Elly Owange

Unlocking Potential and Bridging the Digital Divide —Elly’s Story

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, possessing robust digital skills has become more than just a desirable trait, it is a necessity for thriving in the modern world. Whether you are a young individual fresh from high school, in campus studying, a new professional in the job market, or a budding entrepreneur, having digital skills opens up endless possibilities and empowers individuals to shape their future and adapt with new trends.

A growing demand for digital skills

As the age of digital transformation progresses, the demand for individuals with proficient digital skills is skyrocketing, and the statistics speak for themselves. In Kenya, 70% of jobs now require some level of digital proficiency. It is very common to see, ‘Computer-literate’ as a key qualification in job adverts. Furthermore, research shows that individuals with digital skills earn better wages than their peers lacking such expertise. It is abundantly clear that digital skills are not just a mere advantage, but an essential foundation for success in today’s world, paving the way for massive opportunities.

An opportunity to bridge the digital divide

I was delighted to become part of Digital Opportunity Trust Kenya (DOT Kenya) as a community leader, because their Daring to Shift project’s mission of equipping youths in the community with digital skills and career development training resonates with me. 

As mentioned earlier, the benefits of digital literacy are endless. Unfortunately, the majority of youths have no access or means of acquiring them. I saw being a community leader as an opportunity to assist in bridging this digital divide, by equipping fellow youths in my community with ICT and employment readiness skills, to enable them become productive individuals and excel as professionals, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Trained over 500 youth in Kilifi

In my role as a community leader, through collaboration with DOT Kenya’s partner centres like: Ajira Youth Empowerment Centre – Kilifi, Partners for Care – Watamu, Kenya National Library Service – Kilifi, and Youth Empowerment Centre – Gongoni, I have successfully provided training to over 500 youths within Kilifi County —a community I proudly belong in. Among the graduating participants, a large percentage are young women. These efforts have been instrumental in bridging the digital divide by providing valuable digital skills and knowledge to the youth, enabling them to excel in the digital space. 

Unlocking potential and transforming lives

As a result of the training, I have witnessed remarkable transformations in these young individuals, as they have gained self-confidence and embraced the digital realm, thereby creating opportunities for themselves. A large portion of the previously unemployed participants can now access a variety of job opportunities thanks to their newly acquired computer skills.

For instance, Japhet Nzai, a participant from Ajira Youth Empowerment Centre – Kilifi, developed a keen interest in Microsoft Excel after completing DOT Kenya’s Digital Skills Level 1 training. He applied the knowledge acquired in class, from modules such as “Computer as a Research Library” and “Develop Your Personal Vision” to enhance his skills in Excel. As a result, Japhet has successfully established a new source of income by working as a freelance Data Entry Officer online. His journey serves as a shining example of how digital skills can empower individuals to unlock new avenues of professional growth and economic independence.

Experiencing personal growth

From a personal standpoint, in my capacity as a community leader, I have acquired essential skills and knowledge that have greatly contributed to the advancement of my career. Through my participation in the, ‘Community Leader Learning Experience,’ I have gained increased self-assurance, which has opened doors to new opportunities. 

Additionally, throughout the two years, I have witnessed significant development in my public speaking and facilitation abilities, as well as honed my skills in mobilisation and acquired expertise in Monitoring & Evaluation. My experience at DOT Kenya has laid a solid foundation for my career, and I firmly believe that with these acquired skills, I am well-positioned to pursue even more promising prospects in the future. 

A digital future calls for digital skills

The job market of the future will be characterised by flexibility and adaptability. Traditional career paths may give way to more diverse and non-traditional forms of work, such as remote work, freelancing, and gig economy opportunities. Youth will need to develop a wide range of skills, such as critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and digital literacy in order to thrive in this dynamic environment. 

In conclusion, the future for youth lies in embracing digital skills as an essential foundation for success. By equipping themselves with digital competencies, they can navigate the evolving digital landscape, access diverse job opportunities, and create their own path towards a brighter future. With dedication, collaboration, and continued investment in digital skills training, we can shape a future where youth excel, innovate, and contribute to the digital world. Overall, the future holds immense potential for youth to shape their own paths, contribute to society, and create a better world.

Written by Elly Owange
Community Leader, DOT Kenya

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