Articles, Blog

Harambee | Maryana Iskander & Nicola Galombik | Skoll Award 2019


– South Africa, unfortunately,
stands out globally as having one of the
highest, if not the highest, youth unemployment rate. And probably the statistic
that would shock you is that our Statistician
General has estimated that roughly 40% of this
generation of young people will likely never work in their lifetime. Harambee’s best description is our title. We are a youth employment accelerator. And that means we partner with government, we partner with business, we partner with young people, making the youth labor market work better, making the investment that’s
being spent by many people in workforce development in
training and skills work better. And in the end, get young
people into more pathways that are going to generate
income for themselves and for their families. – The solution that became
Harambee was a solution that would solve problems on
the demand and the supply side. And therefore could gather momentum both with employers and with young people. So from the very outset, the thinking was we’re creating a labor market
solution, not a project. We’re trying to design this
thing in a way that could scale and have impact at a
population scale level and across the economy. And that meant we could attract
government into the process because rather than seeing it as a sort of project to be funded, they could see it as a
solution to the challenge that government was trying to solve. – Who has received marketing calls before? What I want to do now, the first part of what
we’re going to do now is I’m going to introduce
you to some terminologies that are going to be useful for the calls that we are going to be listening to. – At the moment, you’ve
got a lot of young people trapped in urban areas unable
to access opportunities, unable to afford the cost of job search. They need to be networked, they need to be pathway managed, and at the same time you’ve got to do what the private sector
can’t do by itself. You’ve got to catalyze opportunities in those economically-depressed areas. And this is where Harambee
and ourselves are entering quite new territory by actively working with firms that operate in our slum areas and creating pathways for those firms to evolve commercially and
become local employers. We are actively combining
economic development with youth workforce development and connecting the two
in a more structured way. That’s been missing historically. – We started Harambee in
a very traditional way, which was to say, how do you
get a group of businesses to think differently about who they bring into their environment and
how they bring them in. And so the idea was to say, could we create a network
that allowed those businesses to find young people that
were invisible to them? – As a pathway manager, we use
different tools to get data of what young people are really good at. And find the hidden potential, as opposed to just the qualifications, typical work experiences. So we then use different algorithms and teams that look at
that data to match them and to give them a leg-up
on the opportunities that they would have
never been visible for. – Harambee has got a number
of roles that applies. One of which is, as a
labor market change agent. And it has a huge ability
to influence the way people access work and, in our industry, entry-level work has been a
bit of a constraint to growth. And so over the years we’ve established a closer and closer
relationship with Harambee’s excluded youth as a skilled
pool into the BPO sector. – You have absolutely no control
over the customer’s accent, you have no control over the
customer’s length of speech. So you need to be equipped to handle that. – What’s been really interesting is that the speeds to productivity
of these learners coming out of Harambee has actually
not been any different to the speeds of productivity
of experienced staff. In fact they’ve been
more willing to learn, to put in the extra time. It’s been a fantastic story for us. – Harambee prepares you. They teach you focus, they teach you how to channel your energy, what is it that you need to do when you get into a work place. I do meet a lot of unemployed people. My best advice to them is go to Harambee. It gets you ready for the world of work. – We’re just trying to change our society, we’re trying to change our country. And in doing that, we think,
have something that we can say to the rest of the African
continent and the rest of world.

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