Initiative aims to create jobs for over 3000 Kenyan rural youth using mobile phones and SMS.
Announced today is a new and an innovative project aimed at creating job opportunities for Kenyan youth using the mobile phone. Information Convergence Technologies is a Kenyan firm that has launched MwananchiSMS, an SMS-based service that will hopefully see hundreds of young Kenyans employed by using mobile phones to disseminate specific and localized information.
The firm is currently in the process of recruiting youth leaders to spearhead this project in rural Kenya. The youth leaders will be appointed in each rural village and will to collect bio data and mobile phone numbers for between 1000 to 3000 users in their respective village. The youth leader will then run the business as a franchise and will become a self employed micro-journalist. Users of the service will be required to give give their consent to receive the Free MwananchiSMS service.
â€œThe project will provide employment to rural youth in Kenya who could otherwise be engaged in unproductive and disruptive social or political activities. The youth leaders will not be treated as employees but as social entrepreneurs who work on behalf of and for the interest of the community.â€ said Mr Simon Ndirangu, the Managing Director, Â Information Convergence Technologies.
Mr Ndirangu said youth leaders or Micro-journalists will retain 30% of revenue, adding that the concept isÂ a simple, yet unique way of reaching out to thousands of Kenyan citizens using mobile phones and at the same time creating jobs for the youth. At the moment there is no way of getting a timely message to people in a rural setting in Kenya as there is limited Internet access, televisions, and newspapers are relatively expensive.
Today, mobile phones reach a large portion of the Kenyan population, including low income earners and rural folk. From farmers to teachers, street hawkers to businessmen, most citizens are now connected through the mobile phone. A simple SMS facility can provide Kenyan citizens with a channel to receive, share, or broadcast their views on important issues.
Enabling push-down services such as sending alerts, reminders, updates, and vital information via a mobile phone can bridge the digital divide between and within rural and urban areas of Kenya whilst serving as a useful medium for interaction between all stakeholders – from government, to organizations and individuals country-wide.