A Young Community Leader Transforming Lives in Kisumu
As a young girl growing up in a rural community, I saw firsthand how no or limited access to technology can hinder one’s potential —especially amongst girls and young women who are most often left behind.
Joining DOT Kenya
In 2022, I was thrilled to get an opportunity at Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Kenya as a Community Leader. The aim was to inspire and empower the next generation of female role models; to pursue and develop their career in technology and become innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs. With support of DOT Kenya’s training program, I set out to provide hands-on training on basic digital skills, including computer literacy, internet usage, social media and online safety.
A challenging experience
At first, it was challenging to persuade some of the girls and young women to attend the training sessions. They were hesitant and skeptical about the benefits of digital literacy. However, I was determined to show them how digital skills could open up new opportunities, boost their confidence, and enhance their knowledge and career prospects. I believe that empowering women in tech is not just a nice thing to do, but a best practice. It is good for business, good for innovation, and good for society.
A positive impact
The training has been remarkably impactful. The girls and young women who participate in the program have not only gained new skills but also developed a newfound sense of confidence, self-esteem, and aspiration. Many of them have started using the internet to explore new career opportunities, connect with like-minded individuals, and even launch their own businesses. Majority of the participants, who are unemployed, are able to gain access to various job opportunities with their newly acquired computer skills. They now have the ability to create resumes, apply for jobs online and communicate with potential employers via email. Additionally, they can access online learning resources including webinars and online courses. This enables them to improve their knowledge and skills.
Successful young women
One of the successful participants I’m proud of is Jane, a student at Ujima Foundation. Through attending our training sessions, she was inspired to start her own blog as an Airbnb business agent. Using the skills she acquired through the program, she created a professional website, curated stunning visuals, and promoted her brand on social media. Today, she has attracted a significant following and established a well-known business. I am equally impressed by Daisy, who also attended our sessions at Tunza Dada Foundation. After gaining an understanding of social media platforms, she was able to secure a job as a social media manager for the foundation. She manages various social media accounts, including Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok. She creates engaging content, analyzes data, and effectively communicates with the target audience. Digital literacy has greatly helped her to stay informed on different trends, tools and other social media features, which she incorporates in the foundation’s social media strategy.
0ver 200 participants trained
I have successfully trained 254 young people in my community, within Kisumu County, in partnership with Ujima Foundation, Women in Enterprise Kenya, Tunza Dada Foundation, One Vibe Africa, Nyakach CBO and Dawn of Obunga CBO. 70% of my participants are young women, including those with disabilities. These efforts have helped in bridging the digital divide by empowering and equipping youth, especially young women, with digital skills.
Enhancing an inclusive digital economy
The power of technology is that it empowers individuals to explore their potential, which they may overlook sometimes. I’m grateful to DOT Kenya, for supporting me with the tools and resources that I need to create a positive impact in my community. Through the digital literacy training program, we are unlocking the potential of our girls and young women and equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in the digital age. A girl should never be afraid to be smart and a woman with a voice is my definition of a strong woman. As we work towards bridging the digital divide, I am proud to be part of the global effort to increase the participation of girls and young women in ICT.
Written by Alice Atieno Dambe
Community Leader, DOT Kenya