One-line solution summary:
Raising the resiliency of vulnerable youth through innovative technology training and job market integration
Pitch your solution.
Douar Tech aims to "bridge the digital divide" for vulnerable youth through training in entrepreneurship, web development and intensive technology skills. We utilize our progressive LMS web application to engage students through video and written content across French, English & Arabic languages while making it accessible offline to include our low bandwidth users. Simultaneously, we engage experts from the local digital economy through volunteer programs and job integration opportunities seeking inclusive dialogue and relationship building. Our students learn the core skills to gain employment while also being guided into the role of an empathic global citizen through breakout training in topics like ethics, agri-business, health & wellness, and more. As we solidify our progress in Morocco, we continue to grow by engaging our professional network across Africa and the MENA for future programs in economies that benefit from an innovative informal sector.
Film your elevator pitch.
What specific problem are you solving?
The Moroccan population is predominantly young: 46.2% of the 34.4 million inhabitants are under 25 years of age. Over the past decade, education insertion rates have increased significantly with university-level enrollment shifting from 13% in 2010 to 35% in 2018. Despite these trends, Moroccan youth lack the necessary soft skills to enter the labor market.
Morocco’s labor market is characterized by three key challenges: lack of inclusion, slow job growth, and low quality of jobs. This example illustrates a similar story to many countries diving into the rising digital economy. As the informal sector continues to reign in vulnerable communities, the creation of innovative businesses can break the vicious cycle of social exclusion in a generation.
Douar Tech is convinced that training in technological and digital skills both supports the creation of innovative and technology-intensive companies and can help break the vicious circle of social exclusion within a generation.
Douar Tech emphasizes the creation of authentic communities with the inclusion of groups from vulnerable communities and industry leaders for co-facilitated dialogue and mutual learning experiences. Women in our programs continue to harness their skills in web development, realize entrepreneurial projects, and disseminate knowledge in digital skills to their local communities.
What is your solution?
Douar Tech promotes the economic independence of vulnerable youth through training in entrepreneurship, web development and intensive technology skills. We engage our students through several initiatives:
1) Progressive LMS platform: We host our content in presentation, outline and video format in French, Arabic and English through a progressive web application that may be accessed offline for low bandwidth users;
2) Digital Expert Series: We engage volunteer experts from the local digital ecosystem to host webinars and live sessions with students to introduce niche subjects and realistic work expectations;
3) Mentorship Pairing: Students are paired with a volunteer mentor from their local area to be guided through job integration, goal setting, and to understand the economic ecosystem;
4) Micro-work Integration: We negotiate paid work opportunities with companies for students to attain during and after the training program to ascertain expectations and put their skills into practice with tangible rewards for success.
Our aim is to promote a balanced ecosystem creating inclusive and accessible points of entry for vulnerable youth to the digital economy. By including existing digital experts and entrepreneurs in the conversation, they may be part of the solution to create opportunities for their budding counterparts.
Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?
We engage vulnerable youth, particularly in rural and peri-urban areas, that possess an innate motivation for growth and a willingness to change their mindset. Our programs are aimed for gender parity as we believe engaging men and women on a level playing field sensitizes them and fuels mutual growth; however, as we enter specific rural areas we remain sensitive to the demographic climate and gauge cultural stipulations. Our training programs include blended learning models and live instruction, while continuously engaging students in alternative learning exercises like competitions and thematic webinars. We engage with them to develop a personal profile, which is necessary to integrate each student into micro-work opportunities and a mentorship pairing. Our students integrate into the fabric of our organization as they become part of the digital ecosystem, and we encourage them to pursue their bright futures while remaining a forever member of the Douar Tech community.
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?Equip everyone, regardless of age, gender, education, location, or ability, with culturally relevant digital literacy skills to enable participation in the digital economy.
Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.
Douar Tech is adamant about the need for transmission of technology skills and inclusive entry to the digital economy for vulnerable youth in the rapidly changing digital economy. We believe in doing so through open dialogue, progressive web applications, and personalized opportunities. Though many programs offer high-quality technology training, if not paired with an entry point to the digital economy, vulnerable youth may not connect their skills to a path for employment. Douar Tech is dedicated to expanded networks, adapted contexts for vulnerable populations, and the creation of inclusive programs for diversified future demographic accessing the digital economy.
In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?Rabat, Morocco
What is your solution’s stage of development?Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth.
Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.
Douar Tech supported 40 youth through its pilot program in 2020 and has since adapted its approach to cater to diversified models of implementation, such as 3-day immersion series and a 6-month virtual model. At the same time, our team has decisively designed our model to be deployable in a Douar Tech facility in Morocco, which has received support from local government officials. In order to scale such a model, we require the funding to launch our purposefully designed approach. In the country, our networks are expansive on the part of high-level experts and potential beneficiaries; however, we are looking to the next scale for our approach to impact thousands more youth across the country.
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful
What makes your solution innovative?
Within the Moroccan ecosystem, the entrepreneurial ecosystem is flourishing and innovating; however, it seldomly reaches disenfranchised communities where populations most require innovation and inclusivity. Circles of influence and access spin within networks, which rarely extend entry points outside of the Rabat-Casablanca metropolis and economic center of the country. We utilize blended learning models and our progressive web application to include our participants in the dialogue and to extend knowledge about the digital economy that may never reach their doorstep. We don't simply release calls for prospective projects, but rather identify potential partners working within vulnerable groups in order to access prospective beneficiaries and bring the information to them. When implementing our training programs, we ensure that transmission of technology skills is paired with practical examples from experts in the field and knowledge is supported through a professional mentor relationship. Finally, we inject knowledge about social sectors like permaculture, public health, and social ethics that greatly impact vulnerable communities in order to inspire innovative solutions created at the community level.
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
In our nearly four years of operation, Douar Tech programs have served 250+ participants from across Morocco and the African continent; additionally, we have implemented training of trainers mechanisms that allowed us to indirectly support the training of 1000+ individuals across communities in Morocco.
In the next year, we are projected to serve 500+ additional beneficiaries and deploy mechanisms to indirectly support 5000+ beneficiaries. Our training of trainers approach has become a key aspect of our impact as we challenge our participants to demonstrate their learnings by leading workshops in their local communities. At the same time, we believe this impact is vital in creating new access to individuals that would not always be capable of committing to a full Douar Tech program.
In the next five years, we aim to fully deploy our prospective project of a Rural Tech House with scale to 50 centers across Morocco. Through this initiative, we would be able to impact 3000 advanced beneficiaries in our flagship program alone. At this scale, the impact of beneficiaries through all Douar Tech programming would reach at least 30,000+ youth across Morocco.
How many people work on your solution team?
Douar Tech is made of 4 volunteers, advisory Board members, 2 full-time and 1 part-time operational team members, and 3 consultant facilitators for our programs. We deploy 100+ volunteers from Moroccan local and diaspora communities in order to amplify the impact of our project and create connections between the community.
How long have you been working on your solution?
Douar Tech was founded in 2017 and has grown swiftly to adapt its approach, deploy innovative technology, and implement its programming with a diverse pool of participants in Morocco.
How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
Douar Tech is led by a team that aligns with a similar value system that brings each member together to support a greater mission of supporting vulnerable youth to enter the digital economy. Our operational team has unique and grassroots experience working with vulnerable youth in rural areas across Morocco, as well as stakeholders across the spectrum of influence. Additionally, our Leadership Board are influential figures in the Moroccan ecosystem with relationships to government, corporate, and public institutions that allow our team to deploy high-level strategy in regards to our on-the-ground mission.
What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team?
Douar Tech leads with the values of inclusivity, empowerment, and collaboration that is set at the forefront of who we are and what we do. We are keen on seeking individuals that directly represent the identities and values of our participants and diverse role models that allow us to highlight diversity and inclusion by practice rather than in theory.
We are an equal opportunity employer and conduct transparent hiring practices while also deploying our work to stakeholders at diverse demographic levels to ensure that a range of candidates are aware of our mission and attracted to the impact. We do not believe our mission would be possible without our transparent processes for inclusion and diversity, and we continue to seek training and advising from our expert community to ensure we uphold these high standards.
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?Organizations (B2B)
What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?
Douar Tech is motivated to scale its offer and expand to differentiated markets within Morocco and throughout the African continent. Our team continues to aspire to operational excellence as we secure new in-country partnerships and enroll diverse cohorts of students. As a finalist for MIT Solve, we believe that there are several leverage points that will allow us to scale and leverage our approach to new markets:
- Pedagogical Content Diversification: Douar Tech aims to offer content to its beneficiaries that allow them to strategically enter the world of work where the market is rich in opportunity; currently this means working with senior-level software developers from diverse markets to advise on our content and offer new modules to be instructed in local language. However, we would greatly benefit from a pedagogical partner from a premier higher education institution, such as MIT. We seek a pedagogical exchange between MIT and Douar Tech for mutual benefit of field research and exceptional content offers for vulnerable youth.
- New Sponsors: Douar Tech has experienced an influx of in-country partnership offers through the emergence of COVID-19 as local stakeholders place greater importance on educational programming for youth in technologies and digital skills. However, these in-country partnerships frequently cover the cost of our active program while leaving our core operational team unfunded and without support for R&D and internal management operations. Specifically, as we seek to scale to international markets the Douar Tech team will require the capacity to package its operations for this growth. We seek partners that believe in inclusive education and grassroots enterprise development, particularly for vulnerable populations. Through our research we have identified ideal donors, including but not limited to:
- The Mastercard Foundation
- Western Union Foundation
- General Motors
- Morgridge Family Foundation
- Atlassian Foundation
- Fay Cowper National Coordinator, Douar Tech