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“DOT delivering ReachUp! And StartUp! programs in Rwanda”
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“DOT delivering ReachUp! And StartUp! programs in Rwanda”

An international charity working in Rwanda is helping to improve the lives of disadvantaged people by supporting the development of entrepreneurial and technology skills, reports David Masengesho, a 25-year-old Commonwealth Correspondent from Kigali.

I am an intern at Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), a leading international NGO, headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, which enables people to access and apply information and communications technologies (ICT) to create education, economic and entrepreneurial opportunities.

DOT’s vision is to make these opportunities available to marginalized people, especially women and youth, as a way to eradicate poverty, vulnerability and gender inequality. DOT operates programs in 11 countries on 4 continents, including Canada, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Mexico and the United States.

It launched a Rwandan chapter in 2010, to deliver its economic programs: ReachUp! and StartUp! Under these programs, DOT trains and empowers university and college graduates (DOT interns and trainers) to become change agents in their community. These young men and women, in turn, train and build the capacity of youth and women in essential business and ICT skills.

In June 2010, DOT Rwanda deployed 15 trainers to the City of Kigali. Altogether 1,648 community beneficiaries were reached. The impact is remarkable: through gained confidence, business start-ups and jobs acquired.

A year later, this June, DOT Rwanda sent out a second cohort of interns, this time to 8 districts of the country. This team is composed of 20 university and college graduates different background, 14 males and 6 females aged between 23 and 30.  These interns have been offered a blend of online and face to face intensive training over a period 4 weeks before their deployment.

For the next nine months the DOT interns will be facilitating a Reach Up! program in empowerment, ICT and business to marginalized people of their communities, especially youth and women as tools to create successful and sustainable livelihoods.  Besides that, they will manage different projects, research, advocacy and coaching.

Following the experience from Kigali city, the ReachUp! program will impact the lives of many people in their respective communities.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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