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Happy partners pinting up as a sign of Going Beyond Partners Annoncement_ Group Photo _DOT x _The Mastercard Foundation

Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) and the Mastercard Foundation are proud to reveal the six new partner organizations named to the “Going Beyond – Partnering for a Youth-Led Future” project. As the first partners, Hakizetu, Her Initiative, MHub, Mzuzu eHub, Sheria Kiganjani and Songambele will expand the reach and impact of the Going Beyond project in Africa.

Over the next several years, DOT will work with youth-serving organizations in four African countries to train 300,000 young people in technology and business skills critical to their livelihoods. The partner organizations in Malawi and Tanzania that were announced Friday have established operations in these countries and have already impacted tens of thousands of individuals to date.

Each of these organizations shares the core mission of Going Beyond, which is to help young people in Africa access dignified jobs and live purposeful lives by equipping them with 21st century skills for entrepreneurship and employment. Two of these organizations – Sheria Kiganjani and Hakizetu – focus specifically on the economic and social empowerment of young women, and one – Songambele – works to create economically independent lives for young people with disabilities. These organizations will help Going Beyond reach a diverse range of participants, scaling up the possible impact of the program and ensuring that no young person is left behind because of circumstances or stereotypes. 

“These first partner organizations are setting the tone for the skill, enthusiasm, and passion for change that we want to see in all the organizations we partner with. Together, we are co-creating a new future for young people in Africa,” says Violette Uwamutara, DOT’s Vice President, Sub-Saharan Africa. 

“It is like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle snapping together,” says Elijah Lumbani Mkandawire, the CEO of MHub, a tech hub and entrepreneurship support organization in Malawi that is among the first partners. “What DOT and the Mastercard Foundation are doing goes straight to the heart of our own work.” 

The partners are already leaders in transforming the lives of African youth through technological and entrepreneurial skills, ensuring that everyone is included and has the opportunity to learn and thrive.

“People with disabilities are often left out of technology-related projects because there are stereotypes that say we don’t need or want these skills,” says Faustina Urassa, the Founder and Executive Director of Songambele, a partner organization that provides health and wellness services to young people with disabilities in Tanzania, and promotes their social and economic inclusion.  “With this project, we are going to show the true meaning of equality and inclusion.”  

The partners’ existing skills, and visions, are essential to Going Beyond, which seeks to go beyond conventional models for development work that engage external expertise over local knowledge and creativity, and instead empower young people to lead their own – and their community’s development. That is why the partner organizations have co-designed the project’s curriculum, and determined how Going Beyond will be carried out in their countries.

“The entire project is collaborative, it’s inclusive, it’s a discussion,” says Lydia Charles, Founder and Executive of Her Initiative. “That’s a beautiful and unique experience.” 

As part of this partnership, the organizations in Malawi and Tanzania will also receive technical support and resources to improve their own operations. 

“It’s very rare to see a funder this passionate about leaving the organization better off than it found them,” says Wangiwe Joanna Kambuzi, the Managing Director and Founder of Mzuzu eHub. 

Going-Beyond-Partners-Annoncement-_DOT-x-_The-Mastercard-Foundation_Group-Photo-on-StageThis, in turn, points to Going Beyond’s strategy to outlive itself and sustain its impact. The project will foster communities where young people have the skills to build enriching, financially independent lives over the long term. It will also create an ecosystem of ambitious youth-led and youth-serving organizations that will continue to serve their communities for decades to come. 

“Our goal is for the project to live forever in the hearts of the people, and our hearts as an organization,” says Lydia James Ibrahim, the M&E Manager at Hakizetu, a partner organization in Tanzania focused on economically empowering women and girls and promoting their sexual and reproductive health rights. 

“I see us leaving behind a huge mindset shift in our communities,” adds Neema Magimba, Co-founder of Sheria Kiganjani, which connects low-income Tanzanians to legal services via a mobile app. 

For DOT, these partnerships mark a transformation in the organization’s history of building the entrepreneurial and digital skills of young people. In subsequent years, Going Beyond will welcome 14 additional partner organizations in Malawi and Tanzania, as well as 20 organizations in Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire. 

The six Going Beyond Partner organizations announced include:

  • Hakizetu (Tanzania), an organization focused on economically empowering women and girls and promoting their sexual and reproductive health rights. 
  • Her Initiative (Tanzania), an organization dedicated to fostering economic empowerment for women and girls through technology. 
  • MHub (Malawi), a technology hub and business support organization working closely with young people.
  • Mzuzu eHub (Malawi), an organization promoting youth business development in Malawi through incubation, investment support, digital skills training, and other support services. 
  • Sheria Kiganjani (Tanzania), a youth-focused organization using digital tools to connect low- and middle-income Tanzanians to legal services. 
  • Songambele (Tanzania), an organization working for the rights and economic empowerment of women and girls with disabilities. 

Read more about the Going Beyond Project, Partnering for Youth-led Future.

Sky-high SMS rates damaging long-term opportunity for A2P SMS; brand spend on channel to fall from 2024

Brand spend on SMS business messaging (A2P SMS) will peak in 2024 unless mobile operators do a dramatic u-turn on their existing pricing strategy, according to a new report from business messaging specialists Mobilesquared.

The report, Global A2P SMS: The complete overview 2017-2027, reveals that since mid-2021 the average cost to send an A2P SMS internationally has almost doubled from $0.033 to $0.0646. In that time, 90% of mobile operators have increased their international SMS fee, with over one-third of mobile operators (36.4%) increasing their rates by over 100%; and 3.9% of mobile operators increasing their rate in excess of 500%.

This means brands are forced to pay more than $0.25 to send a single SMS into particular markets, resulting in these brands now seeking alternative channels to distribute their mission-critical customer communications.

The increase in pricing has also resulted in a surge of exclusivity deals between mobile operators and their aggregator partners, and an escalation in fraud levels and fraud types on SMS.

“These international SMS price increases have created a short-term boost in revenues for the industry, but they are doing so at a heavy cost. Exclusivity deals are enforcing higher SMS rates, and higher rates are generating an even better ROF (‘Return on Fraudment’ –  and yes that’s a play on ROI) compared to previous fraud types prevalent on the channel. But most damning of all, is the hugely negative impact all of these developments are having on brands and their required investment in SMS,” explains Nick Lane, chief insight analyst at Mobilesquared, and author of the report.

The greatest concern of all is the long-term well-being of SMS business messaging. Following the Pandemic, SMS was experiencing strong growth with the number of businesses using SMS starting to approach 10% of total businesses globally, but this could now be businesses using SMS peaking in 2024 instead.

Included in the report is Mobilesquared’s “Alternative View” of the A2P SMS landscape, with market projections based on the exclusion of developments such as significant price increases since 2021.

Mobilesquared’s “Alternative View” projects cumulative spend on A2P SMS between 2022 and 2027 would have been $224.47 billion, compared to actual cumulative market spend projections of $210.11 billion. This highlights that market developments over the last 24 months will cost the A2P SMS industry $14.36 billion in revenues by 2027. Put another way, these developments will cost the SMS industry an average of $7.87 million per day between 2023 and 2027.

In conjunction with the launch of the report, Mobilesquared has also launched a quarterly analyst briefing, ASPIR (A2P SMS Pricing Impact Report), to monitor the impact price increases will have on increasing fraudulent traffic from a brand perspective. In the first issue, Mobilesquared identified 11 A2P SMS markets as “high-risk” for brand traffic, 11 as “medium-risk”, 52 as “low-risk” and 124 markets presenting “no-risk”.

“This is a ‘sliding doors’ moment for the SMS business messaging industry with two paths open,” Lane adds. “Mobile operators need to understand the actual value of an SMS to a brand, and certainly in relation to other channels like email, push notifications, and the Voldemort of messaging… WhatsApp. Otherwise, they risk curtailing what should have been a massive opportunity for them.”

Global A2P SMS: The complete overview 2017-2027 is available now.

Full subscription costs £6,450 and includes 110-page interactive report and dataset with 12+ million data points covering 200 markets. Interactive report only costs £2,500, including data for global and regional markets. Mobilesquared also offers a Pay-As-You-Go data service, so you can also only buy the A2P SMS data you need by country. A single country snapshot report costs £400. More information can be found here.

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Digital Opportunity Trust and the Mastercard Foundation are partnering for Going Beyond

OTTAWA, Canada, July 12, 2023 — Digital Opportunity Trust and the Mastercard Foundation are partnering to support over 300,000 young women and men to gain relevant entrepreneurial skills and foster a network ecosystem of support for young leaders.

The “Going Beyond – Partnering for a Youth-Led Future” project aims to scale DOT’s evidence-based, peer-to-peer model and will be executed in four African countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania. The linkage to DOT’s model ensures comprehensive digital and business skills training, leadership development, coaching, peer-to-peer learning, and networking.

The Going Beyond project will foster a network ecosystem of support for young leaders with the aim of improving their quality of life and building their resilience, agency, and amplifying their voice. Notably, the project will also introduce a leaner, more scalable model for long-term, transformational change by fostering a community of practice among a continuously expanding ecosystem of partners.

Over five years, and with the support of DOT regional hubs in Africa, the Going Beyond project will progressively transfer the responsibility for delivering DOT’s programs and equip youth as leaders of the future through a three-pronged approach:

  • Strengthening the capacity of 40 local youth-led and youth-led organizations (YLOs) to deliver high-quality digital livelihoods programming.
  • Training and supporting 4,000 young people (Youth Leaders) under the guidance of YLOs as digital business coaches and facilitators to deliver locally appropriate and culturally relevant digital inclusion and enterprise growth programs to their peers.
  • Training 300,000 disadvantaged young people with nascent Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in digital and entrepreneurship skills, 70 percent of whom are young women.

Most importantly, the project places young people at the center of the solution, tapping into their creativity, energy, and passion for making a difference; going beyond conventional development practices and extending impact to new countries for both organizations, without the need to establish and operate new offices.

“The Going Beyond program, which will harness the power of young people to lead community-driven solutions and create and obtain dignified and fulfilling work in four countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia – is an opportunity to tell a compelling story of youth leadership and capacity to transform Africa – and to catalyze the adoption of youth-led approaches across the continent,” says Janet Longmore, Founder and CEO, Digital Opportunity Trust

Violette Uwamutara, Regional Vice President of Africa, Digital Opportunity Trust agrees, “DOT is excited to serve as regional hubs for this project and build a network of connected individuals, organizations and MSMEs that share knowledge, support each other and shift the mindsets of their peers, communities and systems – trusting youth as the leaders of community transformation and our future.”

The ‘Going Beyond’ project aligns with the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy, which aims to enable 30 million young people in Africa to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030, particularly young women. It extends the impact beyond youth in work to advance youth leadership, digital skills, gender equality, and women’s empowerment.

Africa’s youth population represents a significant pool of human capital that can drive economic growth and social progress. Young people have the potential to be at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship in high-growth sectors such as technology, climate-smart agriculture, and renewable energy. Women and girls, in particular, can play a crucial role as powerful agents of change in their communities, contributing to economic growth and social progress.

Despite being a youthful continent, Africa faces significant challenges in harnessing the potential of its youth population. The continent has the highest youth unemployment rate globally – 20.8 percent in 2020 – more than 2.5 times higher than the adult unemployment rate. This situation is particularly dire for young women.

“Going Beyond is designed to envision young people as leaders in their communities, and we believe that a combination of YLO capacity building, locally appropriate 21st-century skills, entrepreneurship, and MSME support will be an effective means of bringing this vision to life while addressing youth employment in the four countries this project will be executed in. In addition, Going Beyond’s work, which is also in line with the Young Africa Works strategy, will help young women and men find dignified and meaningful work,” adds Reeta Roy, President and CEO, Mastercard Foundation.

When applied in this way, the youth-led model equips young people with market-relevant technical skills and the confidence to secure, sustain and thrive in the 21st-century working world, in turn creating a ripple effect of change in communities across the African continent, with young entrepreneurs becoming catalysts for broader behavioral change and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.

About Digital Opportunity Trust

DOT is a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, with a ‘footprint’ across 12 countries. DOT has locally managed offices in Africa, the Middle East; Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Lebanon and Jordan; Canada and the UK. DOT’s presence extends to Ghana, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia through local partnerships with youth-led organizations. As a youth-led movement of daring social innovators who have the tools, knowledge, and networks to create opportunities and transform their communities in Africa and the Middle East, DOT has created an impact in over 25 countries as development innovators and catalysts placing youth at the center of its activity to unlock their potential, bridge the digital divide across communities, and inspire young people to realize their potential in an inclusive digital economy. www.dotrust.org

About The Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation is a Canadian Foundation and one of the world’s largest foundations, with a mission to advance education and financial inclusion. It works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. The Foundation was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. The Foundation is an independent organization and separate from the company. Its policies, operations, and programs are determined by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and leadership. For more information on the Foundation, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.