecom company, Tina is in public service and is persuing a Master's degree. Felix has his own fashion line in New York, and the list goes on.

We have currently added a new programme called Business Facilitation which supports struggling youth businesses. Totally Youth provides them access to its Knowledge Space, Event Space, Office Space and ICT Centre, to save these businesses the costs associated with renting such facilities at exhobitant recurrent costs. With our facilitation, these youn busnesses build up their capital to become self-reliant. So far we have two such businesses enrolling with us. They will join us in November 2014.

Our "Why Are You Here" seminar series and "Steping Stone to Employment" (education,career, business) are yielding positive results. We intend to market both of them intensively next year, to increase revenue generation. The feedback to date has been very encouraging and we will capitalize on that.

We have come up with two new concepts - "Catching Them Young" and "Going to the Source". Under "catching them young", we will adopt a primary school and have the pupils learn the best way possible so that they will be career and business focused. With regard to "going to the source", we will adopt homes with youth and support them with resources for learning and capacity building. We will share these projects with you once their project documents have been completed. We believe that these two new approaches together with the existing ones, will help solve the unemployment crisis from bottom up, top down and mid-stream.

Due to the support we received from our donors, we have been able to help so many unemployed youth through our micro projects and smaller programmes. You may want to note however, that all our mini programmes and micro projects fall under our "SUPPORT 5000 YOUNG GRADUATES TO BE SELF-EMPLOYED" programme. We are therefore happy to note that donors contributed substantively to our micro projects. We believe that it is easier to relate to individuals and small groups of people and understand their plight better, than to envisage the needs of 5000 youth at a go. We are therefore preparing to request approval from GlobalGiving, to retire our main programme - "SUPPORT 5000 YOUNG GRADUATES TO BE SELF-EMPLOYED" and replace it with "STOP YOUTH POVERTY - YOUTH CREATING JOBS FOR YOUTH". We trust that all our donors - recurrent and non-recurrent, will continue to support Totally Youth through this main programme as well as our micro projects.

We thank all our donors for their benevolent support and we say a special thank you to our recurrent donors who guarantee us regular funding. Together we have made the lives of thousands of unemployed youth hopeful, happy, determined, confident and/or gainfully employed. God bless.

Forever grateful,

Eva Lokko/CEO

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

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