Women Empowerment

Here’s why women’s month is an opportunity for economic development

Women are not only mothers, wives and caregivers in their own family; they also play the biggest role in economic development. Women’s contribution in training and empowering others has also grown, expanding their care and support to the country at large.

In South Africa, women’s hard earned recognition started on 9th August 1956, a period in time that saw more than 20 000 women unite at the Union Buildings in Pretoria to challenge that a woman’s place is  ‘everywhere’ – not only in the kitchen.

The protest included the fight against all laws that oppressed women and laws that saw decisions made for them by men. These women were led by strong leaders we recognise and respect today.  Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia William De Bruyn. 

Women's month

We need to recognise important contributions women make and stop to ponder on the advances in women’s rights.

Today, the 9th of August is celebrated as Women’s Day to recognise the courage and commitment women showed (and continue to commit to), to change the future of women in South Africa. 

“Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock”

This is an opportunity for women to empower each other to increase their value 10-fold. Our work includes the ability to empower millions of women with digital skills.

The influence of women’s month on the economy:

Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Social Development, supports the aspirations of women wanting to enter the marketplace. In an interview featured on the gov.za forum, Zulu said women should start looking for training programs and courses to develop their skills.

“We want women to take advantage of these training programs. Women’s month could be the solution to reduce unemployment and inequality, as well as poverty” said Lindiwe Zulu.

Women are powerful economic drivers. Evidence provided by a campaign called Let’s Grow South Africa, shows that when women join the labour force both in developing and developed countries, in particular as entrepreneurs, the gross domestic product (GDP) increases tremendously.

The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities further aims to address these key concerns that prevent women from having access to opportunities by putting measures in place to promote young women over the next decade.

What is economic development and how do women empower growth?

The words ‘economic development’ sounds like they’re only relevant to businessmen and investors.
Economic development is actually meant for everyone. The same for economic growth. In most cases, many confuse economic growth and development because they have similar meanings and are often used interchangeably but they’re two different economic terms.

The Key Difference explains this in laymen terms, where economic growth reflects the positive change in the real output of the country in a particular span of time – with quantitative data.

 

Women's economic development

 

Economic development is not about numbers but instead measures early childhood education, social welfare, skills development and training with qualitative data. So when women empower others to develop their skills and increase their knowledge, in our case through online courses and training, they grow the value of women in the marketplace.

This enhances development and access to resources. Resources which were previously only limited to mostly men.

To summarise, here’s how women’s month can contribute to economic development:

  • Women’s month encourages women to empower one another, through success stories and skills development and training.
  • Enhancing and growing women’s participation through training and development is a great solution to reduce poverty.
  • Research done by the World Bank Group proves that women’s economic development also increases child support and child survival.

Women should not be denied access to participate in economic development.  It does not matter whether it’s in the form of getting a job, building your career or creating multiple streams of income from the comfort of your home.

This means even stay at home moms can participate in the growth of economic development. The only prerequisite to participate is to take advantage of skills development programmes.

Please don’t forget to leave your comment below and share this post on social media with those who might benefit and continue developing their skills with Change News Digital.

Sign up here for communication and alerts about how to access our very affordable digital skills development programme. 

 

 – Phumzile Ntjana

 

 
























graduate unemployment

Struggles faced by unemployed graduates in South Africa

Every student looks forward to the day when they can toss their graduation cap in the air and walk out with a qualification in hand.

The gruelling and almost intimidating years spent in tertiary education is a period in time one can never forget because of the hardships and value it upholds. Young hopefuls look forward to fruitful and rewarding work experience after they graduate but things have been rather bleak for many.

According to Statistics South Africa, the unemployment rate of graduates was at 31% for the first quarter of 2019 and the numbers haven’t gotten any better. Graduates have qualifications, but no hope of employment or career development.

What happens to young people after they graduate?

Lindokuhle Tshema, a Journalism graduate from the rural Eastern Cape says:

“I was over the moon when I finally completed my studies and knew that I would be the one to rid my family of poverty”.

Lindokuhle is a daughter of a domestic worker and shares a small home with 5 siblings. She enrolled at Walter Sisulu University in 2011 after her mom encouraged her to do so. She completed her studies in record time.

“My family was excited when I graduated and I couldn’t wait to settle into a job. I was in high spirits and was filled with optimism,” she said.

Her mom, being a single parent, works hard to provide for them and this has been an aching burden on Lindokuhle who is the eldest of 5 children. It has been nearly 6 years and she hasn’t found work in the field she studied for. Lindokuhle describes her situation as discouraging and mildly depressing. She has worked menial jobs just to make ends meet and has lost the drive to carry on job-hunting.

This is a story of many young graduates in South Africa and things couldn’t be worse at this very moment, considering the pandemic.

How graduates feel about the recruitment process:

Has anyone stopped and asked a graduate about their experiences of job-seeking? Graduates feel like the system has failed them. Some have fortunately been able to find other means of income through self-initiated projects. There are very limited opportunities, if any – where recruiters or experts take time to guide graduates on how to obtain employment at large corporate companies or organisations.

Caption: Thabo, an unemployed Media Studies graduate, had started a soccer team in his township
whilst he waits to be employed. Photograph by Lulama Gaushe

 

“We don’t understand what recruiters are looking for. Every rejection leave us feeling despondent.”

What is the solution for unemployed graduates?

We need initiatives aimed at unemployed graduates. Pair us with experts to help get our foot in the door. Through these initiatives we are able to pinpoint areas of concern and find ways to determine successful outcomes.  Surely, our lack of experience is not going to be the pinnacle point that determines our future.

With initiatives that support us, we don’t have to desperately apply for any menial job that come our way just to put food on the table. 

Women Entrepreneurs - How to build your own website - Womens Month

Why it’s so important for Entrepreneurs to have their own website

The world as we know it, is going through a really interesting transformation and as we’ve come to realise, that after this pandemic the world we used to know will never be the same again – especially when it comes to how we do business as entrepreneurs.

 

Covid-19 has taught entrepreneurs one of the greatest lessons they will never forget – the reliance on physical stores / businesses – and the lack of digital integration. For every lesson you learn, there’s an opportunity to explore changes to survive or thrive. And that opportunity for entrepreneurs is having a website presence. This is  important now more than ever, because everything is going digital.

Women Entrepreneurs - How to build your own website - Womens Month

 

How is the world changing the way we do business?

Money became currency in the 7th Century, and now currency is moving from notes to digital. Some people refer to this as crypto-currency or bitcoins. And when crypto-currency becomes widely used, many people will be buying and selling online, moving us into an online transactional, cashless society.

Those who have already leaped ahead to embrace the change are now billionaires. Jeff Bezos for example, saw this trend early in the 90s, when he created a website for his bookstore at that time, which grew and became one of the largest retail stores in the world. Amazon has been financially rewarding for its stakeholders during lockdown as everyone stayed at home and were forced to buy online. The same goes for Jack Ma’s Alibaba e-commerce store.

South African entrepreneurs are realising the importance of having a website.

How your website can be valuable and profitable for you: 

  1. e-commerce: Most South African entrepreneurs are not even aware of this e-commerce boom. But we’re all getting there. South Africans, like Theo Baloyi, founded Bathu – a shoe company in 2015. He chose to have a digital presence and an e-commerce store (selling his shoes online). This has helped earn the Bathu brand a rewarding growth – and they’re growing exponentially. We need more South Africans to realise their potential by having a digital presence.

2. Blogging for business: Why do most entrepreneurs fail to build a profitable website? 
A website doesn’t necessarily have to be an e-commerce store. You can start a blog, yeah.. a blog. Back in those days, blogging was just a hobby for writers where people would share stories with like minded people, or where you could just write about your interest, and experience with those who have the same passion.

But now you can choose to blog as a writer, or blog as a business. A writer’s blog is not profitable, and when you ask them about how much they make, they’ll simply tell you that they’re not doing it for the money. But a business blog is aimed at making sales and earning revenue.

A survey done by Forbes proves that those who blog as a hobby have 78% of their blogs ending up in failure, within the first 3 to 5 years because after some time, they realise that the passion they put into writing without being profitable extends to them experiencing burnout. Bloggers begin to procrastinate until they give up writing on their own blogs.

Here’s how you should blog as a business entrepreneur:

When blogging as an entrepreneur, the main purpose is to grow your sales and increase your business revenue, your content marketing strategy (blogs that tell people about what you’re good at) should be created to generate leads (people who could be interested in what your website offers) and turn them into customers.

You should know that conversion (people who could be interested in your offering turned into people who want to pay for your offering) is more important than clicks (people clicking on your website to read and then go away without doing anything) and impressions (how many times your business information shows up on the internet but no one is reacting to it because they don’t know what it’s about and nothing interesting made them click) so you need to work more on crafting a compelling blog / story, every time,  to attract qualified leads (people who will make an effort to contact you for your service or product). If people don’t like it, it’s not compelling enough for them so the the psychology of a human being needs to understand or relate to first before they contact you. Write blogs that will educate someone about your service or product. eg: If you’re good at baking birthday cakes, then your blogs should be about “Important tips to bake moist cakes” or “great tips to make icing that is not too sweet” . This will allow people to trust that you can bake great birthday cakes because you know what you’re doing. 

In conclusion: Here’s how a website can help an entrepreneur grow their business:

  1. Your website can help you market and sell your business 24/7
  2. It can reach hundred of thousands of people who are online everyday to increase awareness of your website.
  3. You can attract customers to buy your products and services.
  4. You will be able to connect and communicate with people interested in your website or what you want to sell, at any time of day.
  5. It allows people to find you on the internet and creates a bit of trust with your customer by allowing them to see more of your business.
  6. It will help your business show up on Google which can help you attract customers.
  7. It can help reduce support calls and improve overall customer satisfaction.

Without a website, potential buyers could be going to your competitors who are online. 

If you are looking to build a website, consider doing it with WordPress. It’s cheap, easy and very popular. Most big businesses and media websites use WordPress to build their websites with. If you’d like us to teach you in a simple step by step process on how to create your own website (no coding needed), then register for our online short course that is available on the Cornerstone Institute’s website. You will walk away with building your own website which is simple and easy,  and  a certificate of completion at the end of the short course. The cost of the course is only R2,250. 

Click here to register for our short course on “How to Build Your Own Website” at R2,250.

in partnership with South Africa’s accredited Higher Learning Institution, Cornerstone Institute,
– in order to make digital literacy affordable to most South Africans. 

Once again, we hope you’ve found this post valuable. Leave your comment below, and don’t forget to share this post on social media, with those who might benefit from it.

Digital Skills Training and Development Africa

The importance of digital skills for young people in developing countries

We used to live in the agricultural age, a world of farmers where a child would grow up and work in the field. Then came the industrial age where a child would have to learn development of trade, how to build machinery or how to work the machinery to work in various industries. People would use some sort of technology to take industries to the next level. Today, we are in the 4th Industrial Revolution but unemployment is higher than ever amongst young people who should be equipped with the skills needed.

This is not the time for the old digital media where young people learn to write and read about celebrity gossip. This is a new world where digital and technology skills are important to young people.

It is critical for Africa to prepare its young leaders for a world that is requires complex problem solving. A world where collaboration is more important than competition.

Our young people from Africa need to learn about empathy and adaptability. While empathy helps with solving critical world issues, adaptability helps us change when times require change.

Did you know, in the digital world we live in – just like in nature –  it’s not the tough and strong who survive, but those who can adapt to change.

The World Development Report 2019, said that the labour market of the future will require new skills, including digital fluency.

Digital skills to influence the future

With all the demand for change, Africa will have to equip its youth with appropriate digital skills. Since they dominate 60% of the continent.

That’s more than half of all Africa’s population. Preparing young people from developing countries with digital skills will help the continent with growth and innovation. This will reduce the unemployment rate and close the gap between the rich and the poor.

The best way to fight poverty is to work together to eliminate this inequality.  So far, countries like South Africa and Rwanda are doing a great job trying to fight this. With companies like Change News Digital whose purpose is to change how we think about new storytelling, new ways of communicating, learning how to interpret data to influence positive changes and making use of giant technology companies like Google and Facebook to penetrate a global market. 

How can we prioritise digital skills in developing countries?

According to eTrade, by 2030 there will be an estimated two billion young people seeking new opportunities. If we work together as Africans, we can teach these young people digital skills which will give them access to multiple streams of income and help achieve their full potential.

In fact, education is a great tool for learning and growth.

New education will change how young people learn

Our school system need to encourage change in how they learn.

Why teach young people to calculate area to find location in a topographical map or orthophoto map when they can just find a location by navigating Google Maps. These are just some things that prove our education system is hindering opportunities for  young people to be digitally advanced. 

Here’s how important it is to develop youth with digital skills to grow Africa’s economy:

We now need linchpins, those who will connect buyers and sellers. Learn how to sell in a digital world or teach others how to navigate this powerful digital world.

I just recently engaged with a group on Facebook, and what a wonderful group that shared ideas and strategies about this world we now live in.

The group has young people who want to better their future by starting their own journey, walking their own path. And that’s what we need. Young people with ambitious goals to achieve their dreams.

In conclusion

To become more competitive and follow this fast paced digital world of technology and innovation, young people need to develop new skills for the future. With automation and AI taking charge of the physical and the most repetitive tasks, we need more emotional labour than physical labour.

This modern economy is changing from agricultural and industrial economies, to information and digital economies. These are worlds where knowledge is more critical than just information. Context is more important than content, where you need to learn all kinds of digital skills.

There can still be time for social and cultural development, but how young people consume content needs to change.

I hope you found value in this post, don’t forget to leave your comment below, and share this post on social media.

 

cornerstone institute-change news digital-partnership-image

Ready for 4IR – Change News Digital’s Incubation Lab Project collaborates with Cornerstone Institute

The 4th Industrial Revolution has brought about disruption across the globe. On the topic of being equipped as a South African nation to develop during these progressive times, our president, Cyril Ramaphosa stated, “Our prosperity as a nation depends on our ability to take full advantage of rapid technological change. This means that we urgently need to develop our capabilities in the areas of science, technology and innovation.”

Technology has disrupted the workplace and provided innovative ways to become more effective and efficient, what happens to those who have not been exposed to these technological advancements?evolution of 4IR-change news digital-01

Change News Digital (CND) and Cornerstone Institute have come together to address the problem of graduate students facing the disappointment of not getting hired due to lack of experience in the workplace, especially now with the introduction of new technological tools.

Students will now be incubated in the “Cornerstone Media Lab powered by CND” as interns to bridge the gap between their graduation and future career.

They will be offered the opportunity to use their theoretical knowledge in a practical, digitally-driven environment. The students will be guided and trained by industry experts and partners.

Glenda Bhana and Razia van der Schuur, directors of CND, are the visionaries behind the CND Digital Incubation Lab in which innovation and technology are the driving forces.cornerstone institute-change news digital-meeting

“When a company inducts students into their environment, they usually throw them into the deep end – leaving them to sink or swim. This can be very intimidating for someone straight out of their study period, especially when digital and tech tools are introduced to them for the first time. It is important for us, to ensure that students are well equipped before they join the workplace” says Van der Schuur, Director of CND.

“The institution should act as that vehicle, and it should form part of their learning experience,” adds van der Schuur.

This partnership is indeed a perfect match, as these two organisations firmly believe in advancing human dignity and growing the emerging South African and African social innovation sector by addressing the needs of the youth. They have the power to create change.

“I believe that we underestimate the power of media, especially digital media with its tech components.

We need to harness that power to enhance the learning experiences that would make a student job ready in the digital space. It’s about improving our educational practices and programming.

If we layer our teaching and learning processes with the creative power of media and its industry, then we will make the learning experience far more meaningful, accessible and enjoyable.

Cornerstone is about creating access to higher education for all but especially for those who were denied access in the past.

This partnership is so important. I’m so inspired by what CND is doing to be of service to our students”, says Noel Daniels, CEO of Cornerstone Institute.

Both CND and Cornerstone see the importance and value in supporting graduates. Both organisations strongly support the need to fast-track our country into the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“We see this as a positive starting point in making our youth job-ready.

CND’s vision is to set up Digital Incubation Labs across all disciplines at every institution for higher learning and even at a school level”, adds Glenda Bhana, Director of CND.

This project extends way beyond the meeting and collaboration of two organisations. It is a stepping stone on the path towards bringing about change within our communities, and providing individuals with the right tools and guidance to empower them to maximise their own potential.

For more information about Change News Digital and Cornerstone Institute, visit:

changenewsdigital.co.za

cornerstone.ac.za