By Zainab Mohammed
Phyllis Njeri is a person with disability. Her quest for employment led her to register on the Riziki Source app platform.
“I came to know about the platform through a friend who helped me register and upload my CV,” she said.
After months of rigorous interviews and missing out on a number of opportunities, she was selected for a training at the Riziki Source app’s offices.
“Several months after my application, I was called for interviews and this time round I was among the people who qualified for the training
She was trained on communication and customer service skills and later on absorbed as a business development intern at the platform.
Kevin Wamuge is another beneficiary of the app. Months after signing up on the platform he was selected and successfully recruited for a position at Kenya Airways.
“The platform linked me up with my current employer and now I can earn a livelihood and live an independent life,” he said.
Phyllis and Kevin represent the over 400 persons with disability successfully linked with employment by the mobile app.
How it started
Fredrick Ouko, the founder of Riziki Source app, started the platform to address the challenges faced by persons with disability when seeking employment.
“Many youths today are faced with hurdle of an endless job-hunting cycle as opportunities are scarce. It is then ten times worse for persons with disability,” he said.
He says the idea came to him after he was called for an interview during his early job searching days and he was openly discriminated against due to his disability.
“I showed up for a particular interview when I was job searching and during the interview process, each interviewer took about half an hour to complete the interview. When it was my turn, I could see the shock in the interviewers faces and the interview barely lasted 10 minutes. That’s when I knew am not getting the job,” he said.
The horrible experience inspired what is now a one-of-a-kind mobile job application that among many other things links persons with disability with potential employers.
“The idea to start the app begun that day because I promised myself that I will not allow anyone else with disability to go through the pain of rejection that I did,” he said.
How it works
The application non-profit organization that begun in 2015 prompts both employers and job seekers to register on the platform.
“So, the registration process for the app is very simple. On the platform, there’s a tab that has options to register as an employer or job seeker. You click on it and fill in your details,” he said.
The details required for the registration of job seekers includes one’s name, type of disability, home county and one’s skills/specialization.
“To successfully have your profile up on the platform, details such one’s name, county of origin and one’s disability type is very key to ensure that one is linked with the correct opportunities and the employers are aware of one’s needs prior to recruitment,” he said.
On the other hand, employers are required to fill in the position they intend to fill and the qualifications required for their ideal candidate.
“Here we encourage the employers to be as specific as possible especially with the qualifications they are looking for so that they are linked with the best matches when it comes to the potential candidates,” he said.
The app then automatically matches resumes that closely match with the available jobs for potential interviews.
“We oversee the whole process and help coach potential candidates to ensure they are well empowered to get the opportunities they desire. We have successfully engaged over 2,000 job applicants on the platform linked over 400 of them with employment,” he said.
The mobile app is available on three platforms i.e. through its website, a mobile application and via text message to cater for the different needs of persons with disability.
“Access to fast and efficient internet connection is a luxury not all persons with disability can afford. Also, there are some forms of disabilities that make it hard for potential candidates to access the website or mobile application. Therefore, we ensured the app can also be accessed via text message to accommodate the needs of all job seekers with disability,” he said.
Apart from linking potential employers with job seekers, the app is used to collect data on persons with disability in order to influence policies and legislation.
“Our bigger goal is to collect data on persons with disability who are seeking employment in order to use it to try and influence policies. Through the data we collect, we can easily pin point what the needs of a job seeker with disability are,” he said.
The app founder also says the platform trains PWDs and foundational skills required in work places such as communication and consult for organizations that may require such trainings for their employees.
“We have been approached by a number of organizations who are interested in adopting inclusive work practices in their organization’s and this is an area we can easily train organization staff and even make recommendations where necessary,” he said.
Towards the end of last year, Riziki Source app was nominated as the best mobile app for work place inclusion in the Mobile app awards 2022 and the app scooped the 1st place.
“It was a very a great honor to be selected for the awards and to win first place. The thought that someone out there is seeing our work and appreciating it keep us going,” said Fredrick.
Going forward, Ouko says, the app hopes to serve as a shop where persons with disability can nature their talent and sell self-made items to potential buyers.
According to World health organization 1.3 billion people across the world have some form of disability. The Disabled Living Foundation further estimates that 80% of these people acquired their disabilities between the ages 18-64 years which is the average workforce age for most people. Locally according to the 2019 Census 900,000 people in Kenya are estimated to have some form of disability out of which 50% are likely to be unemployed.
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Zainab Mohammed and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.