Ajira Digital Program, an initiative of the Government of Kenya under the Ministry of ICT, Innovations, and Youth Affairs which is being funded by Mastercard Foundation and implemented by different partners including eMobilis and Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) today launched four Ajira Youth Empowerment Centres in West Pokot. These centres are equipped with Free internet connectivity and computers where young people can access Free training, mentorship and online working opportunities.
Located in Makutano, Kapenguria Consituency; Chapareria, Pokot South Constituency, Sigor Pokot Central Constituency; and Alale in Pokot North Constituency, the Centres will be accessible free of charge to the youth in the region. The County government of West Pokot has invested a great deal to develop and equip these centres to entrench digital literacy and youth empowerment geared towards a sustainable community development
Speaking at the launch of the Makutano Empowerment Centre, West Pokot Governor, Prof. John Krop Lonyang’apuo, applauded the Ajira Digital Program for providing an opportunity for youth empowerment through the innumerable online opportunities that the digital ecosystem presents. Governor Lonyang’apuo pointed out that West Pokot is determined to help its youthful population embrace digital transformation and will complement the effort by Ajira Digital Program and its partners in addition to a personal donation of 30 laptop computers to the Makutano Centre.
Recently, a national study on the digital economy indicated that more than 1.2 million young people are earning their livelihood through digital and digitally-enabled jobs. This scale has been reached as a result of the growing importance of Kenya’s digital ecosystem and the role of the private sector in spurring innovations, jobs, and enterprises for youth. Businesses that are embracing digitization as a core strategy for enhancing operations have further encouraged this trend while at the same time facilitating the creation of jobs for youth. This is the central focus of the Ajira Digital Program. Every Kenyan can access the Ajira Digital program free and start working online through www.ajiradigital.go.ke
Also present at the launch, Co-Founder and Managing Director of eMobilis, Ken Mwenda, explained how the Ajira Program caters for both the supply and demand side. The youth are trained with the end goal of making an impact on businesses through digital and digitally enabled jobs. Over 59,000 youth have been trained and have mentors in place. He stressed that local youth are engaged to implement the program to ensure the entire nation moves in the same direction at the same pace. Through mobilisation, training, mentorship and job linkages as they understand the dynamics of the community. Mr Mwenda also urged business people to embrace digital transformation pointing services that can be sourced including but not limited to data entry, transcription services, digital marketing, and virtual assistance. eMobilis, through the Ministry of ICT, Youth Affairs & Innovations, he noted has partnered with Amazon where over 97 youth were trained on more of the aforementioned areas and other web services. This is in addition to their engagement with online platforms to offer blue colour jobs with the stand out example being iBuild and Fundis who rebranded the Ajira Youth Empowerment Centres (AYECs).
The digital economy remains a top priority for the Government of Kenya and over the last 15 years, they have been committed to putting in place enabling policies and investments to support these efforts. Government, through the Ministry of ICT, has an objective to have broadband available to all Kenyans within walking distance even in rural areas. To date, over 200,000 Ajira Youth Empowerment Centres have been rolled out countrywide, over 40 Ajira Digital Clubs established in Universities and TVET institutions, and more than 200,000 youth registered on the Ajira Portal https://ajiradigital.go.ke/