In the bustling markets of Rwanda, the Community Leadership pillar of the Daring to Shift project by The Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) and funded by the Global Affairs of Canada(GAC) stands as a beacon of transformation. This dedicated initiative has been instrumental in supporting small and informal business owners, addressing a formidable challenge they often face—how to leverage technology to enhance their career and business outcomes.
Empowerment Through Digital Competence:
The Community Leadership Program has been a catalyst for empowering young Business Coaches and Digital Champions also known as Community Leaders and participants by equipping them with critical competencies essential for success in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. It goes beyond mere ICT literacy, incorporating gender equality awareness, entrepreneurship skills, and the indispensable 21st-century skills necessary to thrive in the digital age.
Moreover, the program focuses on building connections. Participants not only develop their skills but also join networks of peers, mentors, and business coaches. This exchange of experiences is invaluable in Rwanda’s dynamic business landscape, empowering young men and women to develop crucial digital skills and apply them to create businesses that meet local needs and contribute to value chains.
Individuals Making a Difference:
Veronique Kamaraba, was the community leader deployed in Kamonyi District, Southern Province , during her engagement of 9 months with DOT Rwanda, Veronique made a significant impact by imparting essential knowledge in business and digital literacy to 69 (52f, 17m) young women and men with small businesses. Her contribution laid the groundwork for transforming their understanding and application of digital skills in their businesses.
Faustin Ngirabakunzi, on a mission to empower aspiring entrepreneurs in Nyagatare District, played a pivotal role. He served as a guide, equipping individuals with crucial digital skills necessary for navigating the modern world. His support spanned various areas, including establishing a strong online presence, implementing effective digital marketing strategies, and optimizing e-commerce platforms.
Umurerwa Hyacinthe, equipped with essential skills in effective communication and presentation, embraced the transformative journey. Her experience as a Digital Champion and Business coach under the Daring to Shift program bolstered her confidence, providing her with real-world practice opportunities that further honed her skills.
Transforming Youth Employment:
The Community leadership Program emerged as a transformative force amid Rwanda’s decade-high youth unemployment rate. By providing young graduates with vital digital skills, the program addresses the pressing issue of unemployment while cultivating a digitally proficient workforce crucial for Rwanda’s future economic growth and global competitiveness.
The impact of the Community Leadership Program is evident in the success stories of 136 (85 females, 51 males) youth, such as Veronique, Faustin, Hycinthe, and others, who secured further opportunities. This led to a significant average income increase of 30% for the households they belong to, demonstrating the practical and measurable impact of employment on livelihoods.
These stories illustrate the profound impact of empowering youth with digitally relevant skills. They highlight the program’s crucial role in preparing young individuals to excel in today’s dynamic job market, ultimately driving economic growth and fostering employability.
DOT’s Community Leadership Program is not just an initiative; they are the engine of transformation, driving economic empowerment and societal progress in Rwanda. Through skill-building, mentorship, and tangible employment opportunities, these programs are shaping a future where the youth are not just prepared for the digital age but are thriving and leading the charge toward a more prosperous Rwanda. The success stories of Veronique, Faustin, Hyacinthe, and many others are testaments to the impact these programs have had on individuals, families, and the community at large. They’re not just stories of achievement but beacons of hope and inspiration for Rwanda’s bright future.