Speaking Out, Reaching Out: Digital Opportunity Trust and the Mastercard Foundation Team Up to Investigate African Youth and the Pandemic

Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) is announcing the successful completion of Speaking Out, Reaching Out – a youth-led investigation,  in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation that looks into the impact of the pandemic on youth in Africa.

In 2020, DOT and the Mastercard Foundation sought to understand the dynamics and drivers of resilience among African youth. The investigation committed to enable youth to be the voice of their own stories and experience. 

Together, the two youth-oriented organizations mobilized 46 youth investigators in 5 African countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda. Speaking Out, Reaching Out captured the voices of over 1,500 youth demonstrating resilience, creativity and innovation in the face of the pandemic and post-pandemic recovery.

On March 14th, 2022, DOT hosted the Speaking Out, Reaching Out Youth Summit, which focused on exploring the findings from the investigation, showcased stories of youth resilience, and the solutions and youth recommendations for building back better together. 

Inspired by the findings from the investigation – the #DOTYouthSummit featured a dialogue with DOT Rwanda Country Director and Africa Regional Advisor Violette Uwamutara, Program Lead, Youth Engagement at the Mastercard Foundation, and youth from Africa on the importance of targeted support with a digital-first approach to the post-pandemic recovery.

The pandemic has amplified global inequalities and has exacerbated challenges in the core areas of DOT’s work: – Youth. Women. And Digital. The summit leveraged the youth-generated findings and recommendations to lead discussions and co-create collective action towards digital inclusion and inclusive recovery. 

The pandemic recovery will need to bring together a diverse range of stakeholders: Youth with their resilience, innovation and creativity; and organizations like DOT and the Mastercard Foundation with their dedication to equipping young women with 21st-century skills, leveraging digital technology and building an ecosystem that enables entrepreneurs. 

DOT Rwanda Country Director and Africa Regional Advisor Violette Uwamutara said: “At a time when our world is shifting to a digital-first approach for accessibility, inclusivity and safety, we need youth front and center. We are so proud to be a long-standing partner with a like-minded organization like the Mastercard Foundation, which shares our commitment to youth, women, and sustainable impact.”

DOT is approaching 20 years of supporting, at scale, underserved young people to overcome the digital divide, to realize their potential in an inclusive digital economy through digital literacy, 21st-century skills and building self-confidence. DOT, with its youth-led model, trusts in the potential of youth, and believes in the power of  technology and local leadership as essential for the post-pandemic recovery in sub-Saharan Africa. 

In the first Speaking Out, Reaching Out Report; Youth tell their stories in their voices, but they also demonstrate the potential to adapt and transform, and they position themselves as solution providers.

DOT, as a trusted channel to youth in underserved and disadvantaged communities in Africa and the Middle East, is poised to act on the recommendations of youth to building back better, together.

Please fill out the below form to get access to the first Speaking Out Reaching Out Report

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About Digital Opportunity Trust

Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) is an international non-profit organization headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, with locally-managed offices in Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) is a youth-led movement that mobilizes and inspires all underserved and disadvantaged young people with digital literacy, 21st-century skills and the self-confidence that will enable them to thrive in an inclusive digital economy. For more information please visit: www.dotrust.org

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management. For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org

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