Finding work that pays enough to put food on the table is a significant obstacle for thousands of people in Kenya.However, the odds of those who reside in the numerous informal settlements around Nairobi finding jobs are progressively improving in their favor, thanks to mobile technology and a service-on-demand start-up called kazi
The Kazi app, whose creators won the 2021 MTN Business App of the Year Award for Best Africa Solution, helps people who have to live from hand to mouth find work and gives them hope and dignity.
The idea behind the start-up, which was the brainchild of founders Granville Wafula and Mwenesi Musalia, was straightforward: create an app that would enable job seekers and employers to meet, negotiate, and set terms for employment that would be delivered on an as-needed basis.
On the other hand, Wafula says that the truth is very different. “In Nairobi, it is difficult to find qualified candidates. Usually, we rely on networking, which means getting in touch with friends and family in the hopes that they know someone who can help us. Then you would have to get in touch with the worker and hope they have time to help. It can take a long time and be stressful, especially if you need something quickly.”
According to Wafula, the turning point came when Musalia approached him. At the time, Musalia worked for an NGO responsible for providing food and assistance to those living in informal settlements located all over the city.
We thought that everyone, from low-skilled workers to trained but jobless artisans, could benefit from an app that connected them with prospective employers.That’s when Kazi was born.
Acceptance proliferated after it began small. People from over 100 different occupations have listed their services. Requests for assistance average 500 contacts per month, with a busy month seeing around 1000 calls. All applicants are thoroughly screened. Before joining the platform, their ID documents and formal qualifications are recorded, and character and work references are required.
One of the best things about our app is that it lets people look for work from home. This means that if you don’t have much money, you don’t have to spend and travel to places where you might find work. A built-in feature can also find jobs close to a worker on the list.
Companies that sell materials needed for home and business tasks have subscribed to the platform, making it easier for people to connect with them and buy materials. Subscriptions have also been used to create a low-cost insurance plan that has given many workers health insurance.
The start- up founders are using the money from the MTN Business to spread the word about the App .Wafula said, “We have the workers, and right now our main goal is to make sure that more potential clients know who they are and what they do.”
“It is gratifying to see a business app amongst our prize-winners that is beneficial for its developers and the community it serves,” said Kholofelo Magazine, head of marketing at MTN Business.
Kazi is an excellent example of how mobile devices and apps can provide services and opportunities to people who would not otherwise have access to them. We wish them every success and believe they will continue growing and creating more jobs and opportunities for thousands of Kenyans.
This week is the MTN Business App of the Year Awards. The winning app developers from all over Africa will get R1 million.