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.
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CEI approaches in actionStudent supportMentorship/internship/job placementSkills for WorkVocational/technical skills
Model details2013Not-for-profit21st century skills (soft skills)Entrepreneurship skillsInformation and Communications Technology (ICT)Vocational/technical skillsActiveLong-term projectFree service or product160,80050%50%
The interns are deployed in areas such as Mathare and Kangemi in Nairobi where income levels are the lowest. The program participant selection process is skewed towards selecting participants who are not likely to proceed with their education in any other way.
Through targeted recruitment of DOT young leaders from marginalized communities and strategic partners, DOT programming reaches many of the poorest communities. DOT then invests these young people back into their home communities to reach their peers and neighbors. DOT young leaders recruit their peers and neighbors to become DOT program participants through their personal and professional networks, but also through community-based organizations. These community-based organizations often provide services to disadvantaged members of their community, including young mothers, people with mental or physical disabilities, and individuals with current or former convictions.
Scale333In 2014 we had 333 Young Program Facilitators who delivered DOT Programs in 2014. These Facilitators delivered DOT programs to 24,300 youth in their communities.156DOT works with 156 partner organizations who provide training venues, computer labs and support participant recruitment to ensure efficient delivery of DOT programs throughout the countries within which DOT operates.December, 2014
In 2002, with core support from Cisco, the DOT model was developed and implemented in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Ethiopia and Kenya. Cisco and DOT also partnered to bring the DOT model into the southern United-States after Hurricane Katrina; Sichuan, China, after the earthquake of 2008; and Mexico, to support educational policy transformations. In 2008, IBM reached out to DOT to deliver their Corporate Service Corps (CSC) program – a leadership development program for IBM’s best and brightest. In 2010, DOT programming was scaled in Kenya and Rwanda with support from The MasterCard Foundation, and was later replicated to Uganda and Tanzania with support from the Government of Canada. In 2012, DOT UK was established to deliver DOT programming to inner-city youth in East London and in 2014, DOT and an Indigenous youth-led organization have partnered to deliver DOT programming to Indigenous youth in Canada.
The DOT model is youth-led and is driven by a peer-to-peer delivery method that empowers young people to deliver DOT programming to their peers. One DOT young leader reached 200 of their peers, with impressive results: 90% of DOT young leaders find employment; and 70% of their peers improve family incomes after DOT programming. To date, over 4,500 DOT young leaders have empowered 800,000 of their peers and community members.
In the previous phase, the program was focused on reaching as many community members as possible and thus managed to train over 70 000 community members in just 2 years. The current phase of the program is focused on quality and will therefore scale down the numbers in order to achieve this. The program targets to reach about 15000 community members in 4 years but with the expectation that majority of those that will undergo the training will either get employed or establish businesses thus realizing more positive impact.
DOT plans to deepen impact in our countries of operation, providing young people with longer-term support in finding productive livelihoods and becoming life-long learners.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
- Baseline survey to know the starting point of the program in order to accurately measure outcomes after the program
- Midterm evaluation to ensure that the program is on course
- End of program survey to measure impact
DOT’s Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Strategy is built on the core principle of measuring cumulative transformation – at the individual, community and partner organization levels. The main objectives of DOT’s M&E Strategy are to measure performance against results, facilitate organizational development and learning, and recognize and celebrate achievements.
A results framework identifies those outcomes that DOT aims to achieve and outlines key indicators. Data is collected through both quantitative and qualitative methods including surveys, focus groups and blogging. Collected data is analyzed by DOT management at the global and country levels, and is integrated into all program-planning processes. Lessons learned are also identified and analyzed on a regular basis to allow for real-time changes to programming. Cross-country learning is facilitated through the DOT platform. DOT has also benefited from the findings of external evaluations that have tested and accepted DOT’s M&E results. Collected data is used to report against progress on targeted results within partnerships with country governments, stakeholders and donors.
The DOT ICT quotient, which is based on a set of 10 ICT skills that participants assess themselves on at the beginning and end of the program increased in the range of 50% in Ethiopia to 84% in Tanzania. The entrepreneurship quotient recorded similar increases in participant skills and knowledge, ranging from a 21% increase in Uganda to a 44% increase in Rwanda.
64% of participants say their decisions have better results, 57% have a stronger network of peers (social capital) and 40% are more involved in household decision making after their graduation from ReachUp!
72% of participants say their income has increased since participation in ReachUp!
20% of participants are employed post ReachUp!
30% of participants own a business post ReachUp!