Against the backdrop of a rapidly growing youth population, country-wise and continent-wise, are numerous traditional development programs intent on teaching generalised skills to the masses. They have the general understanding that something needs to be done about the mass unemployment and underemployment facing the youth today. For this reason, they provide content, design tests and evaluations for the average learner, but they getone thing wrong. They generally ignore the strengths and weaknesses of individual students.
In the 21st Century, however, most of the over 226 million youth(18-30) in Africa no longer need to wait for an average training curriculum. They can learn whatever they want on demand. They want to learn in their own way, ensuring the content they seek is increasingly relevant to them.
Jijali Learning was built with this shift in mind. As a blended learning program, it provides a highly focused and individual learning path for each learner with the goal of challenging them to stand out in the dynamic business world of the 21st Century.
Up until 2021, Jijali will be focused on serving the unemployed and underemployed youth (18-30 years old), primarily from the middle-income class in Kenya, who are looking to develop or diversify their practical skills to start, change or develop their career, or to start their own business. After 2021, Jijali’s content will be diversified to a much wider target audience.
The program’s career-start track allows the learners to hone a competitive skill-set that employers demand, assisting them in different ways – from applying for a job to landing a permanent offer, as well as growing alongside their employers. The entrepreneurship track, on the other hand, provides learners with the tools and knowledge that enable them to turn concepts into actual businesses.
The entire 3-month program involves in-person workshops held once a month to facilitate program introduction and to build motivation in learners, online learning content in the form of video and reading materials, practical field tasks to enable participants to apply their learning and virtual mentorship to provide support, motivation and feedback to learners.
Current solutions in the market that seek to serve individual youth needs are “no-tech” programs, which are prohibitively expensive, or too “high-tech” where there is low accountability, low customization, low guidance, and low chance for practice learning. The majority of them are also created for the Western world and are hard to relate to if one is a youth on the continent.
This is why Yusudi focused on building a localised, affordable, machine-learning-supported, mentorship-focused and individualised learning solution in the form of Jijali in order to bridge the market gap. The main aim is to change the way learning is done on the continent.
Jijali’s mission began in 2018 with the pilot program. The aim of the pilot, which is divided into three phases, is to impact 2500 youth across Kenya by growing their skills and mindsets, with an income increase of 100% within 1 year of their graduation. This is to be achieved while partnering with Busara Center for Behavioral Economics to gather data on the correlation between learner customization and outcomes.
The first two phases were carried out in partnership with the Co-operative Bank Foundation and the Embassy of Finland. Yusudi also managed to raise $250,000 in grant capital from Global Giving in partnership with Impact Assets and Blue Haven Initiative, in order to effectively run phase three of the Jijali pilot and continue the development of the platform.
JIJALI PILOT PROGRAM
After the first phase of the pilot:
24% of participants, who previously had no income before the program, are now earning an income.
Previously, only 14% of participants earned more than 20,000 shillings per month. Now, 34% of participants earn more than that each month.
15% of participants earn more than 30,000 per month, whereas only 3% earned this amount prior to the start of the program.
From the entrepreneurship track, 73% attributed their recent business/career successes to the Jijali program.
After the second phase of the pilot:
At least 9 participants had found jobs or internships while at least 6 more were in the interview stage.
At least 8 participants had experienced business growth. This includes changes in business management for those with existing businesses and business creation or idea validation for those who did not have businesses before they joined the program.
6 out of 10 of the trainees who mentioned that their career situation had not changed are still in school.
Both phase one and phase two were useful in data collection and analysis for the machine learning development in 2019-2020. The second version of the online learning platform was launched in phase two with customized content and testing systems. This paved the way for phase three (Jijali 3.0).
Jijali 3.0, which was launched in September 2019, is fully online and includes virtual training (with the beta version of the platform), field tasks and mentorship. The other important milestones of this phase will be ongoing data collection, analysis and implementation in machine learning as well as ongoing content creation and diversification of the learning offering of the platform.
It has indeed been an amazing journey seeing Jijali from the start, up until phase three and a lot more is yet to come. Watch this space.
Click here to sign up for Jijali.