Project information

Indigenous Youth Web Platform

To create and promote an interactive web platform where indigenous youth in Tanzania and Mexico can explore their values, learn action research skills, share information about their culture and heritage, discuss the challenges they face, and help one another to find solutions.

12 months

Charity information

Serian UK

Serian UK
  • Need


    Indigenous youth worldwide are facing an identity crisis, trapped between their cultural heritage and the pressures of globalisation. This often leads to higher-than-average rates of alcohol and drug abuse, mental health problems and suicide. The disconnection of indigenous youth from their environment often means that community elders die without passing on their knowledge to younger generations, resulting in the loss of valuable information, such as how to use life-saving medicinal plants.


    The project will bridge the 'traditional' and 'modern' by using 21st-century information technologies to document and preserve cultural heritage in Tanzania and Mexico. The use of the web platform to share problems will reduce the sense of isolation felt by indigenous youth, and enable innovative solutions to be shared between different communities. Focusing on values will boost self-esteem and confidence, showing the youth that they have the ability to change their societies for the better.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Co-design, with indigenous youth, an interactive web platform in English and Spanish


    » Online consultation about platform content, functionality and design with indigenous youth and facilitators in Tanzania and Mexico
    » Conduct a week-long design workshop with consultant, professional web designer, and 2 male youth, 2 female youth and 1 facilitator from each community
    » Online consultation to provide feedback on test site

    Success will be a test platform incorporating content, function and design ideas suggested by the youth. Text entered in English will also be displayed in Spanish and vice-versa.

    Aim 2

    Field-test the platform in civil society organisations in Tanzania and Mexico


    » Conduct a 2-week training session for the 8 youth peer educators and 2 facilitators (action research skills and using the test platform)
    » Conduct an online consultation with peer educators and facilitators about the outcomes of the test phase, and modify the platform if need

    Success will be a well-functioning web platform that can be used to explore values, document indigenous knowledge and images, provide research training and build social networks.

    Aim 3

    Mainstream the platform within two indigenous community organisations in Mexico and Tanzania


    » Facilitators work with youth peer educators to train 150-200 youth in each organisation (action research skills and using the platform)
    » Youth peer educators support their peers in conducting action research in their communities and uploading results to the platform

    Success will be empowering 150-200 youth in each organisation to use the platform confidently to upload their research findings and communicate with partner organisations.

  • Impact


    The tangible project output will be a password-protected archive of indigenous knowledge, oral literature and traditional skills, as a permanent record to prevent cultural heritage from being lost. We will bring about sustained improvements in mental health among the participating youth, measured by 3 psychological questionnaires - before the project, immediately after the project, and a year later. We will increase awareness of core cultural values, as measured by surveys and focus groups.


    There is a risk that youth peer educators could fail to deliver the training at the required standard. We have dealt with this risk by including local facilitators, who will accompany them in the initial stages. There is also a risk that some youth may drop out of the training programme. We have dealt with this risk by working with organisations that are already running effective outreach programmes with over 200 youth, and can identify potential problems and replace any late drop outs.


    The test site will be made available to donors and a written report will be sent at the end of the field phase, providing feedback from testers. A report on completion rates, mental health scores and cultural values will be sent at the end of the training, and a further report one year later.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £37,300

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      Amount Heading Description
      £12,910 Design workshop Holding a week-long workshop for 4 youth and 1 facilitator each from Tanzania and Mexico
      £6,500 Platform design & hosting Services of a professional web design company specialising in values and civil society projects
      £3,890 Peer educator training 2 x 2-week training sessions for peer educators and facilitators in Tanzania & Mexico
      £7,500 Local youth training 2 x 2-week training sessions, each for 50 local youth, in Tanzania & Mexico
      £4,500 Internet connectivity Upgrading computer and internet facilities in the 3 participating organisations
      £2,000 Admin Translation, communications, stationery, etc.
  • Background


    Noonkodin Secondary School is a non-governmental secondary school owned by the NGO Aang Serian (comprised of residents of the predominantly Maasai village of Eluwai in Monduli, northern Tanzania), in collaboration with Serian UK. Echeri Consultores is a Mexican NGO working in communities around Lake Patzcuaro, focusing on promoting reforestation, values education and the arts. Both local organisations take an intercultural approach to education, and promote youth empowerment.


    The population of Eluwai is around 3000, and the majority of its residents are Maasai pastoralists who live by herding cattle, sheep and goats and raising small farms. Most of them have little or no cash income. Approximately 50 people will benefit in the initial phase (all Form 1 students) and will pass on their knowledge to younger classes in subsequent years. The Lake Patzcuaro area of Mexico is also characterised by poverty and environmental degradation.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Serian UK has more than five years of experience in working with local partners in Tanzania to develop paper-based resources for documenting indigenous knowledge and to train local coordinators. Our trustees have extensive academic knowledge (three are Masters-level graduates) and practical grassroots experience in education and participatory action research in Africa. The small size of the charity and the high level of volunteerism among trustees means that very little is wasted on admin.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Gemma Burford

    General coordinator, mediating between project partners. She is founder of Noonkodin and an action-research professional, and has lived in Tanzania.

    Amdis Boyd

    Amdis is a professional web designer and co-creator of the 'We Value' website. She will lead the co-design conference and build the web platform.

    Cardiela Amezcua-Luna

    Cardiela is the founder and director of Echeri Consultores, Mexico, and will coordinate the project from the Mexican side.

    Grosper Mollel

    Grosper is the headteacher of Noonkodin Secondary School, Tanzania, and will coordinate the project from the Tanzanian side.