, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – A local company has launched an innovative programme aimed at creating job opportunities for young people using mobile phones.
Information Convergence Technologies Managing Director Simon Ndirangu said on Tuesday that the SMS (Short Messaging Service) project dubbed ‘MwananchiSMS’ will see hundreds of young people gainfully employed by using the mobile phone to disseminate specific and localised information.
“The project will provide employment to the rural youth who could otherwise be engaged in unproductive and disruptive social or political activities. The youth will not be treated as an employee but as a social entrepreneur who works on behalf of and for the interest of the community,” he explained.
The MD said they are in the process of recruiting youths in rural areas that will be required to collect bio data and phone numbers of 1,000 to 3,000 people in their villages. The people will then be required to give consent to be start receiving the Free SMS service.
Mr Ndirangu said the young entrepreneur would become a self employed micro journalist who will run the business as a franchise and retain about 30 per cent of the revenue generated from the project.
At the moment, he pointed out rural people hade no way of getting timely message due to the limited Internet access and the fact that newspapers are out of reach for the majority thus the need for such a service.
“Today, mobile phones reach a large portion of the Kenyan population, including the low income earners. From farmers to teachers, street hawkers to businessmen, most citizens are now connected through the mobile. A simple SMS facility can provide citizens with a channel to receive, share, or broadcast their views on important issues,” the MD added.
The project will not only help to bridge the digital divide at the grassroots level but also enable the government to increase transparency in the use of devolved funds such as the Constituency Development Fund, he added.
“Enabling push-down services such as sending alerts, reminders, updates, and vital information via a mobile phone can bridge the digital divide between and within rural and urban areas while serving as a useful medium of interaction between the government and public,” Mr Ndirangu said.
Information Convergence Technologies is a mobile solution provider licensed by Communication Commission of Kenya as a Content Service Provider.