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Enabling access to job opportunities for persons with disabilities in Kenya

A mobile application that connects disabled people to jobs through an online platform, offline job readiness & employer disability trainings

Photo of RizikiSource

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What problem does your idea solve?

Job seekers who have a disability in Kenya are often not employed because they don`t have access to job opportunities advertised in the newspapers,or employers don`t know how to find them or even how to deal with an employee who has a certain type of a disability. Interviewing panels cannot anticipate who is coming for an interview thus a deaf job seeker would lack a sign language interpreter or the interview can be put on the 4th floor with no lift for someone using a wheelchair to attend.

Explain your idea

Through a short code,any job seeker who has a disability can send a text message (Kazi) which would then aggregate his/her profile including the job sought,type of disability and qualifications to enable the administrator actively link the applicant with an available job opportunity. Riziki Source forms partnerships with companies in both public and private sectors who actively seek to hire from our platform. Persons with disabilities who join the platform are trained in job readiness and helped to improve their CVs including their presentation skills. While still waiting for the next matching,one is also given an opportunity to earn by doing online jobs at Riziki Hub,which is an accessible workspace started to promote employment of disabled people using technology. To improve employment chances of those on our platform,we organize employer trainings centered on disability inclusion thus raising their levels of confidence in hiring individuals with disability whenever they show up during job interviews.Employers also actively search our online database for prospective employees who have a disability and look for support in ensuring that they do the right thing to be inclusive in their hiring process.Our partners also benefit from support in developing workplace disability inclusion policies as well as ensuring that the work environment is accessible for both employees and clients with disabilities thus making our partners disability inclusion champions amongst their peers.

Who benefits?

Our biggest beneficiary is a person with a disability who is looking for a job,and of any age though majority are of age 25-40 years.They are able to get a job and earn an income which helps them become independent and support themselves and their immediate family thus escaping poverty.Employers also benefit since they are able to access incredible talents which have been neglected in the past while playing part in poverty reduction amongst the disabled.We reach out to any type of disability

How is your idea unique?

Our idea is unique since it is premised on the background that breaking barriers that hinder the advancement of persons with disabilities in the realm of employment will enable them to thrive in various sectors of the economy in the country. In our solution we have therefore deployed a basic mobile technology where persons with disabilities from any economic background can have access to a basic phone and send a text message from any part of the country and we are able to reach them and connect them to a job they are looking for.We also cluster job seekers and provide job specific trainings as well as disability-specific trainings to ensure that employability of our clients is enhanced. We have also chosen to work with private sector to ensure that our idea is sustainable and will not require funding once we are fully operational since the initiative will sustain itself as a social enterprise.We motivate the private sector to be part through their diversity & inclusion department

Tell us more about you

My name is Fredrick Ouko,i am the founder of Riziki Source (; a social enterprise that seeks to leverage technology in promoting and employment amongst individuals with disabilities while breaking barriers that prevent their employment.I am an Ashoka fellow and currently amongst 16 shortlist for Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. I am leading a team at Riziki Source and we are interested in collaborations to move our idea forward as we plan to scale countrywide

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Currently,i am kept awake thinking on how do we get the resources that allow us to test various revenue models that will enable us run a sustainable social enterprise.We are also still working on the best partnership models that delivers value to both persons with disabilities and companies that we seek to partner with to ensure that our idea works as planned.We are researching on the best technology that will act as storage for the data we handle from clients through the online platform and offline.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Kenya

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are a registered for-profit company (including social enterprises).

Idea Maturity

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

How has your idea changed based on feedback?

My idea has evolved a bit given the feedback from the OpenIDEO community,personal learning & expert questions.Even though we had thought about including all types of disabilities,we hadn`t figured out how exactly those with severe or multiple disabilities would be accommodated. Now we have a plan that we want to test around this working with specialized organizations through partnerships to reach out to those with severe and multiple disabilities for them to benefit from the implementation of our idea. Another focus was only on graduates but now we are also going to dedicate a focus to those with specific skills which can be used to do certain jobs,one doesn`t have to be a necessarily a graduate to be matched,we will also form strong partnerships with educational institutions to ensure that there is a constant flow of those looking for jobs and we can anticipate which jobs are going to be needed going forward by disabled people. Employer engagement must be enhanced to increase uptake

Who will implement this idea?

As the founder,i will be devoting 100% of my time to this idea alongside two full time staff to help with business development and training of persons with disabilities who are looking for jobs as well as maintaining the online database and employment engagement efforts. We will be supported by volunteers and interns in respective departments guided by the employees to drive the implementation of the business strategy

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

Currently,all decisions are made jointly with the staff in a consultative manner through our weekly staff meetings.Everyone is allowed to voice their views,ideas in response to a challenge and we both discuss which solution presents the best option in relation to the challenge or an opportunity to merge some of the solutions given by either of the staff. We have learnt that it is not a bad thing to try something and fail in the first instance,this should only be used to give us lessons on how best to do it another time and be optimistic of getting it right even if we don`t know what is the answer yet.There is no wrong answer and each staff is encouraged to share what they think is a solution in their own view and not to rely on one`s idea ,challenging ideas makes it better along the way

What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?

I was attracted to Amplify because of the opportunity to find people to collaborate with,ideas from the community and resources to improve your ideas apart from just getting funding.The fact that Amplify spends time in training the winners and linking them to experts in their industry to improve on their ideas is really useful for those of us who want to go to the next level with a certainty of success which is guaranteed by training and mentoring received through the Amplify platform

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

Our end -users are faced by the challenge of accessing job opportunities whenever they are advertised,they are often discriminated against during job interviews and negative perception against the disabled in the society making employers not to take them seriously during job interviews. On a day-to-day basis,a disabled job seeker has to face a discriminative transport system which is inaccessible,not being considered for opportunities because of the notion that they cannot work alongside other prejudice. At systems-level,the educational system do not correspond to the disability needs of the users,human resource practioneers are not sensitive to the needs of the disabled leading to their mishandling of cases associated with their employment pursuits.

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?

Impact:By 2022,we aim to scale throughout Kenya,reaching 1 million disabled people directly through our platform and services and 20,000 employers employing through our platform and receiving disability inclusion training Question: How do we prepare our system to handle big data from users while at the same time maintaining the current personalized attention we have with clients given their different needs with our vision of scaling to other African countries reaching 6 million disabled people

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?

  • Between 6 months and 1 year

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?

  • Under 5 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Under $50,000 USD

If your team/idea/organization has a website, please share the URL below.

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Photo of Prasad Kudalagoda

Informative. We must always help disabled people to improve their ability.

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