Youth unemployment in Kenya is fast approaching a red line, but Blaze by Safaricom has a plan.
Since independence in 1963, young adults or the youth, who make up 75 percent of the Kenyan population continue to face a myriad of challenges that have threatened to dim the lights of their bright futures.
Rising cases of sexually transmitted infections, mental health challenges and lack of job opportunities are just but a few issues in a long list of vices that have routinely haunted the members of this age group.
In Kenya for example, 22.2 percent of the youth remain unemployed, a significantly higher percentage compared to their counterparts in the East African community. Additionally, a job-skills mismatch means that a good number of youths who are lucky enough to have secured employment opportunities, end up actively looking for other jobs.
The few who graduate from tertiary institutions and are fortunate enough to land internship opportunities in various organizations and even over-deliver on the roles assigned to them by their masters, in the hope that they will be considered for formal employment, meet face to face with the uncomfortable truth; that things don’t always work out the way they assume.
These cold hard facts can leave them feeling hopeless or scapegoating others, seeing that some of them may require a miracle to survive during these harsh economic times.
But despite this grim picture of desperation, MS Fawzia Ali, Safaricom’s head of consumer segments has promised that her company is doing everything it can to mitigate these challenges.
To this end, Blaze by Safaricom has rolled out Blaze Link, an E-learning platform that will empower the youth by offering them free online & digital skills, that they can hit the market with and become their own bosses.
When she rose up to speak, MS Fwazia said that Blaze Link is targeting 1.3 Million youths in Kenya in the first year, which will be underpinned by high internet penetration and support from Safaricom’s partners who include global giants Google and IBM.
“Young people who leverage this digital skills can go on to submit jobs at a world-class level on platforms like Fiverr.com, they can then get paid through the PayPal to MPESA Channel from anywhere in the country,” Said Charles Murito, Google’s Country Manager who was also present during the launch.
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MS Fawzia said that Blaze Link is guided by two of the seventeen UN SDG’s which include Quality education alongside Decent work and economic growth. She said that those SDG’s help to keep Safaricom honest in its quest to give back to the society in which it operates.
“Blaze Link will work as an aggregator of e-learning resources and users can access the platform by going to https://link.blaze.c.ke” she added.
MS Fawzia was speaking at a colorful launch ceremony which was organized at the Technical University of Kenya on the 17th of July, 2019.