The Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF), which is partly funded by UNICEF, is partnering with Cumii, Econet’s Technology company, to pilot a market research project, aimed at creating opportunities for youth to become Tasknites – data collectors and researchers in their respective communities. Through this project, CRF is providing an enabling space for Cumii to work with partner radio stations in Africa. The program which is cognisant of the integral role that young people play in the innovation, growth, and sustainability of any society, aims at supporting, up-skilling and creating employment opportunities, as a way of addressing the various socio-economic challenges that affect them.
The partnership seeks to ultimately achieve a targeted 100,000 youth recruits aged between 18 and 34 years across Africa, by 2019. In order to reach and engage with the youth at large, CRF, which operates in 6 markets in Africa, will provide a platform to discuss issues that affect them. Furthermore, leveraging on local community radio will give the Tasknites program significant traction in the recruitment of youth regardless of physical locality.
With an active presence in seven countries, the Tasknites programme, provides an employment platform for unemployed, under-utilised and skilled youth, with a special focus on young women. Recruiters are trained on how to use their mobile devices to conduct real-time research via a pre-programmed and client specific android based app. Tasknites are rigorously trained on how to carry out include Retail Audits, Product Sales, Customer Satisfaction Surveys, Advanced Analytics, and brand/product activations. After a vetting process, Tasknites are contracted on a project basis to conduct digital research for companies and non-profit organizations. A Tasknite is remunerated per survey, and has the potential to earn up to the equivalent of USD$20 per day, according to their output. The selection process is determined by the scope and geographical locations of the required research. Similar to the Technites program, Tasknites are tasked to work within their community, where they are familiar with its language and culture. The mobile platform enabled surveys are deployed remotely via a mobile app, through which they are also monitored.
This method of research has proven to be cost-effective, accurate and secure. Data integrity is improved by the immediate detection of input errors. Furthermore, data richness and authenticity is improved through timestamps, images and location tracking. The captured information is immediately encrypted, stored digitally and backed up. This addresses issues found in traditional research surveys, where errors are difficult to detect in the capturing and transcription process. Analysis and reports can be created in real time. The fast turnaround times provide clients with real-time data, that will allow them to rectify issues, capitalize on presented opportunities, increase efficiencies and better serve their stakeholders and clients. The project additionally allows for onboard clients to be part of an initiative that ploughs back to communities, through the empowerment of the youth who are largely a vulnerable constituency of society.
Zimbabwe has already signed up 2,600 Tasknites since inception, and have already provided services for businesses within the Econet group and other blue-chip organizations. In the region, over 5,000 youth are registered and active Tasknites in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia.
To kick-start the program in South Africa, a training session was held at Alex FM in Alexandra, Johannesburg, for 9 young reporters who were excited about the data they could potentially collect through the platform to enhance their shows on youth issues. The trained youth reporters will then drive peer-to-peer recruitment of young people through regular outreach activities. In South Africa, the program which will roll out to other Young Reporters Network (YRN) stations, aptly launched on Youth Day, a significant day for young people in the history of South Africa. Jennifer, a CRF Youth Reporter, believes that “This is a great opportunity for youth in our community. It will make a big difference in getting youth off the streets and may even reduce crime”
The Tasknites programme is open to all youth, who can register online on the Cumii facebook page. The Tasknites youth employment initiative seeks to empower youth by providing them with opportunities to empower and up-skill themselves, to become self-sufficient and positive influences within their respective societies.