Skip to main content

Repository of Practices

Green Yoma for Youth on the Move

Primary GCM Objectives

Secondary GCM Objectives


GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


2020 - Present

Type of practice

Partnership/Multistakeholder initiative


Yoma emerged following a human-centered design thinking workshop, organized by UNICEF, Botnar Foundation and the D-School of Cape Town, to learn about the difficulties young Africans are facing around unemployment. Youth identified fragmented support and lacking access to opportunities, despite a deep pool of talent. Yoma is a growing ecosystem of public and private stakeholders and partners that seeks to empower young people through Learning2Earning (L2E) pathways and address skills and opportunity gaps, specifically for marginalized youth in the Global South. Green Yoma is one of Yoma's L2E pathways, focused on upskilling and engaging young people in the emerging green economy, while impacting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Yoma has been rolled-out in 8 countries (largely in Africa), though it also has a presence globally in the Carribean and Southeast Asia. The current key implementation and funding partners and stakeholders in the Yoma ecosystem are: RLabs, Generation Unlimited, Goodwall, UNICEF, Botnar Foundation, GIZ (Atingi), Groundtruth, among many others. To date, Green Yoma has primarily involved youth in South Africa and Malawi, but its reach extends to Ivory Coast and Nigeria, with plans to scale to Madagascar and Peru. ADDA is a UNICEF initiative, offering intensive and comprehensive technical, theoretical, and physical (in-person) training to young people predominantly in Africa. Many of ADDA’s courses are available on the Yoma platform. The training and course material was developed by Virginia Tech to give students the following tools: • Using inexpensive materials to make drones • RPL – Remote Piloting Licenses • Aerial land surveying skills • Analysis of satellite and aerial imagery and data This curriculum is based on the vision of UNICEF’s Drone and Data for Good which enhances data driven programming to support agricultural practices, early natural disaster detection, emergency medical supplies transportation, and land surveillance. 60% of ADDA graduates are females, including migrant and refugee youth. Over 900 graduates are employed in Sub- Saharan Africa.


Main Implementing Organization(s)

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
African Drone and Data Academy - ADDA

Detailed Information

UNICEF Green Yoma & African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA)

Partner/Donor Organizations

Generation Unlimited
Malawi University of Science and Technology
Government of Malawi
Government of Ethiopia
Government of Cote d’Ivoire
Government of South Africa
Government of Rwanda
Government of Nepal

Benefit and Impact

Green Yoma supports the fulfillment of migrant rights through:
1. Its Learning to Earning (L2E) opportunities
By engaging youth in climate action, Green Yoma empowers the well-being of YotM and other communities who often know firsthand the impacts of climate change; Green Yoma provides opportunities for upskilling and hands-on projects for youth to take meaningful action on environmental issues that affect them and which may be driving factors for migration. It also contributes to enhanced livelihoods for youth (including YotM) by upskilling for in-demand jobs in the emerging green economy, increasing access to employment that is sustainable and allows them to thrive no matter where they go.

2. Its technology and approach to data & identity
Through Yoma’s digital component, users such as YotM can access learning and earning opportunities anywhere and at any time (with Wi-Fi and a smartphone). Yoma’s user friendly platform utilizes Single-Sign On (SSO) and blockchain technology, which allow users to acquire verifiable credentialing of their learning and impact accomplishments, safely stored and made available in a digital CV. Additionally, leveraging Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) technology, Yoma places youth at the center, as it allows users to be in complete control and ownership of their data. Considering YotM’s vulnerability and challenges around documentation and identity, SSI can help foster a sense of dignity, privacy, and agency.

In terms of impact, our current footprint in South Africa has involved over 1,200 youth in 4 impact projects & 100,000 youth in digital challenges. Youth participants received increased access to opportunities for acquiring in-demand and transferable green skills, thus increasing their employability. As a result, they were also equipped with portable and verified skills records of their learning and experiences. Yoma is exploring avenues for sustainability through blended finance models and strategic funding partnerships, with no planned end date for the overall program.

Impacts such as earning from the Yoma token and skills development are measured through data tracking on the Yoma platform. Long-term impacts on indicators such as relational well-being are being measured through an impact survey of participants (findings not yet available). With Green Yoma, positive spillover effects are anticipated on climate and targeted UN SDGs. It is also anticipated that participants can generate secondary benefits due to increased capacity-building, enhancing their ability to use their skills to impact their communities.

Key Lessons

As an ongoing project, there are continuous adaptations being made to enhance the efficacy and impact of each Green Yoma Project.

Some of our main challenges and lessons learned are:
- The allocation and distribution of “Zlto” incentive tokens: The success of this incentivization concept relies heavily on participating partners (supermarket retailers, telecom companies, online stores, etc) where these vouchers can be redeemed by young people using the Yoma Platform. This challenge is compounded by Yoma being in different developing countries; it is hard finding consistent and relevant “voucher redeeming” partners to make the incentivization aspect of Yoma appealing to the users.
o We are expanding our network of incentive providers across the continent and in countries where Yoma is active. We also require funding to subsidize incentives offered on the platform (for example, UNICEF partnerships with AirTel).
- Processing of “Zlto” token: The processing of the vouchers is still labour intensive.
o As mentioned, Yoma is an ever-adapting ecosystem, and we continuously learn from feedback provided by users and the partners within the ecosystem to upgrade the IT and user experience. Securing additional funding will be key in assisting us in improving the online platform and operations.
- Ensuring access: Due to challenges in infrastructure and digital and internet connectivity faced by youth, making Yoma accessible requires intentionality and creative solutions.
o One key lesson learned for Green Yoma is ensuring in-person touch points to reach marginalized youth. Another key aspect is partnerships, whether that be with service providers like Airtel who can zero rate the Yoma online platform and provide data redemption incentives (Yoma users rewarded with airtime/vouchers for course and task completion), or with government initiatives such as the case of using “Youth Empowerment Centers” in Kenya which host computers and internet/electricity access in more marginalized communities.
- Scalability: the initial stages of Green Yoma and ADDA projects are usually heavy-touch and expensive. For example, young people need guidance on training and using the tools for “Citizen Science”. To make Green Yoma projects more sustainable and scalable.
o Increased access can support scalability. Yoma is in the process of engaging its multiple partners (GoodWall, Umuzi, Airtel) to provide zero-rated courses on the platform.
o We also plan to implement a mentorship aspect to the program, in which previous participants can take the role of mentors for future and current program participants, whilst being employed to assist with the scaling and the betterment of Green Yoma.
o We have been working to create financial models such as blended finance approach- using both donor funds and private investments- for implemented projects to be more financially sustainable.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

- Start small: A project is more manageable and impactful when smaller.
- Sense-check the viability and scalability of the project you wish to implement- to ensure it is as impactful as possible. Continuity is a crucial factor of a project’s impact and success.
- Create a sustainable finance model: Depending on donor funding alone is not sustainable, thus unscalable. Projects that have the capacity to generate income are favourable, because; they may potentially attract private investments. Financial resources are essential for the longevity of a project.
- Get consistent and regular feedback from project participants. There should be a system in place where the participants of the project/initiative being implemented, should have measures in place for participants and implementing partners can share feedback on a continuous and frequent basis. This allows for any issues to be detected early and rectified swiftly.
- Before starting, create a network of reliable and supportive implementing partners to; share workloads, resources, expertise, and to generate capacity: Rlabs in South Africa, GoodWall, and GenU are prime examples of effective implementation partners to Yoma.
- Ensure participants all have equal opportunity and access to necessary resources.


This project is innovative in 4 aspects:
- Youth and Climate Action nexus: The skills acquired by young people in Green Yoma initiatives directly impact on conservation, environmental and sustainable efforts needed facilitate resilient migration in the context of Climate Change and addressing the UN SDGs.
- Technology: Yoma platform uses Blockchain verification methods to create a portable “digital passport/CV” for its users. This means that should a Yoma user partake in an impact task or complete a course or training on the Yoma platform, their digital cv/passport is automatically updated and can be easily accessed by themselves or potential employers
- Multi-stakeholder / Ecosystem-approach: Green Yoma has adopted a multi-stakeholder and multi-initiative/project, multi-touchpoint (on the ground, online) approach for equipping YotM with transferrable skills. It aims to develop an ecosystem of partners that address youth skills gaps and unemployment, enabling scalable impact for migrant populations.
- Innovative upskilling: The incorporation of Citizen Science plays a key role in the formation of sustainable L2E journeys for young people. The skills learned are in-demand, easy to propagate, and relevant for combating climate change, for participants at any level of expertise. Earth observation and data skills are also essential 21st century skills for the green economy, which can open up new employment pathways for YotM.


The place of the Waterfall

The place of the Waterfall

Date submitted:

16 December 2023

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.



*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).