Persons with disabilities are counting on the Innovative Digital Platform (INNODIP), that will link academia and industry to create jobs and opportunities, as one of the solutions to their challenges.
The platform development, funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (UKAid), Research and Innovation Systems for Africa (RISA), spearheaded by the University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies (UTB) is multi-sectoral initiative supported by the government as a way of inclusively creating jobs for all.
The idea of constructing this digital platform came into existence after the UTB university conducted research that showed a wide mismatch and gap of skills between academia and industry where both lacked available information on skilled labor and employment opportunities.
The platform has been under development since February this year is expected to be officially launched on a web-based page www.innodip.rw this December according to officials.
Professor Prince Wasajja Kiwanuka, the INNODIP project coordinator said that the full launch will be before the end of December 2023.
“The platform construction is 85 percent with only one step away out of the 12 steps that were planned in the project software development,” Kiwanuka revealed.
Josiane Uwiduhaye, a member of the National Union of Disability Organizations of Rwanda (NUDOR) said that the platform is a major solution to her challenges as a disabled woman in Rwanda.
“We see this platform as a progress in the way we apply for jobs. With the platform, an employer will not consider one’s disability but their skills set for employment,” said Uwiduhaye.
Uwiduhaye noted that the platform will reduce the challenge of disabled persons having to travel to deposit their CVs but requested that it should consider posting opportunities which persons with disability can access.
“That is the only way we can also benefit if the opportunities posted on the platform are considerate of common disabilities especially those with visual and hearing impairments. That way it will enable us to benefit equally,” Uwiduhaye said.
The Vice-Chancellor of UTB, Prof. Dr. Simeon Wiehler said earlier on that this platform will not only directly connect skilled graduate databases to the industrial labor market but also solve the problem of former graduates who have no direct connections to the job industry.
Rwanda’s economy registered 7.5% growth in the second quarter of 2022 following a 7.9% growth in the first quarter and mainly driven by the industry, energy, agriculture, trade and hospitality, and financial services sectors, the lack of connection between the needed skills and employer needs has been one of the gaps in the process.
Rwanda targets to create 1.5 million off-farm jobs by 2024 to reduce youth unemployment, and at least 214,000 jobs were to be created annually since 2017.
The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) statistics show that Rwanda has seen a promising decline in its unemployment rate, with the latest figures revealing a drop to 16.8 percent, compared to 23.5 percent in May 2022 and 17.3 percent in February 2023.