DOT | Digital Opportunity Trust

 Premium Article

Premium Article

Happy partners pinting up as a sign of Going Beyond Partners Annoncement_ Group Photo _DOT x _The Mastercard Foundation

Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) and the Mastercard Foundation are proud to reveal the six new partner organizations named to the “Going Beyond – Partnering for a Youth-Led Future” project. As the first partners, Hakizetu, Her Initiative, MHub, Mzuzu eHub, Sheria Kiganjani and Songambele will expand the reach and impact of the Going Beyond project in Africa.

Over the next several years, DOT will work with youth-serving organizations in four African countries to train 300,000 young people in technology and business skills critical to their livelihoods. The partner organizations in Malawi and Tanzania that were announced Friday have established operations in these countries and have already impacted tens of thousands of individuals to date.

Each of these organizations shares the core mission of Going Beyond, which is to help young people in Africa access dignified jobs and live purposeful lives by equipping them with 21st century skills for entrepreneurship and employment. Two of these organizations – Sheria Kiganjani and Hakizetu – focus specifically on the economic and social empowerment of young women, and one – Songambele – works to create economically independent lives for young people with disabilities. These organizations will help Going Beyond reach a diverse range of participants, scaling up the possible impact of the program and ensuring that no young person is left behind because of circumstances or stereotypes. 

“These first partner organizations are setting the tone for the skill, enthusiasm, and passion for change that we want to see in all the organizations we partner with. Together, we are co-creating a new future for young people in Africa,” says Violette Uwamutara, DOT’s Vice President, Sub-Saharan Africa. 

“It is like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle snapping together,” says Elijah Lumbani Mkandawire, the CEO of MHub, a tech hub and entrepreneurship support organization in Malawi that is among the first partners. “What DOT and the Mastercard Foundation are doing goes straight to the heart of our own work.” 

The partners are already leaders in transforming the lives of African youth through technological and entrepreneurial skills, ensuring that everyone is included and has the opportunity to learn and thrive.

“People with disabilities are often left out of technology-related projects because there are stereotypes that say we don’t need or want these skills,” says Faustina Urassa, the Founder and Executive Director of Songambele, a partner organization that provides health and wellness services to young people with disabilities in Tanzania, and promotes their social and economic inclusion.  “With this project, we are going to show the true meaning of equality and inclusion.”  

The partners’ existing skills, and visions, are essential to Going Beyond, which seeks to go beyond conventional models for development work that engage external expertise over local knowledge and creativity, and instead empower young people to lead their own – and their community’s development. That is why the partner organizations have co-designed the project’s curriculum, and determined how Going Beyond will be carried out in their countries.

“The entire project is collaborative, it’s inclusive, it’s a discussion,” says Lydia Charles, Founder and Executive of Her Initiative. “That’s a beautiful and unique experience.” 

As part of this partnership, the organizations in Malawi and Tanzania will also receive technical support and resources to improve their own operations. 

“It’s very rare to see a funder this passionate about leaving the organization better off than it found them,” says Wangiwe Joanna Kambuzi, the Managing Director and Founder of Mzuzu eHub. 

Going-Beyond-Partners-Annoncement-_DOT-x-_The-Mastercard-Foundation_Group-Photo-on-Stage

This, in turn, points to Going Beyond’s strategy to outlive itself and sustain its impact. The project will foster communities where young people have the skills to build enriching, financially independent lives over the long term. It will also create an ecosystem of ambitious youth-led and youth-serving organizations that will continue to serve their communities for decades to come. 

“Our goal is for the project to live forever in the hearts of the people, and our hearts as an organization,” says Lydia James Ibrahim, the M&E Manager at Hakizetu, a partner organization in Tanzania focused on economically empowering women and girls and promoting their sexual and reproductive health rights. 

“I see us leaving behind a huge mindset shift in our communities,” adds Neema Magimba, Co-founder of Sheria Kiganjani, which connects low-income Tanzanians to legal services via a mobile app. 

For DOT, these partnerships mark a transformation in the organization’s history of building the entrepreneurial and digital skills of young people. In subsequent years, Going Beyond will welcome 14 additional partner organizations in Malawi and Tanzania, as well as 20 organizations in Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire. 

The six Going Beyond Partner organizations announced include:

  • Hakizetu (Tanzania), an organization focused on economically empowering women and girls and promoting their sexual and reproductive health rights. 
  • Her Initiative (Tanzania), an organization dedicated to fostering economic empowerment for women and girls through technology. 
  • MHub (Malawi), a technology hub and business support organization working closely with young people.
  • Mzuzu eHub (Malawi), an organization promoting youth business development in Malawi through incubation, investment support, digital skills training, and other support services. 
  • Sheria Kiganjani (Tanzania), a youth-focused organization using digital tools to connect low- and middle-income Tanzanians to legal services. 
  • Songambele (Tanzania), an organization working for the rights and economic empowerment of women and girls with disabilities. 

Read more about the Going Beyond Project, Partnering for Youth-led Future.

DOT and the Cisco Foundation Announce a Partnership to Develop a Youth-led Response to the Global Climate Challenge – DOT

DOT and the Cisco Foundation announce a partnership to develop a youth-led response to the global climate challenge

Responding to the calls to action from youth within DOT’s network across Africa and the Middle East – young people who are living through some of the worst impacts of the climate emergency – Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) today announces a new area of focus that leverages its proven, impact driven, youth-led model in response to the climate crisis. With support from the Cisco Foundation, young women and men will develop solutions that leverage digital tools, the creativity of young people and the power of DOT’s network of young leaders to increase community awareness and resilience to the local shocks and stresses caused by climate change.

The initial project will establish a foundation for solutions that can demonstrate, motivate and mobilize thousands of other young leaders of change and millions of citizens to take action that contributes to climate resilience in their own communities.

The ‘Youth-led Community Climate Awareness and Action’ project embraces the principles of digital inclusion, women’s empowerment and the belief in young people as leaders of change. DOT and Cisco believe that communities can experience an inclusive green transition when young people are empowered with the skills, tools and technology to lead in their communities. 

Over the next 12 months, DOT will consult with climate experts, co-design and digitize programmatic interventions with youth, run community-based pilots to test and verify a youth-led climate program and toolkit for dissemination in 2024. 

Building on a legacy of youth-led community development

The Youth-led Community Climate Awareness and Action project will be realized through DOT’s youth-led model, a unique model which mobilizes a movement of local youth, and empowers them with the skills, tools, and knowledge to lead community transformation. With over 20 years of proven impact, the model has reached 3 million community members.  

Deeply interconnected with livelihoods, human rights and inclusion, climate change is creating serious impacts to other global challenges. Young people, particularly young women, are incredibly vulnerable to climate change impacts. With the support of the Cisco Foundation, the project is rooted in the voices and lived realities of young people as witnessed in the DOT network. Addressing climate change is both an opportunity and a prerequisite for youth to thrive in an inclusive digital economy – DOT and Cisco will lead the way. 

DOT Founder and CEO, Janet Longmore, says: “At the heart of DOT’s mission, is the belief that young people — equipped with the knowledge, skills and the support and trust of the international development ecosystem — will apply their energy, creativity and impatience to lead community-based grassroots climate response at an incredible pace and scale. DOT has proven that one young person mobilized through skills, confidence and a network of support, working alongside governments, the private sector, civil society and their communities, can reach hundreds of others, increasing the collective resilience to local climate change shocks and stresses”.

She adds: “By creating a movement of digitally-savvy youth with the skills, confidence and attitudes to transform their communities, DOT has been working for 21 years to advance digital inclusion. This is why we are committed to extending our youth-led model to address the climate crisis. The model positions young women and men as climate champions who will build climate awareness among their peers and citizens, advocate for climate action, and innovate in the green economy. We are starting in Tanzania and Lebanon and we intend to scale to other countries in the Middle East and Africa”. 

A long-term partnership with the Cisco Foundation

DOT and Cisco have a long history collaboration. Starting 21 years ago, when the Cisco Foundation supported the initial development and implementation of the youth-led model, through the present day, the organizations have worked together in the Middle East, Africa, the USA, China and Mexico – driven by a shared belief in the potential of young people and the power of technology to lead responsible change.

Peter Tavernise, Climate Impact and Regeneration Portfolio lead of the Cisco Foundation, notes: “An effective response to climate change, and the reinforcing of climate action and resilience in all communities requires the efforts of everyone. We have always valued DOT’s channels to youth and the organization’s ability to engage young people as respected leaders who bring the creativity, concerns and the voices of youth to the table.”

Extending the hand, and power, of partnership, we welcome others with shared beliefs to join us in the Youth-Led Community Climate Awareness and Action initiative.