On Thursday August 23, 2012, the DOT Kenya team was privileged to host a high profile delegation from the MasterCard Foundation comprising of: His Excellency Festus G. Mogae, former president of Botswana; President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation, Ms. Reeta Roy; CFO of the MasterCard Foundation, Ms. Peggy Woo; and Janet Longmore, President and CEO of Digital Opportunity Trust, for observation of the “Scaling ReachUp!” program, funded by the MasterCard Foundation.
On Thursday August 23, 2012, the DOT Kenya team was privileged to host a high profile delegation from the MasterCard Foundation comprising of: His Excellency Festus G. Mogae, former president of Botswana; President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation, Ms. Reeta Roy; CFO of the MasterCard Foundation, Ms. Peggy Woo; and Janet Longmore, President and CEO of Digital Opportunity Trust, for observation of the "Scaling ReachUp!" program, funded by the MasterCard Foundation.
The high profile delegation was hosted at the Nyaga Youth Polytechnic, a DOT Kenya partner and training center in Kiambu County. The group actively observed a half-hour ReachUp! class in session, facilitated by Makena Kananua and AnnRose Ng'endo, both DOT Kenya Interns. In particular, the guests were enthused with the keenness of the participants to learn about the business, budgeting and cash flow basics module, which also incorporates the application of computer skills, specifically the use of Excel spreadsheets to compile, analyze, track and even forecast budgets. It was interesting to observe that all the participants had the ability and confidence to navigate the Excel sheets and compute a sample three months business budget with the help of their facilitators.
The guests observe a ReachUp! class in session.
Eager to understand the impact of the ReachUp! program, The MasterCard Foundation delegation had a brief interactive session with the participants who freely shared their experiences before and after joining the ReachUp! program. Regina Wamuyu, one of the participants and a victim of Kenya's 2007/2008 Post Election Violence, explained that she had lost hope in life when her home and business were burnt down during the chaos but all this changed when her neighbor told her about DOT's unique ReachUp! training at the polytechnic, which she joined immediately. "Joining the ReachUp! program has greatly improved my self-worth and helped me start a new business of selling second-hand track suits, I do not want to imagine how my life would be, if I had not encountered DOT," said Regina, who is now able to provide for her young family.
Six of the ReachUp! participants as well as a former Intern and one current DOT Kenya Field Officer also showcased their small business, which they had either started or improved tremendously as a result of the knowledge acquired from the ReachUp! curriculum. The guests were especially captivated by Michael Nyoro's online business. Michael, former DOT Intern at the Nyaga Youth Polytechnic and a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Maseno University joined DOT Kenya as a ReachUp! Intern from September 2009 - May 2010. After his internship, Michael and his friends established a firm called ScreeNet Technologies that offers timely, innovative and creative computer solutions, including a signature product: Afrimall Online Mall http://www.afrimall.net/ a first in Kenya and The African's premier online shopping platform consisting of e-commerce stores interlinked and accessed through a single portal-web address.
Michael, a former DOT Intern, showcases his online business to the guests.
In their interaction with five of the DOT Interns present during the visit, both Reeta Roy, CEO and President of the MasterCard Foundation and His Excellency Festus G. Mogae, noted that they were very enthusiastic about the long-standing partnership between the MasterCard Foundation and DOT, noting the MasterCard Foundation is evaluating and consolidating some of the key impacts, results, areas of improvement, and learnings that that have been achieved through partnership with DOT, not only in Kenya but in Rwanda too.
In her remarks, MasterCard Foundation CEO Reeta Roy said, "When we first came to Kenya, the DOT program was very small, and were very impressed by the ability of the model to scale and the value of young well educated people making a commitment to do something for others in their communities." Ms. Roy also commended the DOT Kenya Interns for their commitment to empowering and mentoring young people towards better livelihoods and reiterated on the MasterCard Foundation's commitment to supporting the growth of the DOT program model.
DOT's CEO and President Janet Longmore expressed gratitude to The MasterCard Foundation delegation for their commitment to supporting DOT's mission and expressed that DOT will continuously collaborate with the MasterCard Foundation to seek solutions to the challenges facing young people.