Solution Overview

Solution Name:

Douar Tech

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One-line solution summary:

Upskilling vulnerable youth through a progressive web application for innovative technology training and job market integration

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Pitch your solution.

Douar Tech aims to promote the economic independence of 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 to “bridge the digital divide” through 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.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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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 necessary soft skills to enter the labor market, paired with slow job creation, the sector may not absorb this massive youth population. 

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 most vulnerable communities, the creation of innovative businesses can break the vicious cycle of social exclusion in a generation. 

It is therefore, the reality that, as in most developing countries, Morocco’s informal sector presents the most viable opportunity for the vast majority of youth. Empowering young people to leverage off and craft a portfolio income from the informal sector is crucial to uplifting and improving the livelihoods of young people living in urban environments.

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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.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

We engage vulnerable youth, particularly in rural 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.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Equip workers with technological and digital literacy as well as the durable skills needed to stay apace with the changing job market

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Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.

Douar Tech is adamant in the need for transmission of technology skills and inclusive entry to the digital economy for vulnerable youth to succeed as the job market progresses through a Digital Revolution.  We believe in doing so through open dialogue, progressive web application access, and personalized relationships. Though many programs offer 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, and the creation of inclusive programs for diversified future demographic accessing the digital economy.

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Rabat, Morocco
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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

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Who is the primary delegate for your solution?

Hanae Bezad, CEO & Founder

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More About Your Solution

https://app.douar.tech

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If you have additional video content that explains your solution, provide a YouTube or Vimeo link here:

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Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process

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Describe 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.

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Our team has created a progressive LMS web application to host our content in video and written format across English, French and Arabic languages to be accessible offline for our low bandwidth users.  We continue to build partnerships with organizations in our professional network in order to expand our content to include topics, such as: permaculture, financial literacy, social media marketing, and more.  As we expand our program offering this web application will serve as a platform for cross-cultural collaboration and networking between our beneficiary, mentor, and professional contributors.  

Additionally, a key piece of our curriculum encourages students to create their own digital solutions and unique technology prototypes. We have held competitions that inspired our beneficiaries to create prototypes with solutions, such as: a learning platform to educate illiterate groups, a virtual Muslim prayer service, a depository for archived examinations in Morocco, and more.  We ensure that our beneficiaries retain ownership of these prototypes while nurturing their growth and creating opportunities to gain a market.

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Crowdsourced Service / Social Networks
  • Internet of Things
  • Robotics and Drones
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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What is your theory of change?

Outcome: Promote economic independence within our 40 beneficiaries by end of 2020. 

Measurement Plan: Track job integration rate; Monitor relationship with professional mentor; Continuous assessment of professional output.

Outcome: Influence new beneficiaries through National Douar Tour to facilitate workshops in 12 rural sites across Morocco.

Measurement Plan: Enrollment of prospective beneficiaries in web application; Amount of international partnerships appraised; Number of viable, long-term training group identified.

Outcome: Integration of 300 vulnerable youth into innovative employment options over the next 2 years.

Measurement Plan: Monitor viability of partnerships in economic sector; Identify types of employment output from beneficiaries; Rank most desirable skills for job market integration.

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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 3. Good Health and Well-Being
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Morocco
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Morocco
  • Senegal
  • Tunisia
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Active Beneficiaries: 40

Beneficiaries (2020): 1,140

Beneficiaries (2020-2025): 10,000

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Nonprofit

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How many people work on your solution team?

Full-time operational team (2): National Coordinator & Program Manager

Contractual Staff (4): Entrepreneurship & Web Development teachers (Fes, Sale)

Volunteer Executive Board (4): CEO, COO, President & Treasurer

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How many years have you worked on your solution?

3

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Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

The Douar Tech team is comprises of a unique blend of backgrounds and skillsets that range from a senior-level R&D executive, Monitoring & Evaluation expert, and trained full-stack web developers. We function as a decentralized hub with team members across Morocco, which contributes to the nature of our operations in the spirit of innovative entrepreneurship. Additionally, this allows us to key in to numerous ecosystems throughout the country to build relationships and identify new projects.

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

Douar Tech currently has partnerships with organizations both locally and internationally that act either as service level partners or grant-based funding:

1. AMESIP is a local organization that supports Douar Tech through a Service Level Agreement entailing revenue generation, as a physical location to host our programming, and community partner to identify prospective beneficiaries.

2. TIDES Foundation is a San Francisco-based organization that provided our initial seed funding to launch our pilot programs and development of our LMS platform. The Web Foundation has contributed the EQUALS Digital Skills Fund to promote our 2020 National Douar Tour.

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Douar Tech operates its programs through partnerships with local organizations that service vulnerable populations through training and education programming. Our organization generates revenue through service level agreements with our partner organizations and offers its LMS platform and professional network as a leverage point to upskill beneficiaries.

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Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?

Organizations (B2B)

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What is your path to financial sustainability?

Douar Tech aims to reach financial sustainability in progress as it grows through a National, and then International roll-out for programming.  This may successively be achieved through grant funding and revenue generated through Service Level Agreements negotiated with organizational partners. However, we additionally aim to approach related services, including: consulting services through expertise, placement fees from multinational corporates, and monetizing Douar Tech's digital assets to NGOs and public institutions charged with employability programs and corporate CSR strategies.

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If you have raised funds for your solution or are generating revenue, please provide details.

- TIDES Foundation: grant funding;

- The Web Foundation; EQUALS Digital Skills Fund: grant funding;

- AMESIP: service level agreement, revenue;

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If you seek to raise funds for your solution, please provide details.

Douar Tech is seeking prospective grant funding & service level partnerships for future programming;

$100,000

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What are your estimated expenses for 2020?

Operational team salary;

Development growth of LMS platform;

Implementation of National Douar Tour;

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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

Douar Tech is eager to join a global community of innovators and change-makers, as well as to contribute to dialogue progressing transformational change. As Douar Tech aims to expand its programs across borders, we are seeking institutional partners to leverage new pilots and impact a diverse population of beneficiaries to leverage economic growth and sustainable futures in the informal economy. We aim to provide the highest quality educational tools to our beneficiaries, who do not typically have access to training, and would greatly benefit from the MIT partnership team to optimize our LMS platform.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Solution technology
  • Product/service distribution
  • Funding and revenue model
  • Marketing, media, and exposure
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Please explain in more detail here.

1. Networking and targeted introductions to operational partners in the MENA region and in Sub-Saharan Africa

2. Technical assistance for the operationalization of projects with these partners

3. Financial support for scalability:

- Around national projects - post National Tour in Morocco;

- Around regional projects;

- Organizational impact: technical recruitments for the team (development team to support scalability, operational team etc.) 

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

- Course Content: Collaboration through MISTI initiatives, particularly MEET or GSL in order to expand our course offering;

- Technology Mentorship

- Grant Funding

- Media Visibility and Exposure

- Connections to the MIT campus

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion?

No

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Innovation for Women Prize?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the Innovation for Women Prize to advance your solution?

Douar Tech aims to ensure gender parity for its programs. However, we recognize that several subsets of our prospective beneficiaries will not benefit well from this structure, and may have more impact on their community by female-only programming. We have begun planning several pilots that target rural, female cooperatives for training through blended learning models.  These beneficiaries will be identified based on their adaptable mindset and tangible product output (artisan, food, agriculture...). We aim to transmit digital skills to these women groups and connect them to new markets.

This segment of our program is near to our hearts, as we believe that women are the beating of heart of so many rural communities. It is proven that money earned by women contributes directly to the regeneration and growth of its population through servicing children and continued economic output.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The GM Prize on Good Jobs and Inclusive Entrepreneurship?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The GM Prize on Good Jobs and Inclusive Entrepreneurship to advance your solution?

Our primary mission is to promote the economic independence of vulnerable youth through skill transmission and integration into the digital economy. We identify change in the market as it moves to digital careers and anticipate that evolution by providing skills to vulnerable youth to harness their future. We continuously develop programs with the idea of empowering youth to take on these new skills and implement them in the workplace.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Gulbenkian Award for Adult Literacy?

No

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the AI for Humanity Prize?

No

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Solution Team

  • Hanae Bezad CEO / Founder, Douar Tech
  • Fay Cowper National Coordinator, Douar Tech
 
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