Kenya’s Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs has launched an Ajira Digital Club at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DEKUT) in a bid to reach more youth and expand footprints of the Ajira Digital Program across the county.
Ajira Digital program is a socio-economic intervention that aims at empowering over 1 million young Kenyans with the requisite skills to take-up digital and digitally enabled work opportunities both locally and internationally in the bid to positon Kenya as top-rated global hub for digital freelancing and Business Processes Outsourcing.
Dedan Kimathi University of Technology Ajira Club which has been reported to have the highest number of online workers in the country, is among the 40 Ajira clubs established in various universities and TVETs across the county. The club that will be run by students, will act as additional training, incubation and mentorship forum that help equip the students to access digital and digitally-enabled job opportunities.
Speaking at the launch, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of ICT Innovation and Youths Affairs Ms. Maureen Mbaka, said online work is the way to go, and the digital jobs have surpassed the number of digital workers.
“As a ministry we are working hard with our partners to reach out to young Kenyans who are in and out of higher learning institutions,” Mbaka said.
The CAS urged the youths to seize the online opportunities that Ajira Program is offering to enhance their skillsets and start earning a decent living through digital and digitally-enabled jobs that are available.
In 2018, Ajira initiated a partnership with higher learning institutions to enable millions of young people to tap into digital job opportunities. Majority of the youths have been trained on article writing, transcription, digital marketing and virtual assistance to transform their livelihoods by working online. The CAS, Ms. Ombaka lauded Dedan Kimathi University of Technology for its commendable work.
“This university has the highest number of online workers among all institutions of higher learning. We have seen several students earn a decent living in this institution.”
Allan Waithira, Rael Mburu and Janet Chepkirui final year engineering students, said they enrolled in the programme after joining the university in 2018 and have been earning a decent income through online jobs.
They said they earn and save money through online jobs and they use their earnings to meet personal needs as well as settle college fees.
Dedan Kimathi Vice-Chancellor Ndirangu Kioni said the programme will enable graduates to secure online jobs and contribute to the country’s economy.
“We have put in place systems to ensure that none of our graduates complains that they have not secured a job,” Kioni said.
Through the Ajira digital program, the country continues to demystify the myths around online work and embracing it as a source of income and dignified form of employment.
This concerted effort by Ajira and its partners has resulted in significant increase of number of Kenyans earning from online work opportunities from 1.2million in 2021 and now close to 2 million online workers in 2022, according to a report by Tifa commissioned by Ajira Digital program.
Ajira Digital program is working closely with like-minded partners including the Mastercard Foundation under the Young Africa Works program; who is the program’s principal investment partner. The eMobilis Mobile Technology Institute which is charged with the operationalization of Ajira Youth Empowerment Centers, institutionalization of Ajira Clubs in Universities and TVETs as well as implementation of training across the country.
Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) is the Ajira partner supporting with catalyzing digitization for private sector and e-government create demand for the digital and digitally enabled work skills offered by the program. These stakeholders work in close cohesion, to ensure they deliver on their mandates towards realizing the goal of the program and contributing to the country’s digital economy growth.
Ajira also partnered with Absa Bank Kenya in 2021 to train young people in digital skills and financial literacy to increase employment and entrepreneurship under the second phase of the programme implemented by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA). The partnership would see Absa link its job training, scholarship and internship initiative, ReadytoWork, with the Ajira Digital site.
Applicants would be taken through a certification programme with different modules using computers or mobile phones and issued certificates on completion.
The bank is also investing Sh50 million in developing the ReadytoWork app for downloading or it can be accessed on the Ajira portal for convenience.
The roll out of Ajira Digital Clubs is intended to take place in every higher-level institution and is intended to reach more youth and expand footprints of the Ajira Digital Program across the country.
The initiative is part of the national government’s broader strategy to create an environment for work generation and skills development as well as incubate an entrepreneurship culture amongst the youth.
The Ajira Digital Clubs act as formal structures within the various higher-learning institutions and function to onboard new members to the Ajira Digital ecosystem where citizens get access to work readiness trainings, mentorship and visibility of job opportunities in the gig economy.
Every Ajira Digital club in each institution has an Ajira patron and Ajira Club champions who will be able to organize different Ajira Club activities that are tailored towards involving all the students and opening up opportunities for them to learn new skills and venture into digital work.
Over 100,000 youth have directly benefited from the training, mentorship and incubation programs offered through Ajira Digital platform and can now earn a living through online and gig works on the numerous local and international online work platforms as well as the over 250 e-commerce platforms under the AJIRA Digital network.
The Ajira Digital is free program open to all young Kenyans who are looking to make a dignified livelihood from digital and digitally-enabled work opportunities. One can access the platform through www.ajiradigital.go.ke.