RLabs Zimbabwe & Op-Lab – using social franchise to create opportunities within communities

RLabs is a member of the GatherWell Network

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.  Rlabs is a global movement and registered Social Enterprise that provides innovative solutions to address various complex problems. It was founded in 2008 as an environment for community driven innovation and reconstruction. RLabs creates an environment where people are empowered to make a difference in the lives of others. The RLabs “main hub” is in Athlone, Cape Town but they have activity in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa with a goal of reaching all continents by 2014.

Op Lab was founded by Sam Dzinotyiwei. Sam  is a social entrepreneur who started out his career as a pilot and is currently pursuing a commercial pilot licence. He has the business acumen to turn ideas into action and has been involved in a number of successful ventures. Most recently he was in charge of business development for Africa`s biggest social network, Mxit in Zimbabwe. He also worked with Childline Zimbabwe to provide counselling to children via Mxit. Sam is also the Projects Advisor for Educated Horizon a UK/Zimbabwe registered education charity. He designs and manages their IT Projects running in remote rural schools of Zimbabwe .

Impact sourcing project

Impact Sourcing is a global initiative to bring internet-based jobs to disadvantaged communities. Impact Sourcing brings the type of digital work traditionally performed by outsourcing providers to people living in economically depressed areas. Almost half the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 a day, and 1.8 billion people can’t access a formal job. Impact Sourcing creates thousands of new jobs, makes businesses more efficient, and will transform the lives of millions.

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.

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 are able to obtain free computer training and participate in the growing Impact Sourcing industry. Over 80% of Africa’s young workers don’t get a regular paycheck. If  you would like to help create good jobs, please contact Sam on sam@op-lab.org . We provide a number of digital services that include; data entry, Converting paper to digital, social media moderation, online research, spelling and grammar jobs, appointment management Services, ebook conversion, handwriting transcription,  website designing and mobile app development.

Rlabs Zimbabwe has plans to establish a technology innovation hub that will help the community to solve social problems using technology. The hub will also foster mobile technology innovations that include Health, Education and Agriculture. The hub`s main social purpose will be to leverage ICT for social purposes. To get involved in this great initiative please does contact us. 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.

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