News: Ethiopia launches mobile App to help match low, middle skills workers to the labor market

Caption: Left: Among those detained in the Kingdom’s two prisons, Jazan and Aseer prisons, 450 were brought home on Dec. 10. Right: SIRA App

Addis Abeba, December 27/2018 – “SIRA”, a new App hailed to put “job opportunities in the palms of migrant returnees”, was launched yesterday in Ethiopia. A  product of  collaboration between the International Labor Organization (ILO) and 251 Communications and Marketing PLC, SIRA App is part of ILO’s project “Support the reintegration of returnees in Ethiopia” that lasted for the past four years, according to a joint statement sent to Addis Standard.  “Support the reintegration of returnees in Ethiopia” is phasing out with the launch of a mobile application named “SIRA app”. “The app will link returnees and employers (public and private) in the low and middle skills occupations.”

The SIRA App was presented in an event organized at Hilton Addis yesterday.

Addis Alemayeou during the launching of SIRA App at the Hilton Addis Hotel yesterday (Pic: ILO)

“[SIRA App] is a step in helping the job situation which we know is critical; but it is also 100% developed in Ethiopia,” Addis Alemayehou, CEO of 251 Communications, told Addis Standard.

According to the statement, the app “complements the comprehensive psychosocial, social and economic assistance that ILO in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) has been providing to returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through its EU funded, “Support to the reintegration of returnees in Ethiopia” project (2015-2018).”

In the week of December 10, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has finalized preparations to repatriate 2400 Ethiopians from thew Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Among those detained in the Kingdom’s two prisons, Jazan and Aseer prisons, 450 were brought home in the same day and 450 were brought a few days later.  The Ministry is currently repatriating some 1500 newly arrived immigrants from the Kingdom.

Addis Alemayehou said that SIRA App will be the first direct connection between employees and job seekers. “Given a vast number of the target audiences have access to a mobile phone, we felt it is the ideal platform to address the challenges of connecting job seekers with jobs.”

“The SIRA App aims to address the mismatch between job seekers and employers focused on low and middle skill occupations. The app will facilitate returnees and other members of the community to easily have access to suitable and decent job opportunities beyond the project life,” the joint statement further said.

SIRA App, developed by young software professionals at iCog Labs  is also hailed as “a convenient and user-friendly application”. It allows employers to post vacancies and search for potential candidates, while job seekers can search or subscribe for job alerts, and upload and update their information on the platform. “The app has a user-friendly interface and adheres to platform specific UI standards provided by Apple and Google respectively, hence available on Android and iOS devices.” It also takes into consideration the educational levels of users, and supports Amharic and English languages. While it works in setting of limited internet access, the app can also be used offline, to enable employers and job seekers access previously downloaded data.

Addis Alemayehou hinted that he “expects to add many of the major languages found in Ethiopia.”

In her statement at the launching program, Ms. Aida Awel, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO Country Office for Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan and for the Special Representation to the AU and ECA said: “We are confident that this application will address the gap in the demand and supply side of low and medium skilled labor, reduce the cost of recruitment and allow returnees to seek out employment opportunities that best suit their needs”.

In addition to the mobile phone application, the job-matching and information platform is made available through a web based portal and a 6689 call center. AS

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