Updated Mar 10, 2020

gold Youth Development Agency

gold-youth is scaling community change from the ground up, through an ‘each one reach one’ model of youth peer education which casts young people in Africa as future-nation builders, changing the system of youth education and upbringing.


Susannah Farr

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Stage 5: Scaling

The gold innovation has been tested & scaled through deep social franchising & wide dissemination in 4 countries reaching 72 000 youth with results in social behaviour change, education & job creation, with a planned vision for 38 African countries.
Registered in South Africa as For-Profit and Non-Profit, in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe as Non-Profitin South Africa as For-Profit and Non-Profit, in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe as Non-Profit

Focus Areas:

Social and Behavior Change, Education, Youth and 13 MoreSEE ALL

Social and Behavior Change, Education, Youth, Health, Curriculum, Methods & Learning, Human Centered Design, Agriculture, Entrepreneurship, Citizen Participation, Leadership Development, Microeconomics, School-to-Work Transition, Social & Micro Finance, Soft or Life Skills and Parent & Family EngagementSEE LESS

Implemented In:

South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and 2 MoreSEE ALL

South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and RwandaSEE LESS

Key Partners
Countries Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date


More than half of young people in Sub-Saharan Africa, who make up the largest part of the population, are born into poverty, growing up in communities that offer little visible hope. Far from having ethical role-models, most do they believe that they have purpose or potential or equal value to others. Consequences are: youth un-employability and unemployment; unbroken cycles of poverty fueled by crime, orphanhood and youth anarchy; and endemic risk behaviour (and health and education burden).



gold-youth's scalable model is transforming the role of young people from passive recipients of negative norms to proactive social and economic change agents who empower themselves and their peers to become the ethical leaders of tomorrow- creating a movement to embed long-term peer mentors into all schools and communities, shifting the system of youth education and upbringing with improvements in social behaviour change, education and job creation, thereby addressing the SDG gaps, ground up.

Target Beneficiaries

Facilitator Interns (post-school youth) are given a job opportunity, and are trained to mentor teenage Peer Educators. Through these four-year relationships, Peer Educators model positive decision-making, strengthen their school work and maximize impact on their peers and communities. The alumni are part of the gold Grads community for life; connected to opportunities in further education, entry-level jobs and entrepreneurship ventures. Educators, parents, and community leaders are supported.

Mission and Vision

Our vision is to see a generation of ethical young African leaders confronting the root issues of youth risk behaviour, unemployment and poverty, through uplifting their communities and imparting vision and purpose to present and future generations. Our goal is to develop 10 million grassroots youth leaders over the next 10 years as critical catalysts who will bring about wider systemic change. 38 priority countries. 5000 desperate communities - positioned with possibility - bottom up.

Innovation Description

gold-youth harnesses the power of peer-to-peer influence through an evidence-based youth transformation model; aligned to 4 strategic SDGs (1,3,4,8). Most people only make changes based on information PLUS the actions and opinions of their trusted peers. Youth Peer Educators can communicate in a way that adults can’t; they serve as change role models. Given love, tools and a mandate to serve, they become part of a revolution of hope. At the heart of the movement is the belief that “the message giver is the strongest message”. Out-of-school Facilitator Interns train teenage Peer Educators, who are mentored and academically supported for 4 years. Peer Educators fulfil specific roles and are taught to: model positive decision-making; educate peers and younger children in making positive choices; and how to maximize community impact. Personal change leads to Group change, which leads to Community change. Two modes of delivery allow for a deep and wide scale strategy. We go deep with community based organisations called social franchisees: our Partners who implement the gold Model and receive capacity building and quality assurance. We go wide by disseminating our solution through a DIY blended product suite called Peer2Peer which is supported by training and consulting services for a diverse audience of replicators. Micro ‘business-in-a-box’ opportunities for gold Grads provide solutions and products to grassroots communities through enterprise development and youth job creation.

Competitive Advantage

Inspired by a vision of young Africans living purpose-filled lives and fulfilling Africa’s full social and economic potential, from the get-go, we have set out to re-frame the narrative around the ‘youth bulge crisis’ at the bottom of the pyramid, to seeing youth as the hope for the African continent. The gold model and its evidence-based curriculum has been tested in diverse communities and designed to increase knowledge and skills among youth Peer Educators to challenge the key social determinants holding them back from reaching their full social and economic potential, while supplementing their knowledge and skills around issues of gender inequality, the effects of poverty, human rights, economic barriers & risky behaviors among youth. We are able to scale to the toughest communities and retain depth and robust youth-led outcomes in the way we mobilize grassroots communities. We are a system change solution that's time has come, equipped with processes, systems & tools.

Planned Goals and Milestones

We are prioritizing the completion of our improved technology scale system to enable the blended quality assurance and capacity building of the gold Model at greater scale across Sub Saharan Africa in the years ahead. Our priorities are: 1- enabling the widest pool of stakeholders to become equipped to provide young people with peer role-models and mentors across Sub-Saharan Africa and 2- To have supportive regulatory & financial resourcing frameworks strengthened for systemic scale.
Funding Goal30,000,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted1,000,000
New Implemented CountriesBotswana, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa
Recruit5 management; 1 board; 1 advisor
New FeatureStrengthen scale up and impact. We are in the start-up phase of collaborating with industry leaders to unlock micro-economies across Sub-Saharan Africa by scaling profitable micro-businesses. The detail of these businesses, from clean energy to mobile money and hydroponic food hubs, is available on request.

The Team Behind the Innovation

The gold team of 64 is passionate, diverse, and operates through a hub-spoke model, allowing for regional scale with centralized DNA, processes and systems. gold-youth is a multi ward winning organization founded and is led by Ashoka fellow Susannah Farr, a visionary social entrepreneur, recognized for her innovation and impact in poverty alleviation. In 2018, Susannah was selected as a LifeCo Enterprizer, and as an Ashoka Globalizer, positioning gold-youth for the next phase of impact.


Feb 2020
New Country Implemented In
Feb 2004
New Country Implemented In
South Africa
Feb 2004
Date Unknown
Recognition ReceivedVERIFIED
Profiled on CEI

Supporting Materials