POETA YouthSpark

Argentina - Brasil - Chile - Colombia - Mexico - República Dominicana
Project under implementation


POETA YouthSpark seeks to empower vulnerable youth in Latin America and the Caribbean through technology to facilitate education, entrepreneurship and job opportunities.  Through a variety of trainings, POETA YouthSpark promotes the access and use of technology among youth (16-29 years old) to equip them with life, technical and digital skills to compete in the 21st century. POETA YouthSpark also provides advanced computer science training to teachers and facilitators in order to multiply its reach.

Since 2012, the Trust has implemented POETA YouthSpark through local partners in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Peru with a gender component through which at least 60% of participants need to be women. POETA YouthSpark Centers provide vulnerable community members with free access to computers with internet access, in-person and online trainings and mentorship. POETA YouthSpark is financed by Microsoft through its global program, YouthSpark, and implemented by The Trust for the Americas through its local partners across the hemisphere.

Project purpose

Provide comprehensive training in life, technical, digital literacy and computer science skills to teachers and vulnerable youth ages 16 to 29 to facilitate their access to education, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities in the 21st century.

Project goals

At least 80% of the beneficiaries need to be youth in conditions of vulnerability and at least 60% of the beneficiaries need to be women.

In 2019, we seek to empower through training at least 4,670 youth and 1,774 teachers, while registering at least 17,508 visits to POETA YouthSpark Technology Centers.

In 2019, we aim to facilitate the creation of more than 2,300 economic and educational opportunities such as continuing or starting an education, obtaining an internship, securing a job or a raise, and starting or strengthening and entrepreneurship project.

Main achievements

Since the beginning of the project in 2012, POETA YouthSpark has empowered more than 34,000 participants through digital and computer science training, facilitated 16,500 economic and educational opportunities and received 203,376 visits to Technology Centers.
In the first half of 2019, POETA YouthSpark facilitated more than 1,500 economic and educational opportunities including securing a jobs or an internship, continuing education or creating a micro-entrepreneurship.
In the first half of 2019, we empowered through training more than 4,300 youth and more than 560 teachers. Our POETA YouthSpark Technology Centers received 30,000 visits from vulnerable youth.
In 2019, we provided in-person training of trainers on Internet of Things, Android App Development and Arduino coding, among other to our POETA YouthSpark Local Partners.


Identification of Local Partners

• Mapping of Needs: Identify the particular needs and challenges of the local population to benefit in order to define the goals of the local partner.

• Training: Local partners receive training and ongoing support through the field team of The Trust for the Americas. This builds the capacity of local partners to promote free and safe spaces that facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and skills.


• Training: Local partners provide comprehensive training in digital literacy, computer science and job readiness through POETA YouthSpark.

• Economic Opportunities: POETA YouthSpark seeks to promote digital literacy and computer science skills which allow youth to develop social or economic ventures, obtain an internship, a job or continue their studies.

• Visibility and Communication: The Trust for the Americas uses digital media and marketing tools strategically in order to make visible the work of our local partners as well as the results and success stories of the participants.

Monitoring & Evaluation

• Monitoring & Evaluation: At POETA YouthSpark, we seek to promote best practices regarding periodic data collection for stronger monitoring and evaluation of results.

Strategic partners

Success Stories

Two Colombian Women Become Entrepreneurs While Supporting the Environment

Microempresas, Colombia

Ana María and Geraldine are two young women from Medellín, Colombia. Concerned about the environment and with the dream of becoming entrepreneurs, Ana María and Geraldine created Turqueta, a small business which offers beautiful and comfortable underwear for women created from excess textile fabrics. Through POETA YouthSpark and the Women Business Leaders Project, they designed their business model, learned how to strategically use social media channels to advertise their brand and coded their own webpage, which now allows them to sell online, inside and outside Medellín.

At the end of their trainings, they participated at a Pitch Tank, where they earned the first place with an accolade of USD $1,500 to further strengthen their business. They also received mentorship through Cubo Social, partner of the POETA social Franchise.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mnIJ4V4FN0&list=PLRCSe4mWDI-DZEza3kvyvDwFBMLw__w5p&index=40

Young Mexican Student Creates App to Help Those With Hearing Disabilities

UTSC, Mexico

Edel is a 19-year-old Mexican student who is pursuing his BA in Business Development and Marketing at the Universidad Tecnológica Santa Catarina (UTSC) in Monterrey, Mexico. Edel, who has a hearing disability, has always been passionate about creating and managing micro-entrepreneurships. Driven by his passion, Edel joined POETA YouthSpark at the UTSC where not only did he find cutting edge adaptive technology, but also professional facilitators and interpreters experienced in Mexican Sign Language (MSL), who helped him acquire key digital and computer science skills.

At POETA YouthSpark, Edel stood out as a resilient and creative student, interested in innovating through technology. By acquiring coding skills, Edel and his classmates were able to develop an App called Infotrans, which helps people, including those with hearing disabilities, track the status of their flights.

Edel and his team competed internationally at the JA Global Youth Forum. Here, Infotrans won third place among 600 innovations. During the forum, Edel was able to attend conferences with world-class keynote speakers and participate in alumni panels and entrepreneurship workshops. Today, Edel is committed to continue learning and innovating to help empower people with disabilities.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x58ObY4stHE&list=PLRCSe4mWDI-DZEza3kvyvDwFBMLw__w5p&index=41 

Which of the following SDGS (Sustainable Development Goals) this project support?