Harnessing the power of youth, Digital Opportunity Trust transforms young people into leaders of change as they coach their peers through technology, business, workforce readiness and entrepreneurial learning experiences.

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting

Location Data

Country-wideKitale, Eldoret, Kakamega, Kisumu, Nakuru, Kisii Nyamira, Migori, Molo, Nairobi, Makueni, Machakos, Mombasa, Kilifi, Bungoma, Kiambu, NyeriPeri-Urban, UrbanKenyaUgandaEthiopiaRwandaTanzaniaMexicoUnited Kingdom

The ReachUp! program was inaugurated in Kenya in July 2010 by Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT). The first phase ran from 2010 to 2013. The second phase began in 2013 and will run until 2017. The new phase incorporates the lessons learned in the previous phase. The program trains young Kenyan graduates referred to as interns to deliver empowerment, ICT and Financial Literacy curricula to individuals and small business owners in communities from which they hail. To become a DOT intern, young university or college graduates send in applications. The selected youth are put through an intense four-week training by DOT staff. The interns are trained in facilitation and training as well as 21st century skills for work including advanced ICT, teamwork, communications and advocacy. Through the training, the interns develop competencies in mentoring and coaching as well. This experience equips them as trainers as well as talented, experienced and in-demand professionals.

Following the training, the interns are deployed into communities to deliver empowerment and Financial Literacy Curricula and ICT knowledge to individuals and small business owners. The interns not only become trainers but mentors and coaches as well. The entire internship period lasts for 12 months after which the interns leave for employment or to start their own businesses. During the internship, interns receive a monthly stipend of KSHs 23 000, KSHs 6000 as transport allowance and KSHs 4000 for communication.

Community participants in the ReachUp! programs are picked from among the community members. In the current phase, they must be below 29 years of age and have at least completed secondary school. DOT has formed partnerships with other organizations on the ground that provide facilities like venues and the computers needed to carry out training for community members. These partners include other non-profits as well as government run technical training institutes in some areas. The training is free of charge and the participants are only required to carry basic learning materials such as a pen and a writing pad. Participants undergo an initial 5-week training that includes life skills, ICT and financial literacy modules after which they receive a certificate. Interested participants have the option of taking up either an employment course in the WorkUp! program or an entrepreneurship course in the StartUp! program. In WorkUp! they learn work place skills for 2 weeks, and then undergo individual coaching for another 7 weeks. These include writing resumes and getting job linkages. Those who opt for StartUp! take a 10-week business course followed by coaching as they establish small enterprises of their own.

In order to enrich the internship, DOT has created an alumni association for the graduates that complete the program. The Association offers mentoring, professional networking and coaching opportunities. Through the association, members are connected to executive mentors, private sector partners, job opportunities, business coaches and financial opportunities for entrepreneurial ventures.

ReachUp! provides university graduates with leadership and business skills so that they can deliver technology, business, and workforce readiness skills training to young people in their own communities.

Un-employed and under-employed college and university graduates are hired from the communities where DOT works and provided with intensive skills training in business, entrepreneurship, and technology before heading back to their own communities to coach their peers and neighbors in technology and entrepreneurship basics.

Each young person that DOT recruits to facilitate programming is engaged for 10 months, during which time they receive ongoing professional development and leadership training – equipping them to graduate from DOT as talented, in-demand young professionals.

Over 10 months, these young leaders coach hundreds of their peers and neighbors to identify opportunities around them and integrate both technology and an entrepreneurial spirit into their lives and livelihoods.

The program provides Interns with the tools to help them build successful and sustainable livelihoods while using the participants to to transfer entrepreneurial and ICT skills to their communities and therefore widening the impact.Community participants often expect to be paid to attend the DOT training programs. Because DOT lacks the finance resources to meet this expectation, some members drop out before completion of training. Lack of computers for use after training.

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