Meet the distinguished speakers at Catalyzing Change Week 2022

This week marks the start of the 3rd Catalyzing Change Week 2022 (CCW2022), and we are pleased to introduce the distinguished delegation of staff, youth and leaders from the development impact ecosystem. 

DOT’s speaker lineup consists of staff, youth and decision makers from Africa and the Middle East. The panelists, are passionate about gender equality, youth empowerment and digital transformation. Their range of expertise includes bridging the gender digital divide, social entrepreneurship, youth-led development, youth employment and ICT. 

The theme of Catalyzing Change Week 2022 is “Let’s Re-Energize the SDGs” build around three catalysts of systemic change; Amplify, Accelerate and Action.

DOT’s back-to-back 2 session engagement includes a Policy Roundtable Discussion on Inclusive Systems, and how governments, funders and the private sector can work together to build more inclusive systems; and a Joint Panel Discussion, facilitated by DOT’s IMAB; building a dialogue between young social entrepreneurs and funders from the impact ecosystem to close the funding gap. 

Meet Our Distinguished Panel Featured in the Inclusive Systems Policy Roundtable

Hamza Shraideh, Jordan, Moderator

“With inclusive digital transformation, we improve the availability, accessibility and adoption of digital technologies particularly  among vulnerable communities.”

Hamza Al-Shraideh is the Country Director of Digital Opportunity Trust Jordan; he previously worked on several youth projects building the capacity of youth and supporting them through an ecosystem of youth innovators as part of the King Abdullah II Fund for Development and the Madrasati initiative. He brings experience in developing social enterprises and supporting the creation and expansion of youth-led initiatives. Hamza also holds a MSc in International Management and Leadership Innovation.

Waad All Amro

“Digital Inclusion needs to be treated as a priority and not a privilege”

Waad Al Amro is a young energetic and highly sociable lady from Jordan. She is a visionary young leader and an active participant in DOT Jordan’s upskilling programs. Waad is anticipating joining the workforce in the near future. She is passionate about leading change in her community and played a key role during DOT Jordan’s launch of Dare to Shift program. She is currently a participant of the Impact Sourcing for Apprenticeship Opportunities funded by UNICEF. Waad is also a DOT Global Youth Leadership Advisory Board member, representing Jordanian youth. 

Dr. Ehud Gachugu,PhD.,HSC

“To succeed in the digital economy, youth have to be at the center of the conversation. This is about the future of work.”

Dr. Ehud is an expert on Youth Employment and Skills Development. He has over 20 years of professional and technical experience in youth employment programs in Kenya and abroad. Currently, the Director of Ajira Digital project at Kenya Private Alliance, a Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs project, funded by Mastercard Foundation. He is also, the Technical lead of KEPSA’s youth employment work that spans across the area like digital economy, TVET Development, Entrepreneurship, Youth Labour Intermediation Services, Research and Thought Leadership. Prior to this Ehud worked for a USAID Kenya Youth Employment and Skills (KYES) Project implemented by Research Triangle Institute, World Bank Kenya Youth Empowerment Project (KYEP) implemented by KEPSA. He also worked as an Executive Director of Eastleigh Community Centre, an NGO that supports livelihood development and job creation for youth in Nairobi.

Giorgia Varisco

“We need to provide vulnerable young people, with the opportunities that digital transformation can bring, in terms of learning, connecting and working”

Giorgia Varisco is Chief of the Youth and Adolescent Section in UNICEF Jordan, leading UNICEF’s efforts on the adolescent and youth empowerment, gender equality and supporting the digital transformation agenda to support youth with digital learning and skills for the future of work, with the view to also propel adolescent and youth in the gig economy, whilst addressing the gender digital divide. Ms. Varisco has over 18 years of experience in the development sector, and has worked across MENA, southern Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe on issues related to youth empowerment and socio-economic development with a number of UN organizations. Giorgia is passionate about the gender equality and youth empowerment. Furthermore, she is passionate about expanding the universe of partners who share the same purpose, and finding innovative solutions for at scale impact.

Dr. Fekade Getahun

“By the end of 2025, 70% of the population has to be digitally literate [in Ethiopia’s Digital Strategy]”

Fekade Getahun (PhD) in Computer Science, has an extensive working experience working as ICT Project Manager, ICT advisor, digital service leader, consultant, lecturer, and researcher. Since 2010, Fekade has been actively involved in e-government service development such as development of a generic government transactional e-service platform, portal and decision support system development, government strategy/ roadmap development, etc. Recently, Fekade has been working in the Digital Transformation Program and is contributing for the realization of the digital Ethiopia 2025. He started working as senior strategic advisor focused mainly on e-government and as lead of the digital service unit.

Peter Ulanga

“The government invested into key infrastructure, an ICT backbone stretching 15,000 kilometers, we opened the market for competition, set up the legal and regulatory policy to ensure access of all participants in the ICT sector.”

Peter is a seasoned Telecommunications/ICT professional with over 25 years of experience in operations, regulation and provision of ICT services in rural and underserved areas. In 2009, he was appointed as the first CEO to set up the Universal Communications Service Access Fund of Tanzania (UCSAF) and start its operations. The position he served for 10 years, before moving to his current role of Director General for Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation. Peter is a Senior Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and he is a registered Professional Engineer with the Engineers Registration Board (ERB) of Tanzania. He volunteers part-time teaching at the University of Dar es Salaam.

Meet Our Inspiring Panelists focuses on Closing the Funding Gap

Vickie Wambura (Moderator), Entrepreneur

“Building a knowledge, building the right networks. We have relationships. The most powerful thing we’ve got is our relationships – the people”

Global IMAB Co-Chair, Vickie, founded Nafisika Trust in 2011, which works to reduce the rate of recidivism in Kenya’s prisons by focusing on rehabilitation. Vickie designed the Makini Awards Programme, which recognizes and commemorates the prison service. In recognition of her work and transformative approach, she was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2013, awarded the Mandela- Washington Fellowship in 2014 and the International Associate status by Wagner College, New York in 2014. 

Evans Okinyi, Funder

“You’ve got to invest in knowledge. Knowledge is power. [Entrepreneurs] have to be inwardly prepared with knowledge and outwardly prepared with knowledge. Understand the gap you are addressing and driven by your passion, and understand your market opportunities and your audience and what you need internally.”

Evans Okinyi is the CEO of the East Africa Philanthropy Network, EAPN, a regional network of over 50 organizations developing and nurturing philanthropy in East Africa. He is a seasoned Non-Profit Executive, with over 9 years progressive experience in Networks Management, Policy Formulation & Implementation and Stakeholders & Partnerships Management. He is passionate about collaboration and partnerships towards social transformation through leadership and membership development; and oversees the network’s mission of fostering a local giving and resource mobilization culture through effective grant-making, advocacy and networking. Evans has worked to advance progressive growth in the philanthropy sector. He has worked to build capacity, credibility and practices of various development actors to support local giving and effective grant-making. Mr. Okinyi is passionate about advancing systems change and transformation. He holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Economic Policy Management from the University of Nairobi and BSc degree in Agri-Economics from Egerton University. 

Madonna Kendona, Funder

“Understand, if there are opportunities within that landscape; very much tied to your network, having the rights mentors, having the right peers. Knowing who’s doing what. There’s always a way to collaborate.”

Madonna is the Director of Programs at Women First International Fund. She is an international development expert with a background in economics, women’s rights, philanthropy, ethical fashion and social entrepreneurship. Before joining Women First, Madonna worked at the African Women’s Development Fund. As Program Lead at AWDF, she was responsible for Leading from the South, a ground-breaking €20 million grantmaking initiative for women’s rights advocacy in Africa and the Middle East. She has a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and French from the University of Ghana. 

Nima Kassim, Entrepreneur

“Ever since I started my organization in 2018, I was using my own savings to my venture. I was using my own pocket money… it is very hard for startups to secure funding. We had to revisit our organization and ask ‘Are we grant ready’.

Nima holds a Bachelor Degree in Journalism (Public Relations and Marketing) from the United States International University – Africa in Nairobi. She chose to study Communication and Journalism to utilize the power of communication and information to create a transformative social change. Nima is a champion for Gender Equality, Human Rights and Social Justice. She is the Founder of the Hijabi Mentorship Program (THMP). The Hijabi Mentorship Program is a registered Community Based Organization formed in 2018 that addresses Gender Based Violence (GBV), Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Peace and Conflict Resolution. THMP promotes Economic empowerment amongst vulnerable young people in Kwale County, Kenya with a specific focus on women.

Mercy Kiptui, Entrepreneur

“When you are a startup you need to be strategic in when you want to raise funds, you need to have your house in order. Are you in a good place to use those funds? The process should be structured to build, raise, build, raise. Those that build to raise, and those that raise to exist.”

Mercy is the founder of an online platform that showcases work by local beauticians and stylists. Nywele Nyumbani promotes its beauticians and stylists on Instagram and Facebook where clients book for services. They select a date and time and know the cost of service beforehand. On the day of the appointment, the stylist arrives at the appointed time and begins the consultation and work. At Afterwards, they rate the stylist along with the work done and pay for the services. Nywele Nyumbani earns a commission of the labour fees paid to the stylist. Mercy and her team endeavour to train their stylists on using online platforms and tools. In hopes that it will improve standards and stylist ratings on the platform. 

Jackson Karara, Entrepreneur

“We made annual performance based goals, we broke them down into quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. We have weekly deliverables… this has  speed up our deliverables and made us more streamlined.”

Jackson Karara is the Founder and Managing Director of URUHIMBI KAGEYO COOPERATIVE (UKC) which provides a unique and wholesome hydroponic produce that is qualitative, cost-effective, and sustainable. UKC works by conserving the environment in harmony with respect to nature in producing quality, specialty animal feeds. UKS works within the supply chain to then supply local animal husbandry and animal feed shops across Rwanda. The soilless vertical technology has enabled small and medium livestock farmers access to affordable and nutritious animal feed year round. Guaranteeing their economic returns and building sustainable agriculture practices and methodologies. 

Are you our next Community Leader, Digital Champion, or Social Innovator? Learn more about how to join #DOTYouth

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