SA’s third largest mobile operator, Cell C, has partnered with micro-jobs platform M4Jam to give South Africans having difficulty earning an income during the national lockdown, a chance to make some extra money, through a R2m project. 

M4Jam is a micro-jobbing and micro-learning platform which allows users, referred to as “jobbers”, to complete small, market research jobs or in-company training modules in exchange for rewards such as cash, vouchers and points.

A two-week lockdown extension in SA means an even greater blow to the country’s already fragile economy.

Most of the jobbers who find part-time, temporary work through M4Jam are not employed in the formal economy and rely on gig-work for income. The project is scheduled to run over three weeks and the average pay-out per jobber is estimated to be R310 per week, said Cell C.

M4Jam currently has 320,000 registered users, many of whom have already assisted Cell C in its national rollout of mapping informal traders, said the operator. 

As part of the project, Cell C said it will provide “incentivised training for jobbers to complete in the comfort of their own homes via their mobile devices”.

The operator said the curriculum provided is intended to upskill the participants to both provide income through the lockdown and make them more marketable once it is lifted.

The three-week curriculum consists of 48 micro-lessons on Covid-19 topics, Cell C product-related topics, general training on being successful as a regular jobber, and better data collection while in the field.

Jobbers will be paid on successful completion of the micro-lessons, with payments given evenly over the three weeks of the curriculum into a digital wallet. These funds are accessible via EFT, cash withdrawals at specific retailers, purchasing of data, airtime and other virtual products, said Cell C.

Once completed, each participant will receive a digital certificate at the end of the training and this will be added to their digital CVs.

“In late 2019, Cell C worked with M4Jam when we initiated a project to understand the dynamics of the informal telecommunications retail market. Jobbers assisted with mapping informal traders nationwide using geo-location data,” Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson said in a statement.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on people’s livelihoods in the informal sector. Cell C wanted to make a direct difference and has provided funding that will pay users or jobbers to complete training tasks from the safety of their homes and all via mobile devices during the lockdown,” he said. 

M4Jam CEO Georgie Midgley said their company had removed all location-based jobs from their platform, “which is having an upsetting effect on our jobbers who rely on us for day-to-day living”.

“As much as it is required to protect our public-health institutions, it also requires an urgent and focused response to provide alternative sources of income for South Africans who are formally unemployed,” Midgley said.

“M4Jam is very grateful to Cell C for their contribution and we are calling on other SA corporates to replicate this example.” 


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