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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.

This inspired (1)



Join the conversation:

Photo of Prasad Kudalagoda

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

Photo of Nancy Wagi


Photo of RizikiSource

Thanks for your comments, we are happy to work together going forward

Photo of Coenie Louw

Well done, Fredrick. Access to job opportunities is so important for people with disabilities. Hopefully soon we would be able to provide similar through SmartLocate.

Best wishes

Photo of Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH

RizikiSource Great idea! I love the fact that you are supporting and building opportunities for both the people seeking jobs and the employers! There might be some collaboration potential with Rose Acock and the "Disabled Tenderpreneurs Hub" (also serving Kenya): Also, you might want to share your idea with the @OpenIDEO Nairobi Chapter for feedback and input and possible collaboration opportunities (

Photo of RizikiSource

Thank You Lesa,Those are very important contributions,i have checked out @Rose and will be initiating contact since i know KUB and we have worked together in the post. We do have some synergies that can be created and we can leverage each other`s strengths too. I am already a member of @OpenIDEO Nairobi,i will share my idea there to get more feedback and input and see what possible collaboration opportunities might exist.
Thanks once more,if there are any ideas you have,please feel free to share.

Photo of RizikiSource

Thank You Lesa,Those are very important contributions,i have checked out @Rose and will be initiating contact since i know KUB and we have worked together in the post. We do have some synergies that can be created and we can leverage each other`s strengths too. I am already a member of @OpenIDEO Nairobi,i will share my idea there to get more feedback and input and see what possible collaboration opportunities might exist.
Thanks once more,if there are any ideas you have,please feel free to share.

Photo of Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH

Wonderful! Thank you for adding me to your team as well.

Photo of RizikiSource

You are welcome Lesa,

I forgot to mention that the reason we are also reaching out to employers and supporting them,we realized that majority of them do not understand where to start from if they are faced with a prospective employee who has a disability and instead of getting embarrassed,they would rather just leave them meaning that a lot of people apply for jobs and when they show up and it is found that they have a disability,they automatically get disqualified because the employer doesnt understand how to deal with them. It is therefore important to walk them through the process making them understand various types of disabilities to become confident leading to employment of disabled people

Photo of Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH

Yes, I agree. Working with the employers is essential!

Photo of SE WA

Having gone through Riziki source. I have found connection and gotten a Job. I wonder where, I could be without it! Maybe somewhere tarmacking for a job?Riziki source is a great idea that is very doer-ble. I will recommend that it should be improved so that it each and every member in the disability fraternity will be reached.
Before the employers used to say that, they want to employ pwds but they don't know who have, what skills? and where to get them? and therefore left so many people with disability jobless and hence end up begging in the street.with highly advancing technology so does Riziki source need to keep up the pace.I will recommend technical experts to chip in and channel great ideas and see what improvement it need.If everyone enrolls it will be much easier to plan what way forward in eradicating poverty which is a stereotype associated with disability. Technology should be embraced in all spheres of life to all human LET NO ONE BE LEFT BEHIND. PWDs want to be productive members of the society and contribute to Economy too.

Photo of RizikiSource

Thank you @SEWA, you are the reason why we exist and are happy to have connected you to a job.
We are also excited that you continue to be active at your current job posting and this is the beauty of getting an opportunity.
You are our ambassador where you work because your employer will suddenly consider working with us again based on your work-ethics.
We would love to continue hearing from you and how you are faring on in the work environment to motivate us help others too.

Photo of Mildred Omino

I must say that Riziki Source is a great Initiative! The fact that it offers a two fold solution that addresses the challenges experienced by both employers and job seekers with disabilities is indeed a road map to sustainable development. Having participated in the first workshop organized by Riziki Source on Disability Inclusion in the Workplace I realize that Employers still need more Information on how best to engage persons with disabilities in the workplace and address the obligations that come with the engagement and ultimately enjoy the benefits....

Photo of RizikiSource

Thanks for your insight Mildred and for gracing one of our events,to ensure that this happens,we want to organize an employers meeting within this year to bring together all employers to share and support one another on how to become disability-inclusive at their work place.
If you have further advice on how we should go about this,we will appreciate to include your ideas and possibly invite you to come and speak during the event.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi RizikiSource Team! We’re excited to share with you feedback and questions from the Amplify team and an external set of experts. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

- We're excited about your two pronged approach - great job!
- We want to know about some potential barriers that your end user may face and how you hope to address these challenges. For example: how will your app be accessible for different disabilities? Are there associated costs that will be a limiting factor? Will this only be applicable for PWDs with regular and consistent access to web and mobile services?
- How have you engaged with job seekers and potential employers? We're excited to read more about the feedback you gathered from your beneficiaries. What are some insights and hypotheses you want to test as a result? Be sure to explore the journey of your end user and complete a User Experience Map! As you go through your user's journey, also think about the different stakeholders associated with your project.
- Some other questions our experts have are: How will the project be funded moving forward? How do you identify what employers you want to work with to build disability confidence? How does this initiative cover those people with severe and or multiple disabilities?

In case you missed it, check out this Storytelling Toolkit for inspiration for crafting strong and compelling stories: Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - June 4 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Have questions? Email us at

Looking forward to reading more!

Photo of RizikiSource

Thank you for the feedback and applaud,
In regard to potential barriers to our users depending on their disabilities or cost implications;we have developed the mobile application in such a way that one does not require to have a smart phone since the application itself is programmed on-line ( via our website) and uses a short code to aggregate the database.This means that any basic phone can send a text message and get follow up questions which we use to form an online profile of the job seeker.This works across phones be it a smart phone or a basic phone which has a wider penetration in the Kenyan market.
There is a normal text message charge which is not prohibitive and for all the questions,one only pays a total of $0.08 and they can be assisted by their family members or any helper thus catering for any type of disability.
Our website is also built to be compatible with Job Access With Speech (JAWS) screen reader for those with visual impairment.Job seekers can also call us directly or request to be called so that we can record their data from our end and help them upload their CVs.
We hope as we grow,we will be able to open support services stations in specific locations in the country so that there is additional support for those who still need it to be able to register on the platform.
We also look forward to getting a telecom company that can partner with us to offset the cost of text message charges in the future since we pay for the half of the registration cost as an organization with our clients meeting the other half.
The other challenge we are currently facing is the cost of transportation for job seekers to physically reach our training center,since we only have one center at the moment;it is prohibitive for those who cannot afford daily transportation to come to our hub to receive extra support and training. We are exploring different partnerships where third parties pay for this cost to enable job seekers with disabilities get the service for free.We are approaching companies and other institutions to find resources that will enable us remove this barrier for many of the prospective users.
In our daily operations and during this phase of iteration,we have engaged with our beneficiaries through trainings at our hub where they receive support in CV improvement,job application as well ICT training.We received feedback on how frequent they want to be engaged,while on the database,our beneficiaries want to receive updates on available job opportunities for application,they want to be engaged in frequent activities that build their confidence and makes them to avoid being idle at home.We also learnt that others miss to come for training for the sole reason of now having transportation costs and their families are not in a position to support them especially those from informal settlements in Nairobi.
We learnt that we can actually serve many people if we decentralized our services or found a way of offsetting the cost of transportation to and from our training hub and we will be looking into how we can solve this challenge.
We also engaged with employers through employer-specific events at our office,even though the turn-out has not always been 100%,we now know what employers are looking for. They want to be guaranteed that disabled people can work under the same terms as other employees and it doesnt cost more to employ one,they have been struggling with understanding different types of disabilities and this what we are coming in to help solve so that they make informed decisions while hiring.We came to the realization that the cost of customer acquisition is actually lower if you invite employers to come to one room as opposed to individually reaching out to them.We also found out that employers want to listen to case studies of disabled people who have been successfully employed.
We now want to test whether organizing an annual employers meeting where employers who have employed disabled people can share with their peers will lead to a positive shift in uptake of the project. We will also test whether paying for transportation costs for job seekers will increase the numbers of those benefiting from our services.
For every successful job match,the employer will pay 40% of the gross salary for that position while the employee will cost share 15% of gross salary after one month of successful employment with possibilities of paying in installment-all payments are one-off to cover administration,staff time,technology,training & database maintenance.We will also charge for additional trainings to employers on disability inclusion and mainstreaming as a consultancy.
Currently we are approaching any employer to work with and reaching out to disability specific organizations to help us service those with severe and multiple disabilities. We plan to actively reach out since we had not worked out a plan yet but this question did remind us of how 360-inclusive we should strive to be

Photo of Paul Mbatia

Very good idea. I love it. I strongly think your solution could also apply in identifying those youth with disabilities who require basic and technical skills and link them up with skills training providers. LIGHT FOR THE WORLD would be happy to explore these linkages. I will put you in touch with our Kenyan colleagues.

Photo of RizikiSource

Thank you Paul,i do welcome your contribution and thanks for the kind words. I do look forward linking up with your Kenyan colleagues. We will iterate and see how this gets included in our overall implementation of the idea going forward since our interest is to ensure as many persons with disabilities as possible are put on a path towards success @Paul

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Thank you for sharing your idea on the platform! Would love to learn how you are building partnerships and relationships with communities with disabilities and employers?

Photo of RizikiSource

Dear Ashley,

Thank you for your question, as the founder of this initiative,i have over 10 years experience working as an executive director of a disabled persons organization and being a person with a disability-we therefore directly reach out to disabled persons organization across the country as well as through the media,social media and exhibitions where relationships are created and lasting partnerships founded.
We particularly reach out to employers with a direct ask for partnership and run specific employer-events where employers attending sign-up to work with us to ensure that they are ready and confident to employ persons with disabilities.We run an e-newsletter that helps us maintain an ongoing relationship with employers giving information on various aspects of disability and employment in the country while eliciting a continued conversation which has proven to be beneficial both ways.We have also come up with an employer disability award to help motivate employers who take on the challenge of employing persons with disabilities thus creating awareness across their peers and leading to more sign-ups and expansion of our partnerships.
We are also open to learning on how efficiently this can be done if there are people with enriching ideas on this

Photo of Kristin Gänsicke