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Mercy Corps, AELS Launch Ichuzz2work Platform To Provide Work Opportunities For Refugees and Youth Nationals

With over 1.4 million refugees in Uganda, 64% are unemployed. With the launch of the Ichuzz2work Platform, its partners believe it will narrow down on this refugee unemployment rate.

Mercy Corps in partnership with African Executive Leaders Solutions (AELS) have today launched an online work employment platform, Ichuzz2work —to provide job opportunities to refugees. The platform in its pilot mode is set to run for five months and will create work opportunities for refugees in informal settlements in Makindye and Kawempe divisions in Kampala.

Uganda is known of welcoming refugees and is reported to be the second largest refugee-hosting country after Lebanon. With over 1.4 million refugees in Uganda, a January 2021 report released by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, stated that 64% of the refugees are being unemployed.

Edward Simiyu, Mercy Corps Country Director for Uganda, speaking to journalists at the launch of the Ichuzz2work Platform at the Mercy Corps head offices in Muyenga. (PHOTO: PC TECH MAGAZINE/Olupot Nathan Ernest)
Edward Simiyu, Mercy Corps Country Director for Uganda, speaking to journalists at the launch of the Ichuzz2work Platform at the Mercy Corps head offices in Muyenga. (PHOTO: PC TECH MAGAZINE/Olupot Nathan Ernest)

Edward Simiyu, Mercy Corps Country Director for Uganda, told PC Tech Magazine that, “The refugees are note enrolled in public services, or any SMEs sector and yet they have various skills that they could utilize or market and be able to earn a livelihood.” Hence, the high rate of the unemployed refugees.

Mercy Corps in Uganda works on various responses like addressing poverty for Ugandans including the refugees. They have a very strong humanitarian program with focus of empowering people who find themselves in marginalized context such as the refugees. They believe that with the Ichuzz2work platform, they will help refugees get work opportunities to earn a livelihood and narrow down the unemployment rate.

This partnership is an exciting opportunity for Mercy Corps as it’s part of our bigger mission to identify and test creative technology-enabled solutions to tackle unemployment and accelerate job creation. We believe one way to address the country’s unemployment crisis is to focus on the potential of digital technology and online platforms are becoming a new income source for thousands of talented and innovative people who otherwise would be left on the sidelines,” Simiyu explains.

African Executive Leaders Solutions (AELS) as partners of the Ichuzz2work platform, will work closely with the Directorate of Industrial Training to bridge the skills gaps among the refugees and host communities in the two divisions through modular assessments that lead to issuance of worker’s passes and other forms of accreditation that can give employers the confidence to demand and pay for their skills/service.

The Ichuzz2work platform however, is not only meant for the refugees but youth nationals as well. Simiyu told journalists that the platform will be used by 70% refugees and 30% youth nationals. Thus, the majority beneficiaries of the platform will be the refugees. Refugees signing up will be identified by their documents.

Ichuzz2work will enable target audiences to identify their unique strengths, improve their skills and competencies to secure meaningful learning and earning opportunities focusing on work-based learning that is not limited to internship, trainee opportunities and apprenticeships.

Ichuzz2work will on the other hand bridge the gap between the service workers and their clients —enabling a quick and convenient access of the services such as plumbing, electrical wiring, building, tutoring, welding, hairdressing, computer programming, marketing, farm management, among others.

The clients have an opportunity to make a choice of individuals; their services, as they find them fit for their budgets while creating value for both workers and employers.

“We see an average income of US Dollars 30 – 500 for most of the tasks/jobs being done by the Taskers on the platform. Skilled people can now earn from their skills within their communities and customers can now deal with verified service providers from their communities hence improving the household incomes, reducing unemployment and increasing empowerment of the youths and host communities,” Patrick Ngolobe, CEO of AELS, said during the launch of the platform.

Patrick Ngolobe, CEO African Executive Leaders Solutions, speaking to journalists at the launch of the Ichuzz2work Platform at the Mercy Corps head offices in Muyenga. (PHOTO: PC TECH MAGAZINE/Olupot Nathan Ernest)
Patrick Ngolobe, CEO African Executive Leaders Solutions, speaking to journalists at the launch of the Ichuzz2work Platform at the Mercy Corps head offices in Muyenga. (PHOTO: PC TECH MAGAZINE/Olupot Nathan Ernest)

The ichuzz2work is available on the web and mobile app and users incur no charges for registration, posting of a job or when the service provider is paid. All accounts created on the platform are verified and approved job alerts are sent out.

The platform has been designed to cater for geo-referencing, where only taskers within a radius of 20KM from the customer posting the task/job will get a job/task alert. This is intended to increase turnaround time for service delivery and also reduce the operational costs so as to have competitive pricing for the task/s.

Upon getting the job, the customer will only fully pay for the job when its 100% done. The platform provides a digital contract that both parties are to sign before conducting any business. Reporting any breach of contract and indicating when the taskers are available to do the tasks/jobs.

Upon completion of the assignment the customer is able to rate the taskers on a five star scale. Taskers with better ratings are always chosen first.

Ngolobe has emphasized that all the taskers on the platform are accredited by the Directorate of Industrial Training. In addition, mentored and trained in their specific fields of expertise, as well as trained in interpersonal and customer relations to enhance professionalism as they offer their services to the general public.

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