“The Ajira Digital Programme can help you determine if online work is for you…” This is one of the statements that greet you when you visit the Ajira website.
Launched in 2016, the Ajira Digital platform became the first multi-sectorial initiative by the Kenyan government that aims to introduce youths to the concept of online work.
This platform provides young people with tools, training, and mentorship needed to make a living in the online environment.
This program is spearheaded by the Ministry of ICT.
The goal is to help over one million Kenyans to access online jobs within a one year period. However, some pessimists have described this figure as unrealistic.
The online environment is deluged with workers and most companies are cutting down on labor. This group argues that this is expected to continue.
Then and Now
The high unemployment rates among youths are among key factors that advised the creation of the Ajira digital portal.
An article published in the Business Daily in 2016 suggested that Kenya has the largest number of unemployed youths in East Africa.
The Daily quoted a World Bank report that showed that one in five Kenyan youths in the working age bracket is unemployed.
That is where online work comes in.
Online work has come a long way. Jobs that used to pay between $1 and $2 are now paying an average of $5.
Also, more people are making a living in the online environment in 2017 compared to five years ago.
Ten years ago, very little information was available on online jobs. Today, there are numerous online platforms that allow people to share information or even advertise online jobs.
In addition, there are numerous categories of online work that young people can engage in.
You can become a graphic designer, virtual assistant, transcriber, web designers, and much more.
Earlier, the emphasis was mostly placed on writers. As well, Ajira digital jobs span across various industries.
The bulk of online work is created by companies based in large economies of the world. Thousands of Kenyans work online.
Ajira digital Kenya makes the process easier since it gives Kenyan youth access to online work.
Pros of the Ajira Digital Programme
- Increased awareness of online jobs in Kenya
- Free training and mentorship to those who would not otherwise afford
- Provision of tools such as computer which are not accessible to some young people
- Promote Kenya as a destination for online work
The platform does not offer jobs but provides links to a few existing legitimate sites. There is no assurance of jobs and the sites you are directed to may or may not offer work.
It creates awareness and avail training and mentoring tools. There are other great benefits since you also network with a community of online workers in Kenya.
Internet Costs and Reach Problems
The high cost of the internet may act as a hindrance.
The Ajira Kenya government initiative is a good idea but some things remain to be done for desirable results to be achieved.
If internet costs are lowered, jobless youths would comfortably enjoy the benefits of the platform.
The Studio Mashinani Controversy
Studio Mashinani is another initiative that seeks to leverage on creativity and talent in the music and acting industry. It is listed on the Ajira Kenya website.
This is an initiative of the Ministry of ICT and the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).
Controversy rocked this project early this year when Bien-Aime Baraza, a member of Sauti Sol band accused the government of stealing his idea.
Bien stated that the idea had been presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta who referred the afro-pop group to the Youth Fund management.
He claims that he was shocked that the idea had been implemented without even involving the brains behind the idea namely Sauti Sol.