This will be a busy year for the GlobalSoko Foundation. With the help of funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the two-year-old Las Vegas-based nonprofit, initiated an ecommerce marketplace called DadaSoko (Swahili for “Sister Marketplace”) in December 2021.
The platform arms underserved women in Nevada, other U.S. states, and in Africa who produce goods like clothing and housewares with technology to sell their products internationally through a marketplace. The foundation aims to train 3,000 women on the platform this year, and help them out of poverty, initiate partnerships with U.S. freelancers and producers, and leverage technology to create a sustainable future for their families and communities.
“Our mission is to empower underserved communities and women, and to use technology to help them become self-sustaining,” said Pete Munyasia, who co-founded GlobalSokoFoundation with Moses Kusasira, its CEO. “This is not about handing them the technology and saying ‘use it’ but teaching them how to use it. Our starting point is women in East Africa right now, but this is about empowering women all over the globe.”
DadaSoko is powered by a platform created by Vegas-based Social Media Gateways, an innovative technology company that has partnered with the foundation. Developed in Las Vegas and Silicon Valley, the platform has a payment and fulfillment system that ships the ensembled styled products to buyers and also distributes payment to all involved in the manufacture and sale of the products. DadaSoko integrates blockchain, AI, and even includes NFT and DeFi technology so that manufacturers can obtain other technology to grow their business and education tools to help them learn more about running a business. Ed Hohmann, CTO, describes the platform as “Amazon-like,” but one that’s dedicated to underserved communities to access the power of digital transformation.
“We’ve trained over 500 women so far. These are underserved women who may not even have an email address, they have no brand, maybe never typed their name into a computer before,” Rebecca Johnson, who manages training and analysis for GlobalSoko, explained. CEO, Kusasira, adds: “These women are skilled at making high-quality products, but they need the support to take it to the next level. We’ve partnered with several organizations to both find these underserved women and to help us train them with the digital tools to change their lives.”
The hope is to grow the program in the U.S. and in other countries, and facilitate more collaborations that will set disadvantaged women and poverty-stricken communities on a path to a better future.
“We’re already encouraged by how we’re seeing U.S.-based women reaching out and wanting to work with the African women on the platform,” added GlobalSoko Co-founder, Tommy Richardson. “It’s like we’re creating this international bridge, all from right here in Las Vegas. There’s momentum building and we’re very excited.”