Have you been trying to understand what it means to bridge the digital divide? For the past four years, Douar Tech has been working hand in hand with young community leaders to make a real impact…one story at a time.
Founded in 2017, by innovative technologist Hanae Bezad, Douar Tech is a Moroccan tech hub that contributes to strengthening the resilience of vulnerable youth, especially women, from precarious backgrounds in rural and peri-urban areas, through training in innovative entrepreneurship and web development skills. With a mission to leverage digital technologies for the benefit of vulnerable youth populations, Douar Tech is thrilled to have shared examples of its work with the IEEE community across borders. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. We believe that storytelling is the best way to inspire change and encourage the IEEE community to join us in inspiring young people in Morocco and across the continent.
In 2018, with the sole support of the Association for the Promotion of Education and Training Abroad (APEFE) and the Belgian government, Douar Tech launched its first prototype project with only one trainer in the village of Sidi Yahya Zäer. Our superstar trainer worked with a collective of 35 young people to transfer knowledge in entrepreneurship and digital skills to form 6 unique enterprises for the local community and paved the groundwork for progress within the collective.
Since then, Douar Tech has come a long way. We are grateful to our incredible partners’ network that remains committed to our mission to support young people in their acquisition of 21st-century skills. Douar Tech has worked with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the US Embassy of Morocco, the World Wide Web Foundation, AfriLabs, and more to benefit 1037 disadvantaged youth from Morocco and the African continent.
Our current flagship program, the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), launches its second edition this month to support 60 female entrepreneurs with management skills training, peer mentorship, panels with digital experts from the Moroccan ecosystem, and the creation of their first business websites. By March 2022, AWE in Morocco will have trained 110 women entrepreneurs/trainers and 2000+ community members thanks to our innovative mechanisms of knowledge transfer in rural communities.
In our first edition of AWE, we met Soukaina O. Soukaina, a Moroccan woman who grew up in the small village—Douar Agouliz—in the region of Tata, located in the southeastern desert region.
Soukaina was always passionate about learning and volunteering, so she taught herself English and eventually emigrated to an urban area to pursue her degree in English Literature, recently becoming a high school English teacher.
Soukaina joined AWE after she renewed her passion to support young entrepreneurs in her hometown of Tata Province.
Her strong determination stemmed from a deep desire to help the uneducated and unemployed women in her community.
One month after completing the program, Soukaina was our first AWE participant to lead a workshop in her local community. When we asked her to share her experience, she outlined the inclusive impact she accomplished by sharing ideas about marketing and digital tools with women, in her indigenous language, Tachelhit. With this new knowledge, the women in her community were inspired to continue pursuing alternative education, given that many had not completed high school. Soukaina continues to inspire us as well as her peers to whom she has dedicated her support.
We are proud to lead the AWE program in Morocco, along with many other models of digital skills training programs that turn young people into role models within their communities. We strongly believe that equipping youth with the knowledge to access 21st century’s opportunities can break the inter-generational cycles of exclusion and poverty, with adequate resilience to take on the challenges of the future.
For media information:
Afrae Tatari, Community Associate, Douar Tech