Digital skills are a critical enabler of gender digital inclusion and the equitable use, adoption, and creation of digital technologies in Africa’s expanding digital economy. Such technologies have the potential to change the nature of both formal and informal entrepreneurship.
Panda Digital is Tanzania’s first Swahili E-learning platform, providing young female entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to start and run businesses in the digital economy. The platform’s goal is to help young women become financially independent and more involved in the digital economy by teaching them digital skills needed for business growth and inspiring their creativity and innovation.
Panda Digital has played a significant role in eradicating the youth high unemployment percentage problem in Tanzania over a one-year period. According to ILO data, the estimated youth unemployment rate in Tanzania in 2020 was 3.6 percent. Panda Digital intended to address unemployment by providing an innovative digital solution that is sustainable, dependable, and relevant to the needs of young women in achieving financial resilience through the provision of knowledge, skills, and resources on how to start, run, and grow their businesses in the digital economy. Over the course of a year, the platform has financially transformed the lives of over 2250 young women.
Ms. Najma Thomas a 23 year old young woman, who continue to eat the fruits of panda digital and make economic difference, testified on how Panda Digital has changed her life ‘ before I got the panda digital skills I had my bakery in Pwani region but unfortunately, I had to close it because I was relocated to Dar es salaam for my studies, Shutting down my bakery was painful and devastating until when I come across the panda digital advertisement, and I thought it would be really helpful to boost my shuttered down Business, I clicked the link and went through the course they were very informative so immediately I registered and I started to study the course on Business model canvas and digital marketing after finishing I made a huge revamp and rearrange everything in my business, after some time, my work started to pay I didn’t depend on local customers only like when I was in past but also from the online customer, I now use digital tools such canvas to create artworks than and they are really helpful in improving my aesthetic,
Najma Thomas, panda digital beneficiary
The aim of the platform is to empower young women with digital entrepreneur skills but that does not limit the access of skills and knowledge to the other gender, meaning that entrepreneur of all gender around the world can be benefited, Jacob Kairembo is one among the Tanzania male entrepreneur who also was benefited from the panda digital ,
“The Panda digital platform has helped me escape poverty, after finishing studying the Business model canvas and digital marketing course on panda digital I was able to engage my business in online spaces, which helped me increase my sales for my business by 20% people from different premises would send a message and bringing their devices for fixing because I am active in replying to comments, messages or inquiries and my prices are well articulated in each post.
Jacob Kairembo, beneficiary panda digital
Under the period of six month Panda Digital was recognized by Bright Jamii Initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders, and children, and concluded its one-year anniversary by being recognized and awarded $12,000 USD by The Roddenberry Foundation under the +1 Global Fund.
Under the +1 Global Funds, Panda Digital has been recognized because it enables young female entrepreneurs to access knowledge, skills, and resources by tapping into the potential of technology and innovation. Also by adapting a hybrid model of learning which allows young women to access the resources online via a website and offline through SMS dissemination.
“I am completely awed that Her Initiative through Panda Digital has been recognized among many other organizations in Africa. This shows the need to have innovative solutions that advance education in our communities. And it is high time we use these solutions to enable young women to access skills and resources that will foster their economic and digital inclusion.”
Lydia Charles, Executive Director, Her Initiative
The digital revolution that has been influenced by the existence of Panda Digital is improving female participation in economic life and enhancing the economic and social autonomy of women. Access to new markets, flexible work, acquiring and interacting with customers, improving financial autonomy and accessing finance for their ventures is simplified and attained through knowledge and skills that are provided by Panda Digital.
Now is the time to step up the efforts and take advantage of the digital transformation to ensure that it represents a leapfrog opportunity in advancing education in Africa. And it is essential that no one, and especially no woman, is held back in this digital age.