Ajira Digital Program

Reshaping talent supply for Kenya & the World

2021
Strategy

Client name:

Ajira Digital Program

Client industry:

Government services

Client headline:

Ajira Digital Program is a government initiative driven by the Ministry of ICT, Innovations & Youth Affairs. The program is implemented by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance and eMobilis Technology with funding from the Mastercard Foundation under the Young Africa Works initiative. The program aims to empower over one million young people to access digital and digitally-enabled work opportunities and position Kenya as a preferred labour destination globally.

Challenge:

Kenya’s youth unemployment rate stands at 65%, this is equivalent to 3-in-5 unemployed Kenyans being 15 – 35 years old. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data indicates that 1.7 million jobs were lost in 2020 in the formal sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite being disruptive the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated adoption of digital policies and investments by the Government and Private sector. It has also initiated rapid digital transformation in SMEs, Startups & MSMEs which has created new opportunities in the digital economy. Kenya is also emerging as an attractive labour market to businesses around the world and youth are now engaging on online work platforms such as Upwork and making competitive earnings.

Solving this challenge requires a macro level intervention with specific deliverables that balance the supply and demand of jobs that result in uptake and excellence in current and future opportunities.

Approach:

Ajira Digital Program was set up to solve this challenge, focusing on unemployed youth while also looking at offering solutions to businesses. The program has led to the creation of an expansive talent pool that has been deployed across several projects in government, local & foreign businesses, and online work platforms. The Program has achieved this through strategic partnerships that offer training and mentorship to ensure work readiness and guidance across the different digital work opportunities.

Ajira through KEPSA worked with Krowd Works to re-engineer existing processes on how to maximize opportunities in the Artificial Intelligence training data space and also improved targeting of local businesses for sustainable digital workstreams.

The Ajira Program has also tackled the issue of access to computers and internet connectivity through the setup of Ajira empowerment centres across all counties. This was a key differentiator to previous interventions and allowed equal access to take up work opportunities.

Results:

The program has made massive strides as they drive the agenda at both policy and implementation levels and thus far;

  1. Over 1.2 million youth in Kenya are working online as per a National study on the digital economy in 2021.
  2. Over 100 online work platforms have been engaged to link opportunities to the youth
  3. Over 5,000 businesses have ongoing digitization initiatives
  4. Driving eGovernment digitization projects

Direct efforts through Krowd Works have led to a solid pipeline of data projects with over 10,000 applications and 4,995 directly engaged on client work.

As a whole, these efforts have resulted in a significant contribution to the national economy through growth in the number of digital workers earning above minimum wage. There is an increase in online platforms connecting workers to employers, growth on international platforms allowing Kenyans to source work as well as the private sector awareness of freelancing and how to leverage on it.