Giving Back and Changing Her Community for the Better
Providing educational opportunities to East African youth is of the utmost importance. Seeing young people fight through their own challenges in order to pass on what they’ve learned and help their community provides true inspiration.
Dorin grew up in a supportive family that made sure her basic physical and spiritual needs were met yet Dorin still found herself struggling with issues of confidence, public speaking, and inferiority. Early on, these issues prevented her from realizing her potential in primary school.
“I used to think all the community engagement activities were for people that fit a specific class, level of education, background, and wealth.”
Dorin was able to join Asante Africa Foundation’s Youth Livelihood Program. There, she grew out of her shell and became empowered to hone new problem solving, leadership, personal development, and self-awareness skills.
“These preparatory skills enabled me to develop a readiness to learn when I come across new opportunities. I’ve been most passionate when those opportunities lead to positively impacting the livelihoods of our youth.”
Making use of those skills in university, Dorin began a small-scale honey business that was helpful to both her family and the community during the pandemic. “During the pandemic the honey was among the liquid mixture used by people to make traditional medicine which helped to boost the immune system. I used the money I earned to help support my family and my basic needs while in university.”
Recognizing a need for digital learning
After graduating with a B.Sc. in Family and Consumer Studies from University of Sokoine, Dorin enlisted her mother to help with the honey business so she could pursue other interests.
Recalling her experience with Asante Africa, Dorin realized that developing skills for the 21st century inherently involves digital learning. She realized she could lean into her passion by providing this assistance to the youth of her community.
“When I used to visit schools, the club students would ask me for inspirational videos and pictures that could be integrated into their leadership and entrepreneurship content (rather than physical books). It became clear that the most important program to help my community would be an education or skill development program. The only way to efficiently equip the community was to use technology to help them get access to world information so they could make informed decisions.”
The reality is that Africa lags behind other continents for internet visibility and sadly digital literacy rates follow suit. Throw in additional challenges for rural youth such as cultural obstacles to education, and you quickly understand why a story like Dorin’s is exceptional.
“As a team, we changed our approach to learning. What I mean by that is, the internet provided knowledge that allowed us to work together remotely and build a successful digital transformation program in East Africa. It became clear that Africans can build solutions to any social problem by learning (and adapting) existing solutions from around the world.
It’s about innovative ways of using existing technology in meeting our local challenges. As a result, learning is now an ongoing, challenge-driven experience rather than just rote-memorization for later use experience.”
Thanks to Dorin and the team’s dedication to digital transformation, Asante Africa has won the prestigious 2023 King Hamad Youth Empowerment Award to Achieve SDGs in the “Recognizing Enablers of Youth Participation, Action & Impact” category. This award recognizes the young people’s endeavors to be productive citizens and contribute to the welfare of their communities and environment. It also recognizes institutions that improve the enabling environment and infrastructure for youth to make an impact.
Dorin had the opportunity to travel to the Kingdom of Bahrain to accept the award!
Dorin reflects “I am so excited for the award. This exposed me to new life experiences, networking and adventures through traveling abroad, which was my first-time. Going to the other side of the world reminds me that the contributions we make are valuable community assets for preparing students with Digital skills, presently and for generations to come.
Thanks to Dorin’s experience and passion for teaching, stories of success aren’t hard to find. She notes that Asante Africa helped her team of young teachers coalesce around educating their rural communities.
Two such successes involve
a pair of Dorin’s secondary school students.
At Rift Valley, Hamisi has benefited from digital devices brought in by Asante Africa to accelerate his skills and learning. He finds that learning from the videos improves his and his fellow students’ concentration, which reflects in their studies.
At Kelamfua, Lodrick’s learning has been positively impacted by the Kolibri app. By shifting from books to digital learning he can now see a deeper meaning associated with his lessons which helps his motivation. After being given projectors and laptops by Asante Africa Foundation the learning process has been simplified, improving his awareness and testing accuracy.
When asked what kind of impact she hopes to have on her community in the future, Dorin’s answer says a lot about her passion to change her world through positive outcomes.
“In my community I believe we’ll see further learning development where smart kits will be instrumental in accessing learning materials. Moreover, there will be independent engagement of digital tools so learners can make educated choices on the tools and resources they want to facilitate personal learning. By that time, digital tools will go hand-in-hand with the learning process, with teachers and learners leveraging their digital platforms to create and share knowledge organically.”