Founder & CEO
Digital Opportunity Trust
Last week we launched a report: “From Model to Movement: Learning from Youth Leading Change”.
This is an important milestone for DOT: the report documents the key learnings and best practices that we have established as innovators in the development space – particularly in the area of youth-led development.
It also captures our strategy for evolving DOT’s program, impact, reach, and practices from a model to a movement.
This evolution is one that is based on more than 15 years of working closely with youth around the world – positioning young women and men as leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers who have a lasting positive impact in their community.
A youth movement is, undeniably, happening throughout the world. Young people are more tech-savvy, more active, and more connected than ever before. They have deep insight into the needs and challenges of their communities, and are best positioned to create solutions and opportunities. And, as role models, young leaders are an important inspiration to their peers – creating a ripple effect of personal transformation.
At DOT, we believe in the power of youth-led innovation. We believe that communities can be shaped by empowering youth to create sustainable initiatives that are inspired by community needs. And – we believe that social innovation is accelerated when supported by digital technology.
Youth are an untapped resource that can generate and drive growth and development in their own countries. Catalyzing a youth-led movement of leaders and innovators is key to unlocking this potential and power.
This requires not only a new way of thinking about development, but a fundamental shift away from developing models, projects and programs. For DOT, this means moving from a development model focused on youth as beneficiaries – which emphasizes service delivery, technical training, and projects that are designed and implemented for youth – to one where youth themselves are actively defining the challenges to be solved, and solutions are developed with youth and by youth.
We’re putting this into action. Our strategy for catalyzing this movement includes a number of key shifts in how we approach our work:
To make this a reality, DOT has embarked on a four-year journey based on this strategic framework of action, as well as investment in innovation. This means that we are focusing on:
- Innovation in program design (focused on leadership and social innovation, and mobile access);
- Digital solutions (digital channels to youth, platform thinking and peer-driven approaches);
- Replication (new business models to drive development); and
- Research and learning (building the evidence base and measuring impact).
As we continue this journey throughout 2018 and beyond, I look forward to sharing more with you about how we are innovating, testing, and learning towards our vision of communities shaped by daring social innovators.
You can read more about the evidence that supports this shift in “From Model to Movement: Learning from Youth Leading Change”.