Today more than ever, working online has become so lucrative yet so complicated. Faced with barriers such as the hustle of opening digital payment accounts and getting them verified, many miss out on the opportunities that the digital economy offers. Celo, a mobile-first open financial platform, has invested in developing mobile based applications with partners, Appen & Kotani Pay to allow Kenyan-based users to work on Microwork tasks and cash out their earnings via MPESA.
Mercy Corps in partnership with NairoBits is implementing a pilot program for these apps to test out their usability, particularly among underserved demographics. The program trains and monitors participants (turned microworkers) over the course of one month to track their progress. The pilot comes at a crucial time when so many had lost their source of livelihood due to the impact of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic. Accenting the ages when many youth are trying to gain entry into employment (18-29), the need of such a program couldn’t be clearer. In fact, in this very pilot, we received over 1000 competitive applications for only 200 slots that we are offering. Further to earning a livelihood online, the program offers good use of time for the youth who engage with it.
NairoBits has already engaged the first 100 youth, drawn from across Nairobi in a couple of training sessions that empowered them to start working through the Microwork platform. Speaking at the first training, NairoBits Business Development & Sustainability Associate, Mr. Sam Nyamwange spoke of the potential of technology in transforming lives of those who make gainful advantage of it. Mr. Wachira, the lead trainer, broke down the microwork process for the participants and underscored the simplicity of working and earning using these tools. He also alluded to the new knowledge horizons that relatively newer tasks would offer to participants.
The young people were taken through practical and participatory sessions by our trainers to heighten their microworking skills. The learner-centered training ensured that all participants had the chance to download, set-up and work on their smartphones. They also got to query the technicalities of working and earning through the platforms to their satisfaction. By the end of the day, the participants were eager to test out the applications and learn while at it and importantly, they were most excited about their new path to financial independence!
Over the next two months, we shall be training and tracking the progress of 100 more youth hailing from low-income communities. For the success of this pilot, we shall be seeking to understand the changes that occur in the lives of participants because of this program.