Since its launch in 2007, YouthAssets has been working intensively on three key initiatives designed to empower youth-headed households in Southern Africa through the use of technology. These initiatives – Listening, Engaging and Amplifying – are currently being implemented together as the pilot project in Swaziland, a small, land-locked country located inside South Africa with the highest per capita rate of HIV/AIDS in the world. As a result, many youth in Swaziland have been orphaned by the death of one or both parents.

Young people now dominate the Swazi population as 46% is under the age of 15 and only 3% is over the age of 65, according to a recent UNAIDS report. The report also estimated that children run 15,000 households in Swaziland. Lacking the material and emotional support normally provided by adult parents, these orphaned youth have already started using mobile technology to access valuable resources and information. YouthAssets hopes that providing access to these resources and information will allow youth in Swaziland to make informed choices about their future and achieve a more stable and sustainable way of living.

Listening: Positive conversation with youth-headed households in rural Swaziland demonstrates the value of mobile technology in empowering youth in developing countries around the world.

Engaging: Employing young people heading rural households as Advisors on the YouthAssets’ Youth Advisory Board allows Swazi youth to play an integral part in developing long-term, sustainable solutions to combat daily challenges in rural Swaziland.

Amplifying: BarCamp brings together local and international technology professionals and business developers to create networks for amplifying the use and spread of vital technologies in Swaziland.