South African Youth Poverty
The South African mobile communications company, Vodacom Group Limited, is launching a new app that targets the rising South African youth poverty. As South African smartphone use is on the rise among young adults, the new app directly connects individuals in need of jobs with those hiring to reduce youth poverty quickly. Also, the goal is to, hopefully, over time, decrease the adult South African poverty rates.

South African Youth Poverty

As of 2020, six out of 10 children in South Africa live in “multidimensional poverty.” That figure translates to 62.1% of South African youth who live in poverty. Multidimensional poverty considers factors beyond economic disadvantages and includes other factors, such as food insecurity, poor health and lack of education.

When considering the elements of multidimensional poverty, most experts place their hopes of decreasing poverty or unemployment rates on improving education for South Africans. However, there is more to do when individuals who have what qualifies as a “good education” remain unemployed and incapable of escaping poverty.

South African youth make up 35.7% of the country’s overall population and their unemployment rate soars above the general South African unemployment national average, which is 34.5%. The youngest graduating group, 15-24-year-olds, has had an unsteady unemployment rate, but it reached 63.9% in the first quarter of 2022.

The second-youngest group, those aged 25-34, has an unemployment rate of 42.1%, according to Statistics South Africa. Vodacom hopes to target these numbers at their source and get those graduating jobs as soon as possible before poverty becomes an insurmountable force.

Vodacom’s Impacts on South African Youth Poverty

Get-A-Gig is not Vodacom’s first attempt to decrease poverty in South Africa, especially among the South African youth. The company has expressed its dedication to assisting with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in South Africa. There are several goals, but Vodacom has announced its desire to focus on the SDGs of improving education and helping South Africans find reliable work and income. To improve and expand access to education in South Africa, Vodacom created a school management application that helps students stay on track in their lessons and track academic growth. Furthermore, Vodacom has invested more than R7.9 million in schools to improve resources and empower teachers.

The youth employment program in the hiring and recruiting phases by Vodacom offers a position to recent college graduates, regardless of age, that comes with full benefits and salaries. The youth employment program provides two years of required training before transitioning to a full-time employee role at Vodacom. This program will launch in February 2023. However, in the meantime, Get-A-Gig will help South African youth seeking a job to find one outside of Vodacom.

How Does Get-A-Gig Work?

The new app targets South African youth via phone usage. Smartphones are standard in South Africa, with 41% of South Africans between 18-34 having smartphones. Meanwhile, other age groups fall further behind in smartphone ownership, for example, only 27% of those 35 and older have their own smartphones. Smartphones are a daily household object with the number of young adults utilizing cell phones growing yearly. The daily usage of smartphones in South Africa is also on the rise, especially among younger South Africans. This is the age group Vodacom is trying to reach with Get-A-Gig.

Vodacom launched the app through one of the company’s easily accessible platforms, NXT LVL. The app helps individuals search for jobs and connect them with business owners. The users can then begin a quick application and hiring process to minimize the time someone is out of a job. The app is free and available through the, My Vodacom App and VodaPay, which are also free.

At the announcement of the app’s launch, the Chief Officer of Consumer Business at Vodacom, Jorge Mendes, immediately clarified the app’s intention to target unemployment and poverty in South African youth, “As we innovate and bring new propositions to the market, we are mindful of the challenges that consumers at large face. The revamp of the NXT LVL platform and the launch of Get-A-Gig are some of the initiatives we introduced, aiming to make a meaningful difference in the lives of young South Africans,” IT News Africa reported.

The continuation of targeting poverty and unemployment in South Africa indicates Vodacom’s dedication to assisting South African youth. Get-A-Gig’s usage will mean South African youth can easily find jobs and that there will be fewer barriers keeping South Africans living above the poverty line. South African poverty and unemployment remain an issue. Still, it is the assistance of companies like Vodacom, that make it possible to see a future without these plaguing issues.

– Clara Mulvihill
Photo: Flickr