What you need to know:
- Ajira is a government initiative driven by the Ministry of ICT targeting one million Kenyan youth
- By April, Ajira had linked over 15,000 young Kenyans to jobs ranging from transcriptions, data entry and document scanning in a pilot undertaking with the Kenyan Judiciary.
Evans Terer started a digital marketing agency in the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Mr Terer did not anticipate the disruption the Covid-19 pandemic would have on businesses.
All of a sudden businesses, particularly the SMEs Terer was targeting with his digital marketing start up, realised an online presence was vital in reaching customers working and schooling from their homes.
Terer signed up for advanced training and mentorship sessions on digital marketing on the Ajira Digital programme where he gained valuable access to the latest tools and applications to boost his start-up.
“After completing the training on digital marketing and e-commerce, AJIRA Digital linked me up to the Wowzi App. Since then, I have completed over 20 jobs and I now earn a steady income through the app,” explained Mr. Terer.
Terer is just one of thousands of beneficiaries to the Ajira Digital Skills programme which gives young people access to training on the skills currently sought by the market place not just locally, but from across the globe.
In addition to the training, Ajira gives young people linkages to digital work from local and international clients, matching the jobs available to the skill set developed.
Over the years, Ajira has gained the support of valuable partners like the MasterCard Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Kenya Private Sector Alliance, KEPSA and Emobilis, that have boosted the mentorship component of the training programme.
By April this year, Ajira was linking over 15,000 young people to jobs ranging from transcriptions, data entry and document scanning in a pilot undertaking with the Kenyan Judiciary.
In addition to this, nearly 1,000 young people have been hired through 163 transcription projects and over 700 data entry engagements.
“Through mobile phone, young people have a device on the palm of their hands that is capable of accessing the entirety of human knowledge,” explains Dr Ehud Gachugu, Director Ajira Digital and Youth Employment Program at Kenya Private Sector Alliance.
“Instead of arguing with strangers online, the Ajira initiative gives them the opportunity to show how they can use this device to become the future of work.
Under the partnership with the Kenyan Judiciary, two business process outsourcing (BPOs) stations in Nakuru and Kisumu have been specially set up to digitise files from courtrooms in Nairobi, Kisumu, and Mombasa counties.
Other satellite BPO stations have been set up in Mbeere South, Kirinyaga, Swahili Pot and Ndhiwa that serve a supporting role for requests coming from courts in the neighbouring areas.
Over 200 young people have received gainful employment under this partnership, with over 135 working as transcribers and 28 in various support roles.
“Transcription work through the Judiciary digitisation project has been an eye opener,” explains Rehema Rima, a transcription agent attached to one of the BPO stations.
“I have significantly sharpened by interpersonal and grammar skills.”
In addition to this, more than 700 others, out of which 400 are women have been engaged in data entry jobs and various scanning assignments through the Ajira programme.
This shows how tech-savvy youth are beating Covid job blues. In much of the developed world, industries are poised to roar back to life, giving rise to millions of job opportunities previously shattered by the pandemic.
But in developing nations, the virus and attendant uncertainties on slow pace of vaccine roll out continue inflicting a heavy toll on the economies ability to reopen, and the chance for young workers to realize their dreams.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that employment in Kenya dropped to 16 million between April and June compared to 18 million in the previous quarter. Young employed people of between the ages of 20 and 29 years accounted for over 60 per cent of the lost employment opportunities or about 1.2 million jobs.
Ajira programme is a government initiative launched and driven by the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs to enable one million Kenyan youth to earn a decent wage from digital and digitally-enabled jobs annually, in the gig and freelancing economy through training and work linkages.
To this far, Ajira has yielded over 1,200 digital and digitally enabled jobs, giving rise to more than 500 jobs in the business processing outsourcing centers besides an equal number of opportunities in the gig economy.
An increasing number of youth are already leveraging on over 550 global online work platforms to get jobs as well as more than 240 e-commerce platforms under Ajira to strike meaningful work engagements.