Kenya and Denmark have embarked on a programme to equip more than 1,000 refugees and locals at Dadaab camp in Garissa County with digital skills to get jobs.
Ajira Digital and Danish Refugee Council (DRC) have partnered to roll out the programme that will end in December.
The number of forcibly displaced persons in the region has increased due to persecution, conflict, violence, climate change or human rights violations.
Mr Mohammed Adan Ali, 22, was born and brought up at Daghale in Daadab Refugee Camp and is one of the youths enrolled in the programme.
“I saw the advertisement on digital skills in a WhatsApp group. I applied and we started the training immediately. The training is very nice and helpful to us. Although I was not good at typing speed initially but now I am able to type faster. I can now do transcription from English to Somali and now they have created for us an Upwork account,” Mr Adan told the Nation during the training.
“My advice to the youth of Garissa and Daadab is that they can come to the Danish Refugee Council to be trained by Ajira on digital skills. I am very confident that I can work online now. I will be a good online worker or freelancer, Inshallah,” he added.
Mr Obang’ Charra, a refugee from Ethiopia, aspires to be a web designer.
Mr Obang’ escaped from his country after learning that there was a genocide targeting his community.
“Since 2004, it has been hard being in a refugee camp and sometimes you would go to school without even breakfast. Despite the challenges, one must move on. When I learnt about Ajira, I enrolled and it was a good experience. I have learnt a lot. That exposure will help me do more online work and be able to take care of myself,” Mr Obang’ said.
“I am also going to teach other youths what I have learnt so that we grow together. I am learning a lot from Ajira, like graphic design, web design, being a translator, interpreter. As a youth growing up in a refugee camp, I would advise them to enroll for such kinds of courses that will help them especially here in Daadab camp and get online work,” he added.
Mr Chrisent Makori said the programme will focus on digital marketing, data entry, content writing, data assistant, transcription and virtual assistant which are under the Ajira Digital curriculum.
“The trainees are very active during the sessions enabling us to deliver content as per the timetable. However, some of the trainees are not Kenyans which made it difficult to register them on the portal,” Mr Makori said.
Mr Joseph Njoroge, the Danish Refugee Council representative, said their agenda is to build a dignified life for the displaced and Ajira project falls under that prospects with their mentorship and digital skills.
Mr Njoroge lauded the Ajira Digital program, saying that it provides an excellent platform for youths to take advantage of online jobs.
“The end goal is to have sustainability. In a situation whereby the youth trained do not become dependent on humanitarian agencies and rather be independent. In terms of growing up, they will be able to cater for their livelihoods and their families," Mr Njoroge said.
"We believe that the youths themselves will be able to carry out the sustainability of the project and as well become pioneers of the people who will nurture the upcoming as they mature to the next level into becoming sustainable,” he added.
Mr Victor Magere from the Ministry of ICT, Youth and Innovation said the programme aims at training more youth and the refugees residing in the community.
“We are looking at it because if you look at the vision and the objectives of the DRC is to provide a better livelihood to the refugees. And this resonates very well with the vision of Ajira Digital program which is actually to enable one million youth to earn decent wage from digital and digitally enabled jobs,” Mr Magere said.
“Digital jobs are available anywhere, that means if you are from Somalia, Kenya or Uganda you still have access to the same opportunities. Ajira digital program is more like an international program in terms of the skills we have,” he continued.
He said the Kenyan government has developed structured ICT infrastructure to facilitate rolling out of the programme.
“We have the national fibre optic infrastructure where the Dadaab Community is included. We also have the horn of Africa development program that aims to ensure each part of these frontier counties have access to the internet. Even the youth that are residing within the DRC community will have access to the internet and therefore will be able to benefit from the training of the Ajira digital programs,” Mr Magere explained.
The Ajira digital programme was introduced in 2018 by the government, through the Ministry of ICT, Youth and Innovation for millions of young Kenyans to tap into digital job opportunities.