Kenya government run Ajira Digital, a freelancer jobs platform aiming to connect 1m Kenyan youths to jobs across the country has today received $1m from the Rockeffeller Foundation to train and connect more youth to digital jobs.

According to  Mr. Joe Mucheru, CS Ministry of ICT, “Creation of employment for the youth is one of the government’s major policy agendas. That is why we came up with the Ajira Digital Programme to introduce young people to work opportunities available online and provide them with the right tools, awareness, infrastructure, skills, training, mentorship and access to dignified work that can earn them a decent income online.”

Mucheru added that the ultimate goal is to directly support 1 million young Kenyans across the country to find and complete work online by end of 2017 adding that the pursuit of an empowered, engaged and involved youth population cannot be fulfilled through the ICT Ministry or Government action alone.

Mucheru also said the government is currently rolling out the Constituency Innovation Hubs project in partnership with Members of Parliament and the National Government Constituency Development Fund Board to provide free Wi-Fi in four locations in each of the 290 constituencies.

Ajira Digital will work with top CEOs of leading private sector corporations, to outsource online some of their tasks. Together, the ministry with Rockfeller Foundation and Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) will commence a national programme to upscale demand driven training and develop a sustainable model for connecting disadvantaged youth to online work under Phase 1 of the Ajira Digital Programme.

The Rockfeller Foundation Africa said the grant of USD 1,000,000 to KEPSA to implement the Ajira online training in collaboration with the ICT ministry. The three say phase one of the Programme will oversee the development of the Ajira Digital training curriculum and the assigning of the trained apprentices to identified experienced workers and online freelancers. KEPSA will set up 21 centers to train youth on online jobs and use of Ajira Digital in Kenya.

According to Mr. Mucheru, Ajira is not competing private initiaves such as Kuhustle, BrighterMonday among others but aims to provide training and awareness to support the gig economy in the country to encourage uptake among the youth.

Ajira Digital is targeting over one million youth in Kenya and it says it has already signed up 10,000 users already and aims to sign up more.