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Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) Digital Learning Space

We seek to facilitate the full utilization of the 30% of Government Procurement set aside for youth, women & persons with disabilities.

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

In 2013, the Government of Kenya set aside 30% of all Government procurement for youth, women & persons with disabilities. However, these preference groups are yet to fully take advantage of the 30% (approximately KES 300 Billion) set aside for them annually. Given the highly technical nature of procurement, especially Government procurement, the challenges faced by these groups become clear. These groups lack knowledge on procurement rules, regulations and best practices, they lack the technical know-how required to properly fill tender documents, they lack the financial know-how and credit facilities required to guarantee their tenders, and they lack the experience to navigate Government machinery. Our idea is to build a Digital Learning Space through which they can acquire the necessary training, capacity building, manuals, and general information that will equip them with the technical and financial skills needed to not only apply for tenders but to win them too. The brief states that "we need new approaches to what exists – and to build young people’s capacity in the transferable skills that lay the foundation for a lifetime of growth." And what exists now is a KES 300 Billion opportunity that has hardly been utilized largely due to the lack of skills and capacity by young people to fully utilize it. Our idea touches on both these elements by identifying what already exists but is not fully utilized and provides a framework for its full utilization.

WHO BENEFITS?

Our idea benefits youth, women and persons with disabilities in accordance with the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015. At age 18, about 1.2 million youth enter the labour market without any formal training or skills. At the age of 24 only 11% will have had formal training. This huge skills gap amongst youth in Kenya is reflected in the negligible number of youth who can competently apply for and win Government tenders.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU

Socialight Media Ltd. is a Digital Solutions provider in Kenya. We help organizations meet their objectives through agile and responsive digital solutions. We built the AGPO Portal (www.agpo.go.ke) that has to date registered over 90,000 youth, women and persons with disabilities owned businesses.

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 over a year

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BECAUSE OF BENEFICIARY FEEDBACK?

Yes. Reach: This was a key issue with most respondents. We currently have over 90,000 businesses registered. However, this number pales in comparison the number of youth and women entering the job market every year and the number of companies registered under these groups. We have therefore updated our proposal to include collaboration with the Registrar of Companies in Kenya to ensure that we can get access to youth companies at the point of registration. We have also adjusted it to include a comprehensive and very targeted sensitization campaign that will ensure we reach these young people where they are. We will also work with bodies such as Youth Enterprise Development Fund and Women’s Development Fund. Internet Penetration: Given that this is mostly a digital learning space, we have received feedback that highlights the internet costs as a key barrier to training primarily using Video Tutorials. As a result, we have adjusted the idea to offer all the training materials posted in various formats to ensure that those with bandwidth problems can be able to access low bandwidth training materials such as infographics, images, text and audio content.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?

There is currently no known training or capacity building being offered to companies on Government Procurement in Kenya, free or premium. This idea will tap the minds of the leading procurement professionals within Government to provide practical knowledge, for free. Government Procurement officers are the best placed people to provide this training because they best understand the Government procurement laws, regulations and processes. This idea decentralises the procurement training and capacity building across the country to anyone who can get access to the internet. Advantages -We built the current AGPO portal which has registered over 90,000 businesses that we can start training upon launch of the AGPO Digital Learning Space. - As a youth owned and run company that has had a couple of Government contracts, we have undergone most of the challenges that youth and women entrepreneurs go through. - We have a working relationship with the National Treasury, and especially the Public Procurement Directorate, the implementing authority of the AGPO program. - Our 3 years experience with AGPO places us at a unique position to understand the challenges and how to solve them.

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED?

The National Treasury at the onset conducted Capacity building efforts geared at training these preference groups. The problem with their approach was that physical training was accompanied by huge mobilisation costs and logistical nightmares. Furthermore, the training sessions and materials were not sufficient to cater for such a wide array of procurement needs that these preference groups needed. And given the sheer number of businesses to be trained across the country, physical training sessions proved impractical and unsustainable. This coupled with the lack of an internal team that could think of and build solutions has ensured that the problem has persisted.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?

Do we make the learning space a prerequisite to getting registered on AGPO to ensure that all companies actually go through the training materials relevant to their industry. This would mean that only upon watching/listening/or viewing the docs would a company be allowed to continue to registration process. This proposal has its setbacks. It might reduce the rate of registration and affect the morale of the people we are trying to reach. The current default setting is to make the capacity building voluntary and then monitor the uptake level and work on improving the numbers through other means such as reminders, “did you know” pop up questions, newsletters, and alerts.

IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?

Yes. Presidential Digital Talent Programme, The Global Entrepreneurship Forum 2015, the Pope Visit to Kenya where he met with Youth, Utawala Institute and MyGov. The solutions we have built before have been data intensive in terms data analytics and visualisation. We have built solutions around Governance that made it easy for leaders to make decisions informed by data. We have also built internal solutions that have allowed users from various countries and localities to share Video, Image, and Audio content internally. This idea combines and expands on these two in terms of scale, capacity, impact, and adds a community element to it. We have also run separate projects that have dealt with creating online communities where youth could interact and share ideas.

WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

We will implement this idea as Socialight Media Ltd. Our team can build the system and manage it much the same way we have managed the AGPO portal for the last three years. We will partner with the National Treasury to provide procurement officers who will provide the training and manuals as well as explain the procurement laws, regulations and procedures. Other partners will come on board through a joint approach by Socialight Media and the National Treasury to on-board them as partners.
    What potential challenges do you foresee? Do you have them mapped out? 

    Yes. The main challenge that we expect is a trust issue where we expect that young people mistrust the general procurement system by Government believing that it is rigged against them and in favour of the elite. Also, getting financial partners on board to recognise LPOs and finance young people based on LPOs. And also to reduce the cost of credit.

    Do the target audience see the benefits of training?

    Yes they do. The majority of young people who have been disqualified in tender processes have been very bitter and claim that the system was rigged against them. However, upon review, we have been able to show them where they went wrong. They see the benefits of training in improving their success rates and equipping them with the right tools and skills sets to use in the long run.

    How viable is it post-training to actually access the money?

    It is very viable. There is a directive by the President requiring Government institutions to pay suppliers especially AGPO companies within 2 months of  delivery. There is also a compliance module within the AGPO system that is tracking the contracts that have been allocated to these preference groups, their value and and how they are being awarded. Lastly, Parliament requires the National Treasury to report on the progress of AGPO by providing reports on the number of businesses that have benefited and by how much. 

    How do you intend to break some of the initial barriers?

    Due to our pre-existing relationship with both AGPO registered companies and the National Treasury, we do not foresee any initial barriers in terms of deployment. The barriers at an operational level will be monitored and the system adjusted accordingly. 

    Do you have some hypothesis we want to test?

    Yes. That procurement training and capacity building improves the rate at which youth, women and persons with disabilities owned businesses win Government tenders. 

    Reflect on the user's journey… Have you considered making different user experience maps for different types of users?

    Yes. The users journey is dependent on his industry and type of business. We might want to customise this further... a lot of it will be adjusted based on actual user experience and analytics showing how users navigate through the system.

    Do youth really want to apply and win Government tenders? Is it in line with their aspirations?

    Yes. Abundantly so. Youth owned businesses offer many services that are required by the Government in its day to day operations; from simple supply supplies work to complex ICT systems development that a lot of our youth are now quite proficient in. Government as a client offers these Youth owned businesses the stability that many lack due to chasing of payments. This is especially so due to the directive that Youth owned businesses must be paid within 2 months of supplying their services. 

    Do you have potential users that have limited access to be online or no access at all?

    Yes. How we plan to cater for those with limited supply is to avail different formats of training apart from video. All training content will be downloadable for use offline. Sample filled tender documents that can be downloaded and printed will be provided in addition to infographics providing users with step by step process of filling tender documents.

    How do you intend to reach them? 

    The registration of these enterprises for the AGPO certificates happens online. The certificates are issued digitally. Therefore, the assumption is that all companies seeking to provide services have access online, even periodic.

    Have you considered a fair or series of pop up stands for people to come and learn?

    The cost connotation of doing physical training is quite high. However, through our partners, we can ride on their offices, events and general infrastructure to distribute materials.

    What are the potential insights and lessons learned from video training? And non-video training?
    1. Video training provides more context than non-video training.
    2. Consumption of Video training content might be lower than non-video training due to bandwidth challenges.
    3. Non Video training may be cost effective and given its variety (infographics, sample tender docs tec), it may be better due to the constant reference to it at the comfort of the office or house without necessarily being online. 

    How do they compare and what is the impact?

    We will have to assess the impact from our analytics to see which has the greatest impact and adjust the training appropriately. 

    What is in place post this training to ensure that once tenders are won that young people have sufficient support to expand their businesses etc?

    Once tenders are won, the system will be set to alert the users of similar tenders that have been advertised by Government to enable them get more business but now with the benefit of experience having done similar work. Further, we shall avail information to ensure that once a tender is won, they have enough advice on how to invest the money back in the business, pay their taxes, and in general ensure that the work is done well to ensure that they can get repeat business.

SHARE ONE SENTENCE ABOUT THE IMPACT YOU WOULD LIKE THIS PROJECT TO HAVE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, AND ONE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ANSWER TO GET THERE.

We would like this project to have trained and facilitated 100,000 youth, women and persons with disabilities owned businesses into becoming established, stable, profitable businesses, hiring approximately 1,000,000 young people among their ranks. Question How many businesses do we need to target annually and ensure they are adequately trained and facilitated throughout the procurement processes over the years in order to achieve the intended impact?

MY ORGANIZATION'S OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2015 WAS:

  • Between $100,000 and $500,000

MY INTENDED BENEFICIARIES ARE:

  • Within 500 km of where our team does most of its work

HOW LONG HAVE YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES BEEN WORKING ON THIS PILOT PROJECT TOGETHER?

  • More than a year

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JOINING AMPLIFY'S PORTFOLIO OF INNOVATORS?

We have a lot to offer and we also have a lot to learn. Naturally, Amplify's Portfolio of Innovators represents the perfect space to be in especially as we seek to extend our work regionally and collaborate with other experts in human centered from across the world. It is the right fit for us and we also bring a lot on the table.
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Attachments (5)

Experience Map.pdf

User Experience Map

What to Prototype.pdf

What to Prototype.

Beneficiary Feedback - AGPO Digital Learning Space.pdf

User experience and what to prototype notes.

AGPO Digital Learning Space Features.png

The features of the Digital Learning Space - Specs of the Portal.

AGPO Digital Learning Space Features 1.png

Additional features of the Digital Learning Space - Specs of the Portal.

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