Ottawa, Canada, July 12, 2023 — Digital Opportunity Trust and the Mastercard Foundation are partnering to support over 300,000 young women and men to gain relevant entrepreneurial skills and foster a network ecosystem of support for young leaders.
The “Going Beyond – Partnering for a Youth-Led Future” project aims to scale DOT’s evidence-based, peer-to-peer model and will be executed in four African countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania. The linkage to DOT’s model ensures comprehensive digital and business skills training, leadership development, coaching, peer-to-peer learning, and networking.
The Going Beyond project will foster a network ecosystem of support for young leaders with the aim of improving their quality of life and building their resilience, agency, and amplifying their voice. Notably, the project will also introduce a leaner, more scalable model for long-term, transformational change by fostering a community of practice among a continuously expanding ecosystem of partners.
Over five years, and with the support of DOT regional hubs in Africa, the Going Beyond project will progressively transfer the responsibility for delivering DOT’s programs and equip youth as leaders of the future through a three-pronged approach:
- Strengthening the capacity of 40 local youth-led and youth-led organizations (YLOs) to deliver high-quality digital livelihoods programming.
- Training and supporting 4,000 young people (Youth Leaders) under the guidance of YLOs as digital business coaches and facilitators to deliver locally appropriate and culturally relevant digital inclusion and enterprise growth programs to their peers.
- Training 300,000 disadvantaged young people with nascent Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in digital and entrepreneurship skills, 70 percent of whom are young women.
Most importantly, the project places young people at the center of the solution, tapping into their creativity, energy, and passion for making a difference; going beyond conventional development practices and extending impact to new countries for both organizations, without the need to establish and operate new offices.
“The Going Beyond program, which will harness the power of young people to lead community-driven solutions and create and obtain dignified and fulfilling work in four countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia – is an opportunity to tell a compelling story of youth leadership and capacity to transform Africa – and to catalyze the adoption of youth-led approaches across the continent,” says Janet Longmore, Founder and CEO, Digital Opportunity Trust
Violette Uwamutara, Regional Vice President of Africa, Digital Opportunity Trust agrees, “DOT is excited to serve as regional hubs for this project and build a network of connected individuals, organizations and MSMEs that share knowledge, support each other and shift the mindsets of their peers, communities and systems – trusting youth as the leaders of community transformation and our future.”
The ‘Going Beyond’ project aligns with the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy, which aims to enable 30 million young people in Africa to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030, particularly young women. It extends the impact beyond youth in work to advance youth leadership, digital skills, gender equality, and women’s empowerment.
Africa’s youth population represents a significant pool of human capital that can drive economic growth and social progress. Young people have the potential to be at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship in high-growth sectors such as technology, climate-smart agriculture, and renewable energy. Women and girls, in particular, can play a crucial role as powerful agents of change in their communities, contributing to economic growth and social progress.
Despite being a youthful continent, Africa faces significant challenges in harnessing the potential of its youth population. The continent has the highest youth unemployment rate globally – 20.8 percent in 2020 – more than 2.5 times higher than the adult unemployment rate. This situation is particularly dire for young women.
“Going Beyond is designed to envision young people as leaders in their communities, and we believe that a combination of YLO capacity building, locally appropriate 21st-century skills, entrepreneurship, and MSME support will be an effective means of bringing this vision to life while addressing youth employment in the four countries this project will be executed in. In addition, Going Beyond’s work, which is also in line with the Young Africa Works strategy, will help young women and men find dignified and meaningful work,” adds Reeta Roy, President and CEO, Mastercard Foundation.
When applied in this way, the youth-led model equips young people with market-relevant technical skills and the confidence to secure, sustain and thrive in the 21st-century working world, in turn creating a ripple effect of change in communities across the African continent, with young entrepreneurs becoming catalysts for broader behavioral change and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.
This article was originally published by Mastercard Foundation.