Cell C and M4Jam Partner to Boost Gig Economy during Lockdown
Johannesburg, 14 April, 2020 – A two-week lockdown extension in South Africa means an even greater blow to the country’s already fragile economy. Around the world, governments and corporates are attempting to put measures in place to prevent widespread unemployment and poverty from being the inevitable result. This week, Cell C outlined its plans to help people earn money via the gig economy during lockdown.
The mobile operator has made R2 million available for jobbers through gig technology company M4Jam.
“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,” explains Douglas Craigie Stevenson, CEO of Cell C. “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.”
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.
According to M4Jam CEO, Georgie Midgley, in support of the government’s bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, M4Jam has removed all location-based jobs off their platform, which is having a 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.
M4Jam currently has 320 000 registered jobbers, many of whom have already assisted Cell C in its national rollout of mapping informal traders.
In its COVID-19 jobber support project, Cell C will provide incentivised training for jobbers to complete in the comfort of their own homes via their mobile devices. The curriculum provided is intended to further upskill the Cell C jobbers to both provide income through lockdown and make jobbers more marketable as gig economy participants once lockdown 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 micro-lessons, with payments disbursed evenly over the three weeks of the curriculum into their M4Jam wallet. These funds are accessible via EFT, cash withdrawals at specific retailers, purchasing of data, airtime and other virtual products.
Each jobber will receive a digital certificate of completion at the end of the training and this will be added to the jobbers’ digital CVs.
Midgley says, “M4Jam is very grateful to Cell C for their contribution and we are calling on other South African corporates to replicate this example. It will impact livelihoods during lockdown and further the country’s skills development goals to help boost the economy once lockdown is over.”