Strategically located in the heart of East Africa, Rwanda is one of the region's fastest-growing economies: For the past five years, it’s posted an 8% GDP growth rate and steady job creation. A recent government survey reports that roughly one million citizens have been lifted out of poverty since 2007. This is good news, especially when it comes to youth employment: Economic expansion usually means more new jobs.
Leveraging this growth trend, Souktel has partnered with the Education Development Center (EDC), through support from USAID, to launch its mobile phone JobMatch service across Rwanda. It's part of EDC's wide-reaching Akazi Kanoze project--a four-year initiative which seeks to link youth with employment, and empower local communities through economic growth.
Akazi Kanoze, which means "work well done" in local language Kinyarwanda, harnesses the potential of Rwandan youth by organizing career counseling, hosting job training sessions, and creating opportunities for young job-seekers to interact with entrepreneurs, employers or mentors.
Starting this month, EDC will integrate Souktel’s JobMatch platform into these activities as a new tool that helps youth search for work--all by text-message, of course. A partnership with regional mobile network MTN ensures that service users can access SMS job listings (or create SMS “mini-CVs” with their qualifications) at low cost. Meanwhile, an online data tracking interface keeps tabs on participants’ usage of the system, and lets EDC staff know when they’ve been matched with work or further training and education.
“The JobMatch system is the perfect platform for Akazi Kanoze graduates to get access to job opportunities, and subsequently connect…with employers,” says Maurice Masozera, EDC's Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist for the project. “On the side of employers, the…system is easy and convenient because the cost of advertising is low”. The system’s automatic matching of employers and job seekers, based on skill set and location data, also “makes it convenient for business owners to easily recruit potential candidates”.
Souktel is equally excited about the service’s potential: "This is our first time working in Rwanda, and we're eager to be launching in a new labor market," says Uqba Owda, the lead Software Project Manager for the initiative. "The economy here is expanding rapidly, so we believe there's tremendous opportunity for JobMatch to grow quickly as well."