In 2019, a ground-breaking initiative known as “Daring to Shift” began to take root in various communities across Africa and the Middle East. This transformative multinational project was orchestrated by the Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), and its impact over four years has been nothing short of remarkable in Rwanda and other countries of its operations.
Empowering a Generation:
Daring to Shift was made possible through a powerful partnership with the Government of Canada (GAC). Its primary goal was to empower the future by investing in the youth of today. Over the course of four years, the project became a beacon of hope and a catalyst for positive change in the regions it served.
The heart of this innovative endeavor was the empowerment of over 136 (85 females and 51 males) young local community leaders, with a special emphasis on young women as agents of change. The project’s reach extended far beyond these leaders, however, as it touched the lives of more than 7,535 (5391 females and 2144 males) community beneficiaries, with 70% of them being women.
At the core of Daring to Shift was a commitment to equipping these young leaders with essential skills, preparing them for a rapidly changing world. These skills encompass digital literacy, workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and social innovation. The project aimed to catalyze the creation of digital jobs, businesses, and local enterprises that addressed community-specific needs and value chains.
This holistic approach recognized that young people, as co-designers of their own futures, play a pivotal role in driving inclusive growth, fostering resilience, and enabling community recovery. It was a response to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, where the need for innovation and adaptability became more critical than ever.
Bridging the Gender Divide:
One of the most significant achievements of Daring to Shift was its commitment to bridging the gender divide. By empowering young women with the skills and confidence to take the lead, the project transformed ecosystems and promoted social and economic development. It became a beacon of hope, especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, as it demonstrated the power of community-driven change.
Stories of Success:
The impact of Daring to Shift can be best understood through the inspiring stories of participants like
Rutagungira Wilson/Entrepreneur/Project Beneficiary:
Wilson is a project’s beneficiary from the Northern region. He said that “DOT Rwanda had played a vital role in his career like acquiring the my entrepreneurship and digital literacy skills to boost his business. Now,He can strategically prepare his own business plan, ensuring a clear vision, identifying competitive advantages, and formulating action plans. With financial concepts and practices in place, He is able to effectively manage his cash flow and make informed decisions for sustainable growth.
Vestine Mukayiranga/Entrepreneur/Project Beneficiary:
Vestine is a project’s beneficiary from the southern region., She gained skills and knowledge, including how to use social media for marketing and business plan financial projections. She can assess her business’s financial performance through a cash flow worksheet, and her understanding on business registration & taxation has been elevated.
Noella Ufiteyesu/Entrepreneur/Project Beneficiary:
Noella is a talented tailor, who had faced numerous challenges in her business before joining DOT Rwanda‘s training programs. However, after participating in Daring to Shift, she acquired diverse skills, including digital marketing, innovation, creativity, effective money management, market research on social media, excellent customer care, increased confidence, and strategic thinking. These newfound abilities transformed her business and inspired her to expand her tailor shop, with the goal of extending her business to the neighboring countries like Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and encouraging other young women to pursue careers in tailoring.
“Daring to Shift” stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when a vision is realized through collaboration, innovation, and the unwavering belief in the potential of young leaders. It has not only transformed the lives of individuals but has also served as a powerful catalyst for progress, equality, and resilience in the face of adversity. This project represents a testament to the incredible impact that can be made when we dare to invest in the dreams and potential of the youth.