Robert Myres founded Mondesa Youth Opportunities in 2003 after living and teaching in central Namibia and seeing the need for education subsidy programs. Since that time, MYO has slowly evolved to become the premier youth development program in the country, serving 125 students every day with comprehensive education programming. Robert transitioned day to day to management of MYO to local stakeholders in 2009, but remains very involved with strategy and oversight of operations. He is continuously looking for ways to improve MYO and to scale operations to reach a broader audience.
Professionally Robert is an IT management consultant focusing on international mergers and acquisitions integration work.
Mondesa Youth Opportunities (MYO)
There are inherent limitations in communities diminished by the effects of moderate or severe poverty. The developmental assets necessary to influence positive development in youth are often non-existent or severely compromised, resulting in gaps in the support network necessary for children to fully development mentally, emotionally, and intellectually. A comprehensive, education-based development program is the best possible solution to helping these youth escape the bounds of poverty.
The allure of sport can provide a foundation for programming. Sports builds confidence, reinforces self-esteem, and can teach valuable life skills including teamwork, leadership, and the association between cause and effect. But any meaningful program that aims to seriously enhance youth development, must include a robust basic education program. Schools in developing countries are increasingly struggling to provide the type of educational foundation that will prepare their youth for the modern economy. An enrichment program that combines education and sport can be an order of magnitude more effective than either of these approaches alone.
For 14 years, MYO has been providing more than 500 hours of professionally facilitated academic, life-skills, and sport instruction to 125 kids a year in an after-school format. Our kids join in grade 4 and remain through grade 8, accumulating a total of 2,500 hours of professional instruction in academics, sport, and music.
Education subsidy programs can suffer from low levels of motivation and attendance. A pure sport program is fun and can facilitate character development, but often fails to affect meaningful long-term change. But combining these two approaches in to a comprehensive program can be extremely powerful. At MYO, we have been proving it for years. Many of our alumni are university graduates, university students, or are productively employed in a very complicated economy. A feat few would have achieved without the effective education-based intervention of MYO.