Empowering Lives: DOT’s Progress in the EDISON Alliance 1 Billion Lives Challenge

As we embark on the fourth year of the EDISON Alliance, DOT is proud to report significant progress in our commitment to the 1 Billion Lives Challenge. This pledge, aimed at delivering digital literacy and 21st-century skills to marginalized communities and schools in Africa and the Middle East, has been a driving force for change. Join us as we celebrate our accomplishments, shed light on our impactful case studies, and advocate for the continued effort towards digital inclusion.

The EDISON Alliance Journey:

Since the kickoff at Davos in January 2021, the EDISON Alliance has been a platform for organizations like DOT to amplify progress and share ongoing activities. The alliance recognizes the need for diverse actors to come together, with a collective goal of reaching an additional 1 billion people by 2025. DOT has been a proud pledge maker, contributing to this noble cause by serving as a conduit to communities and leveraging the power of youth leadership.

Progress Update:

We are thrilled to announce that we are halfway towards our goal, impacting the lives of 450,000 people since January 2021. This remarkable achievement reflects the dedication and hard work of DOT and its partners, pushing the boundaries of digital inclusion and empowerment.

Case Study: Spotlight on DOT

Amid our collective success, one case study stands out—the impactful journey of the Daring to Shift project implemented by DOT in partnership with Global Affairs Canada. This 4-year project based in Jordan, Lebanon, Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda stands as a testament to the transformative potential of digital literacy, showcasing how people overcome challenges and embrace opportunities in the digital world. The project underscores the pivotal role of young women as catalysts for social and economic change within their communities, despite prevalent societal and cultural obstacles. By spotlighting the empowerment of young women and promoting digital literacy, the project aims to shift perceptions, attitudes and promote gender equity, ultimately reducing barriers to their inclusion in the digital age.

DOT’s Social Entrepreneurship program, as a part of Daring to Shift, supports young women and men to identify opportunities to make a difference in their communities and turn their business ideas into enterprises that address important social, environmental, education and systems-level challenges. Young women and men build their business skills alongside competencies in gender equality, technology and social innovation. When they complete the program, youth have a sustainable enterprise that is improving their own livelihoods and their communities. 

The Social Entrepreneurship program supported 364 youth in eight countries to establish successful social enterprises. Despite facing a global pandemic, DOT quickly pivoted with the Street Teams program, empowering 43 youth leaders in 10 countries to lead local COVID-19 responses. The success led to a second cohort focusing on post-pandemic community resilience, where over three-quarters of participants worked on projects benefiting women, and a third cohort focusing on Girls in ICT.

In 2020, a young entrepreneur named Glory, hailing from a farming community near Tanzania’s Serengeti plains, recognized the challenges faced by local herders during the rainy season when roads turned into mud, causing milk to rot and income loss. This inspired her to pitch the idea of Moow! Life Dairy Products to DOT’s social enterprise program. Alongside 19 other entrepreneurs across eight countries, she underwent training, mentorship, and secured a grant, allowing her to start a small factory, employ youth, and collaborate with local farmers.

Both the Social Entrepreneurship program and Street Teams program, are rooted in DOT’s belief in local insight, and aimed to empower young people with enduring expertise. Many of the programs initiated during the Daring to Shift project continue to thrive beyond the initiative.

Daring to Shift has not only celebrated numerical achievements but has become a testament to the power of grassroots innovation and social entrepreneurship. In the spirit of the EDISON Alliance, DOT takes pride in the substantial contributions made, where numbers not only quantify success but also symbolize the positive change DOT brings to communities. 

“The EDISON Alliance’s commitment to digital inclusion is grounded in trusting our youth, listening to their ideas, and fostering meaningful connections. Let’s not only celebrate the numbers but also recognize the behaviours that enabled our success—trust in youth, commitment to listening and co-design, and fostering connections through digital initiatives.”

– Janet Longmore, Founder and CEO of DOT

As we think about the progress in the EDISON Alliance, DOT stands out as a leader in  making digital inclusion a reality. DOT’s unique youth-led model continues to equip young women and men with the skills and networks to leverage technology and innovation to drive community, and systems level change for an inclusive digital economy. Looking forward, we’re working to get closer to the EDISON Alliance’s goal of reaching 1 Billion people and making a real impact in their lives. Join us on this journey, and together, let’s make a difference for many.

Check Out The Full Story Here: 

Inspiring Journeys from Daring to Shift Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives

About Digital Opportunity Trust

DOT is a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, with a ‘footprint’ across 12 countries. DOT has locally managed offices in Africa, the Middle East; Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Lebanon and Jordan; Canada and the UK. DOT’s presence extends to Ghana, Côte D’Ivoire, Malawi and Zambia through local partnerships with youth-led organizations. As a youth-led movement of daring social innovators who have the tools, knowledge, and networks to create opportunities and transform their communities, DOT has created an impact in over 25 countries as development innovators and catalysts placing youth at the centre of its activity to unlock their potential, bridge the digital divide across communities, and inspire young people to realize their potential in an inclusive digital economy.