Zimbabwe has a large group of highly-educated young adults and women that can contribute to the profitability of businesses around the world. Unfortunately, with an unemployment rate of over 70 percent and low salaries for those who can find work, our country is suffering. The challenge of bringing work to this population has made Zimbabwe an ideal location for the next RLabs establishment . Through RLabs, Zimbabwean women and young adults will be able to obtain free computer training and participate in the growing Impact Sourcing industry.
RLabs Zimbabwe is a partnership with RLabs South Africa and Op-Lab, which is short for “Opportunities Laboratory.” Op-Lab specializes in using social franchise to create opportunities within communities. Op-Lab has computer equipment in place, to accommodate up to thirty trainees, allowing RLabs to get started immediately.
We were inspired by the Rockefeller Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa program, which works to support Impact Sourcing projects around the world. RLabs Zimbabwe is likely the first Impact Sourcing program in Zimbabwe. We plan to focus on creating a skilled workforce by providing computer training conducted by information technology university student volunteers. As we obtain funding, we’ll expand training.
To kick off RLabs Zimbabwe, we recently hosted a 48-hour hackathon event in partnership with IPaidaBribe.org.zw. The theme of the event was “hacking against corruption,” featuring talented Zimbabwean developers. The event produced more than 15 creative mobile applications and became the first hackathon in Zimbabwe to include female participants.