The Statistics are daunting…


  • Every day 5,760 more children become orphans
  • 2,102,400 more children become orphans every year in Africa alone
  • Every 15 seconds, another child in Africa becomes an AIDS orphan

(UNDP, Country programme document for Swaziland, 2006- 2010):

  • In Swaziland, the average life expectancy has dropped from 57 to just 31 years of age.
  • There are 56,000 orphaned children and 10,000 adults and children died from AIDS in 2007 alone.
  • Currently over 100,000 children, the equivalent to over 10% of Swaziland’s population, are orphaned.


  • The deaths of many adults have left behind a youthful population in Swaziland. 46% of the population are under 15, and those over 65 only account for 3%.
  • Children are in charge of 15,000 households in Swaziland. In total Swaziland, the country the size of New Jersey, has 63,000 AIDS orphans.
  • UNAIDS estimated that there were 1.4 million South African children orphaned by AIDS in 2007, compared to 780,000 in 2003. Once orphaned, these children are more likely to face poverty, poor health and a lack of access to education.

But there is Hope …

(Africa Mobile Fact Book 2008):

  • Worldwide, there are more than 2.4 billion cell phone users, with more than 1,000 new customers added every minute.
  • 59 percent of these 2.4 billion people live in developing countries, making cell phones the first telecommunications technology in history to have more users there than in the developed world.
  • Mobile Phone usage in Africa is growing almost twice as fast as any other region and jumped from 63 million users two years ago to 152 million today.


  • In South Africa, over 83 percent of the population owns a mobile phone.
  • In Swaziland, over 26% of individuals own a mobile phone.

YouthAssets: using mobile technology to connect and empower vulnerable youth in Africa

With more people than ever using mobile phones to communicate in southern Africa, mobile technology offers a new and powerful avenue for reaching vulnerable youth and empowering them with the resources they need. Mobile phones can now be manufactured at little cost. Most people in Swaziland and South Africa could never afford an actual computer, however a mobile phone is within reach for many.

YouthAssets is a non-profit that is working to engage and empower youth in southern Africa, particularly orphans and other vulnerable children, by utilizing information and communication technology, like mobile phones, in new and innovative ways.

We are developing tools that allow youth to have greater participation and voice in creating strong futures for themselves. At the same time, we’re building smoother and more effective delivery systems with organizations that already working with these youth.

Our approach is grounded by the view that youth serve as active participants in their own care and as contributors of meaningful knowledge. We let youth determine the best solutions and support them as the world’s most valuable resource. Together, we hope to change these statistics to reflect a brighter future.