Like most countries in the world, especially in Africa, Kenya has an unemployment problem – among the youth.
There are open positions in the formal sector, but the jobs aren’t enough for everyone graduating from local institutions (universities, colleges and polytechnics).
And then there is the informal sector – a place that has created lots of opportunities for many. There is a lot of competition there and not everyone wants to get into what is usually referred to as the jua kali sector
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So, instead of remaining unemployed / wallowing in unemployment, youths in Kenya now have other alternative sources to make a good living.
And these alternatives are even recognized and championed by the Government of Kenya.
Online freelancing is one of those alternatives.
Thanks to more affordable smartphones, and internet access (cheaper data bundles), freelance online jobs have become an excellent source for making an income for many.
You even see the government trying its best, via the Ajira Digital website, to present this opportunity to as many Kenyans as possible.
The site has lots of resources geared towards helping reduce unemployment in Kenya.
Though the government can’t create enough jobs (for now), they recognize that they can help the citizenry learn ways to make money online (working as contractors) doing online jobs posted on various freelance marketplaces by clients from all over the world).
So, how do online jobs really help reduce unemployment in Kenya?
Well, for anyone willing to learn and master a skill and then go out there and market it as a service, they will definitely get hired – and cross over from being unemployed to employment. Every time a transition like this happens, that is one more person escaping the shadow of unemployment. One more person, the government will be happy to not have to include in their unemployment statistics anymore.
Online jobs, like regular office jobs, can provide a good living, for those willing to market themselves and work hard.
And since it still is a new phenomenon to most people, anyone who succeeds at making an income working online consistently will provide inspiration to tens more.
Through my observation, the people doing well freelancing online, usually want to share the news with others – to help them get started, to guide them, to help others turn their skills into income generating services and products.
So, one person succeeding has the effect of inspiring 1 to 10 more unemployed persons search for jobs online – at least to get some money in, even if they do work sporadically.
Then there are already established freelancers using their earnings to start businesses where they employ others. So for example, you find someone in Kenya doing freelance writing, audio transcription, outreach / link building, virtual assistance, graphic design or development using some of their earnings to start:
- their own agency (subcontracting work to others)
- a shop (retail shop or M-PESA shop)
- a publishing business (niche site or blog where they can outsource writing, outreach and link building to others)
- a boda boda business, matatu business, taxi business or car rental / hire business
All these things create even more employment opportunities for others.
Most freelancers will also invest in the economy (in the private and public sector) which leads to a stronger economy, which results in more jobs in the long run.
Also making money as a freelancer – and using some of the income to take care of of others – dependants such as ones siblings – usually results in more people being in a state of mind where they can go out there and:
- get jobs of their own
- become self-employed (online or offline)
- start a business of their own
I mean if the money you make from freelancing can provide others with food, shelter, electricity and internet connection, that is a good enough environment you have created for them to thrive.
Any able-bodied person in am environment with these things should be able to take advantage of the resources to build their skills, dust their CV / portfolio and eventually go out there to make some money of their own.
Eventually these people, once upon a time unemployed but now making money, can make it easy for others to find employment as well.
I do hope you see the ripple effect there. When one person decides to give this online freelancing thing their all, it eventually turns into this big lever that pulls as many people around that freelancer from unemployment.
How you can help in this cause (reduce unemployment using freelance jobs)
There are several things we all can do to help keep unemployment rates down in this country. If you believe in online freelancing as a good alternative to getting more people occupied and making good money, here are some things you can do:
As an established freelancer
You can give some of the work outsourced to you to some of the people just getting started. If you have extra work, let others know about those jobs by placing an ad on any of the categories on Niabusiness Classifieds. Doing so is free.
Then you can also keep doing what you do: helping others get started, answering questions and generally just helping people getting unstuck and hustling.
As a potential client or employer
Outsource tasks to contractors on Niabusiness.
Come up with detailed outlines of tasks you need help with, and post them online on Niabusiness. Creating a listing for a job on the site is free.
You can outsource some things like:
- content writing
- customer support
- outreach, SEO & link building
- website and blog creation & management
- social media management
- video creating, editing and promotion
- audio transcription
- online shop creation & management
- ad management
- email marketing
- sales and marketing among others.
For a list of all categories you can outsource to, go to Niabusiness Classifieds.
As a freelancer looking for work
Keep sharpening your skills. Keep learning new ways to market your services. Keep learning about new things being introduced in the freelancing world in Kenya and in other countries. Keep connecting with your peers and learning from them.
Keep working hard, reaching out and not letting rejections stop you from trudging on. Do not let the NOs welcome a disillusionment in you that leads to you giving up.
On Niabusiness, check the various categories on the site for work.
And also remember to add your own ad listings on the site with details about what you can offer potential clients. If you are good with content creation, add a listing in the Freelance Writers / Content Creators category.
If you are a developer, add a listing in the Coding, Programming, Web & App Dev category. If you are good with matters law, add your listing in the Legal Consultation, IP, Patents & Trademarks category.