Did you know that the unemployment rate is 12 percent in Ghana and 40 percent in Kenya? At DEMO 2013 last week, I caught up with Maxwell Donkor who is working to solve this problem.
Donkor is the founder of mPawa, who matches bottom of pyramid workers with employers. In this video interview, Donkor explains how mPawa uses SMS to match workers with jobs. There is a technology gap between employers, who work in offices with computers, and blue collar workers who may have a candy-bar style cell phone at best.
These blue collar workers are in industries such as construction, hospitality, and house cleaning. Many are seasonal workers who must find 4-5 jobs a year to sustain a living. Their main method of job search is word of mouth, which is inefficient. In addition, they are often underpaid due to a lack of documentation on past work. Donkor tells the story of a plumber with five years of work history, who upon registering on the mPawa network was matched with a supervisor job at twice his previous salary.
This and other success stories are why mPawa is changing the landscape of blue collar employment in Africa.
Connie Kwan is a Lead Product Manager at Atlassian, a software company that gives back by donating all starter-license profit to Room to Read. Over $2M has been donated so far. Kwan holds an MBA in Sustainability from Presidio Graduate School, and covers stories on technology and sustainability. Follow her on Twitter @conniemkwan.