We are all used to our formal education system, where a child doesn’t go astray from what is taught in the school syllabus. A child is only nurtured according to a defined path of education, not having the privilege to have other defined extracurricular activities.
Some NGOs understand that gap/changes in the learning system as per technological changes by providing chances for secondary schools students in developing countries to have extra studies, especially digital skills that will help them adapt and evolve in the digital era.
This is the story of a young girl, among many others, who has been empowered by digital skills to achieve not so much but at her age, a lot in her career and life from an NGO known as Apps and Girls. Highlighting a story of the determination of a young girl in the digital era.
Her name’s Doreen Fatuma Habib, Currently a 3rd year student at the Tanzania Institute of Accountancy (TIA) pursuing a degree in marketing and public relations. Her journey in digital technology goes back to 2019 when she graduated from her O-level studies.
She then joined Apps and Girls, which gives girls in secondary schools opportunities to learn digital technology. Basically, she learned how to code and how to create websites and applications for use. These skills helped her come up with a website.
Her first website, Doreefy, where people could see job advertisements, was a product of this training. In 2020, when she joined A-level, she had a chance to teach other students at O-level within the same school how to code, create websites, and develop applications through her knowledge.
It wasn’t all smooth to date; this website was shut down in 2021 because she couldn’t afford to pay the hosts of her website. That didn’t hold her back; she still uses social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to keep posting job advertisements through her Doreefy account.
Doreen can’t forget the chances she got at Apps and Girls in 2019. They were involved in the first global challenge that happened to be held in Dubai. And she got an opportunity to represent her country, Tanzania.
The focus was on creating robots that could be used to collect waste in oceans. With other members, they learned and created a competition. Though they didn’t win as a group, the experience and exposure gained from attending it were enough treasures to be kept.
In the future, she plans to revamp her website and add a shopping section for her clothes and snack business. Isn’t that enough to brighten up your life as a youth? Empower yourself through the digital economy.
Being in the 21st century is a blessing, through digital we are able to witness different journeys of youth at young ages being empowered by digital skills to discover their talents and make an impact in their life and communities.
Are you familiar with the buzz around the digital economy, gig economy, and freelancing? While these terms may be trending, understanding their relationships is crucial. Let’s explore the connections and distinctions among these concepts.
The digital economy is the foundation for both the gig economy and freelancing. This transformative shift from traditional working methods to digital technology has significantly shaped our employment landscape.
The Rise of the Gig Economy
The gig economy emerged in the late 2000s, propelled by the accessibility of digital tools and the internet. These advancements facilitated global connectivity, enabling individuals to access short-term or project-based job opportunities through digital platforms.
In contrast to traditional employment, where physical presence was mandatory for permanent positions with monthly salaries, the gig economy operates on short-term contracts and project-based work.
Gig jobs provide workers with flexibility and independence, liberating them from the constraints of a 9-to-5 arrangement. Platforms like LinkedIn, Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer host these opportunities.
Understanding Freelancing in the Gig Economy
Freelancing, a component of the gig economy, involves independent work on a contract basis, whether short-term or long-term. The terms gig economy and freelancing are sometimes used interchangeably, both revolving around short-term jobs and projects. Freelancers have the autonomy to choose their clients, work independently, and often find opportunities on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
The digital economy is the enabler for gig economies and freelancing. Freelancers rely on the internet, apps, and computers for their work, all falling under the umbrella of digital tools and technology.
By 2027, Upwork, a leading digital freelancing site, is projected to host a staggering 86.5 million freelancers globally, emphasizing the growing influence of freelancing and remote work.
Exploring Remote Working
Remote working, a concept applicable to both permanent employees and freelancers, involves working away from a physical office—be it at home, in a restaurant, or on a bus. As long as the work is done satisfactorily, the location becomes secondary.
Digital tools facilitate the practice of gig economy and freelancing remotely, offering individuals the freedom to work independently according to their schedules. The terms gig economy, freelancing, and remote working overlap in their emphasis on independent work, flexibility, and the utilization of digital tools.
To illustrate the potential of the gig economy, Mafole Baraka from Tanzania, a youth pioneer, shares an inspiring story of navigating and achieving success in this dynamic employment landscape.
If he can do it, so can you. Embrace the gig economy, especially as a youth—the earlier, the better. Wishing you all the best!
Being a beginner in freelancing, I had to search for articles on freelancing tips. About 99% of the articles opened were written about how freelancing is done; choosing a niche, securing ideal clients, setting prices, building a portfolio, and so forth.
And I thought everything was settled until reality kicked in. It’s not only about working tips; there are some other accompanying factors that need your mind to get ready for. They may not have a direct association but may have greater impacts if not well handled.
In this article, I’m about to share a few tips that go beyond what’s written in those articles that I, as a freelancer, have experienced. It will help in understanding and preparing yourself when experiencing one or two challenges in your freelancing journey.
Be a good Communicator
As a freelancer, you need to learn the art of communicating clearly. Be timely, responsive to emails and DMs, know how to present your message in a clear and concise way, and be open and maintain your communicating tone. Learn how to effectively use different media of communication, like Zoom, email, DM, or Google Meet.
Good communication will help you market your services correctly, inform them in case of emergencies, and negotiate with your client. Build and maintain good relationships by getting good reviews and recommendations from your clients to other people and extending work contracts.
All this can be achieved by being a good listener, preparing your points that you need to communicate, and using good language to communicate. Choose to say what is necessary, important, and necessary in that conversation.
Taking full responsibility
There is no shift or someone else to help you with your work. Your absence stops everything. Do you have a plan B in case of emergencies? Or will you blame Tanesco for the absence of electricity without doing anything? Or Tigo for instability networks in other areas?
Take work that you are capable of working on and delivering on time. As a freelancer, everything depends on you: marketing, sales, negotiation, research, doing the actual work, and submitting. Ask yourself how you can take full responsibility for different jobs under the umbrella of freelancing.
Avoid distraction by keeping your phone away when working or limiting some apps. Protect your health to avoid occasional diseases through exercise, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and resting. Tools like Notion, Trello, and ClickUp are for managing your tasks; Calendly for booking appointments; and Zoom for meeting to ease your responsibilities.
Be a Timekeeper.
Working as a freelancer, you will have a lot of deadlines to meet with your clients’ work. And one of the things that stands out to clients is your ability to deliver work on time. No excuses, no stories, only working within the required time.
Unless you are only working as a freelancer, this may not be a big deal, but if freelancing is your side hustle, this point hits differently. You need to balance your time between main work and side hustles. Deliver both quality and on time.
Set a daily timetable with tasks and times, and stick to it. Plan your week’s tasks ahead before the week starts. Mark each task that is successfully completed on time. And to those that were not completed on time, look at the factors for their delay and work on them.
It’s not about your excellent working skills that get the work done. When other factors hit, they may greatly impact your productivity. Either way, embrace any life challenge that may be thrown at you as a freelancer and conquer it Effortlessly. You got this!.
The narrative out there is that Africa is the next frontier for almost everything. And it is true. The question is what young professionals in the continent are doing about it?
In 2019 Mohammad Amir Anwar of the University of Edinburgh estimated that there were 120,000 African workers on Upwork, the continent’s most popular platform—fewer than in the Philippines. Most did NOT seem to be making any money. The situation for tanzanian digital freelancers is grim,
Julius P. Kessy, a digital entrepreneur from Tanzania, does not only speak Swahili, he makes money out of it. He is Tanzania’s top-rated English-to-Swahili translator on Upwork, according to a list posted by the platform. The list featured 27 top-rated EN-SW translators but there were only FOUR Tanzanians and TWELVE Kenyans!.
On why there are far fewer EN-SW Tanzanian freelancers on Upwork compared to Kenyans, Julius had this to say:
“Tanzanian youth need to be proactive. I’ve met clients who believe native Swahili is spoken in Kenya. While the owners of the language “Tanzanians” are sleeping on the opportunity. Tanzanians seeing this should wake up and tap into it.”
Dear young professionals in Tanzania, and Africa, projects are being launched in the continent. Whether you’re a language expert, social media manager, graphic designer, or software developer — you can be part of the growing digital economy in the continent.
Africa is filled with abundance!
Here are Top Five Comments Made On Why There Are Few Tanzanian EN-SW Translators On Upwork.
“We are living in a selfish society where everyone wants to be on top of each other, unlike Kenyans and Nigerians who live in a brotherhood society. Additionally, Tanzanian youth are very lazy. Most do not like to stress themselves by looking for solutions.
For example, I have been sharing tips on Twitter about my experiences using Upwork and other freelancing platforms, as well as how to be successful as a freelancer. What I noticed is that most people need to be taught how to register themselves and cannot take the liberty of even scraping resources from the internet.
We will keep on discussing these things until youth’s mindset changes. It is a shame”.
“Tanzania tatizo letu liko sehemu moja tu ukiachilia mbali “Penye miti mingi hapana wajenzi” – Social platforms tumezifanya ni za kuweka picha zetu na familia zetu, self-recording short clip video, umbea na zaidi kulike page without any piloted plan. Zama hizi tumezifanya za kujiskia kujiposti tu ili watu wa-like picha yako, then what?
Acha tuzidiwe, kujifunza social digital issues hatutaki, wacha tusahabikie Simba na yanga tu Sie… Kama hauamini, nenda insta tangaza kuwa unaanzisha program ya kufundsha digital economy na pia utangaze unagroup la discussion ya kuchambua Mpira wa hapa home uone wateja ni group lipi”.
“As an outsider looking into both Kenya and Tanzania I believe you are misjudging the situation. I have looked for and hired speakers and teachers of Kiswahili and have ended up with only Tanzanians in the shortlist!! Similarly, I have worked in the MSME sector in both Nairobi and DSM and I would not say there is a big difference between micro-entrepreneurs in either country.
Offcourse, I have come across laid-back students and graduates in both countries complaining of lack of government support for ‘ajira’ but in reality, I simply ignore them and move on to talk with those with positive growth mindsets of which there are ample examples in both countries. I make no distinction between KES and TZS or even UGX. I have no experience of Nigeria so I will let others comment on that comparative”.
“I’ve been having hard time understanding how Upwork works somebody please enlighten me, I took an assignment once but I got stuck. Why? simply because as soon as I got into a conversation with the person who posted the assignment it really felt like I was talking to a robot and not an actual person so I decided to quit!”.
Young individuals has tremendous opportunities of trying many things before they turn 40s which could be better for them to discover their job early instead of succumbing finding jobs here and there, office to office while turing 40s.
The only opportunity you have is that you’re young. Take such an opportunity to learn new skills, and learn how to get things done.
It is during this time you have the chance to explore, grow, and seize opportunities that are readily available in the digital economy.
Be responsible for your age and use it as a backbone for learning new or improving your skills, positioning yourself in a way others simply cannot.
One of the most powerful aspects of youth which can not be backed is the ability to adapt and remain flexible in the rapidly changing job market coz the traditional path of obtaining a college degree may not always fit your needs.
Perception of the Current Market.
To tell a little, industries are placing emphasis on practical skills and experience rather than on those certificates. Employers look for those who can solve their problems (service providers), not job seekers and if it matters to you stop looking for a job and improve your skills instead.
Where we are heading, Employers might be employing freelancers whose job is already well known.
If the skills you have don’t match the existing market, changing can be the solution. See the conversation below.
So far, It’s now common to find a graduate eating on the same plate with the one who even doesn’t know how university looks like. The future of youth is threatening if you’re not prepared well.
This means you have the opportunity to break free from the constraints of a narrowly defined career path dictated by college credentials.
Use That Free WI-FI Well.
Let’s say your College provides you with free Wi-Fi yet you’re using it only for downloading movies. Have you already secured your future job? If not, take that opportunity to learn skills which will not only help get employed but also get to employ yourself.
Remember, there are some people who struggle the most to get that time and that free WI-FI you’re playing with.
Make preparations before the sunsets, find fun in yourself, improve it, and taste the flavor of the digital economy and that’s the way of increasing your chances of entering in an industry you have never imagined.
Many successful professionals today are living proof that passion and determination is exciting over formal certifications.
You don’t get to the promised land without going through wilderness – Martin Luther King.
Do not underestimate the impact of small sacrifices and dedicated effort that can have on your future. It is no secret that success does not come without hard work and perseverance. By considering the equation of sacrifice plus effort equals great results, you empower yourself to reach new heights.
The determination to go the extra mile, to put in the extra hours, and to continually challenge yourself, will differentiate you from the crowd. Cut off challenges, push your boundaries, and remain focused on continuous growth. It’s sad to hear, you graduate while you don’t know even the meaning of freelancing.
Gone are the days when success was solely determined by traditional qualifications obtained in college. The contemporary job market is changing at an unprecedented rate, opening doors to virtual opportunities in industries where certification may not be necessary.
People of my tongue says “Mtu amesoma journalism halafu kazi anapewa chawa” which translates to “A person studied journalism and a job is given to a sycophantic person”. Think of it.
Well, I am trying to get to the point, you are a loan beneficiary from the government known by its name “BOOM” use it well, invest in categories where it might help you after ending your studies.
The young generation holds a unique advantage which never come twice. You can break free from arbitrary limitations and forge your unique path to success by taking care of time and the available resource.
Remember, it is through constant learning books, articles, courses, and other related written or wise-spoken context and using skills gained to make things happen. Learning without putting into action is like pushing a wall which doesn’t move.
Some days ago, I talked with a girl, a final-year student from the University of Dar es Salaam. She was curious to know how she could find a job after graduation. She asked me-
How did you cope with the situation after graduation? Did you immediately find your dream job? What’s your story? She wanted to know my journey.
This took me back to the last quarter of 2020 when I was done with my studies and waiting for graduation. I planned to look for an internship and, see if I was lucky to secure my first job.
Until graduation time, I didn’t have any. I was tired of being idle at home with no direction or help.
I said to her, don’t be a graduate who only sends CVs and resumes and waits to be interviewed, to get employed. Be a modern graduate by
Improving your skills.
Don’t limit yourself to permanent employment that aligns with your degree; be flexible to adopt various kinds of jobs that are available depending on your other skills. Henry Bukuru, the founder of Bukuru Tech, used his skills to design websites for different companies and NGOs. He wasn’t employed but used his skills to find a job for himself before and after graduation.
Spending Time Wisely.
After sending applications, don’t spend the entire time waiting to be called for an interview. Instead of watching TV, and movies, and scrolling aimlessly on different social media platforms. Consider attending different graduate training courses where you can learn and get different ideas on how to navigate street life.
Learning Online Digital Marketing Skills.
Digital marketing jobs are the top 10 most demanded skills worldwide. Use that time to learn a skill from YouTube, Coursera, or Google Digital Skills and work as a freelancer as you wait to secure your dream job. David Mollel took a social media management course on Coursera after graduating in 2021. His first role has been working as a social media manager with different NGOs and companies.
Become an affiliate marketer.
Since you don’t have the capital to start your own business, you may become an affiliate marketer. Where you will be helping businesses reach their targeted clients and get paid for a commission.
How will you get clients?
Leverage the power of social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, where you can connect to people directly, market a product, and find clients.
Build a personal brand.
As a result of building my brand on LinkedIn, I was offered the opportunity to work as a freelancer atTanzlite Digital. You have a chance to build a brand for yourself by sharing your skills with the world and connecting with different professionals in and outside your career. I would recommend starting with LinkedIn and expanding to other platforms.
Lastly, I told her to open her mind, be ready to adapt to the different opportunities available, and not limit herself to employment. There are options for finding your first role, which may not necessarily be your professional role.