Micro-jobbing platform, M4JAM (Money for Jam), and youth leadership programme, Columba Leadership, have partnered to help address their mutual visions of youth empowerment, employment and skills development.
M4JAM is initially using Columba’s young leaders to test its product and user experience, while Columba will make use of the micro-jobbing platform to provide young leaders with the opportunity to earn a living while studying.
Columba uses experiential learning of the ethical values of responsible leadership combined with participation in projects to improve communities and to develop the character, purpose and competence that helps young people to succeed in academic and work life.
The ability to think critically, solve problems, work in teams, communicate and overcome obstacles are valuable 21st century skills. They become role models who engage their peers in large networks of active citizens.
Richard Dunn, CEO of M4JAM, comments: “The calibre of the youth within Columba is exceptional, so it’s been valuable to us to have a group who have progressed through the programme, to test and provide feedback around our user experience. They are also giving us real insight into what our target market is looking for so that we can make the M4JAM platform as relevant as possible.”
For Columba, M4JAM offers a unique way to address unemployment. “We don’t believe the formal sector is going to provide the levels of employment we need to effectively address unemployment in this country,” says Rob Taylor, founding chairman of Columba. “M4JAM, being at the forefront of micro-jobbing, offers opportunities for our graduates to find alternative sources of income while still having the flexibility to study and make a social contribution.”
Columba focuses on promoting positive social activism amongst the youth. This carries with it significant trust and social equity, which – coupled with a real, large network of high-quality youth leaders – is set to help M4JAM make its mark. Without a large number of users, technology can fast become redundant. But when thousands of people who are on a mission to serve society embrace a platform that can help them to achieve their goals, growth will come organically and quickly.
“I believe our partnership with Columba will assist us not only with growing the M4JAM platform exponentially but also ensuring that the jobbers we have on the platform are actively engaged, with the right attitude, motives and values, along with significant social networks,” says Dunn.
Taylor hopes that M4JAM will also help grow Columba. “Our young leaders typically tutor lower grades in their schools – and we would like to be able to incentivise this and train tutors using M4JAM in the future,” he says. “Beyond that, we currently have 4 000 young leaders in the field, and we expect to increase this to 16 000 in the next five years. With a multiplier effect of up to 10 to one, that could mean we end up with between 80 000 and 160 000 social activists.
“And, if they’re equipped with M4JAM, not only could they drive the platform across the country, but they will also be able to earn additional income and even provide social services using the platform.
“In addition, if the partnership is successful in driving adoption and supporting the success of M4JAM, it also has the potential to provide Columba with a source of revenue to help it become self-sustaining.”
This is all part of an ongoing, mutually-beneficial partnership Dunn envisions. “We are both aligned in our efforts to create hope digitally, by engaging few to empower many, with the long-term goal to address unemployment and skills shortages,” he says. Taylor agrees: “What we need in our country is ethical leadership – it’s the key to unlocking South Africa’s growth. I am a strong believer in the power of this partnership to magnify our ability to provide our future leaders with the means to provide a positive social contribution.”