Tech Support Ghana

Congratulations! This Entry has been selected as a finalist.

Tech Support Ghana: A matchmaker between youth and the growing demand for ICT services, Tamale

Tamale, GhanaTamale, Ghana
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Tech Support Ghana is an open community active in the field of Free Open Source Software and Information and Communication Technology. Via vocational training and active involvement of Small to Medium Enterprises members obtain practical skills, knowledge and get access to job opportunities.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

young people could immediately start their own business with newly acquired skills without thinking too much of the legal environment
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

High unemployment rates, especially among young people create a pressing social and economic challenge. 25% of the youth are unemployed and the Ghanaian education system is inefficient and fails to prepare most of the young people to succeed on the job market. There is a mismatch between what students are being taught and what the labor market needs and expects. These challenges are particularly pressing outside of capital, Accra.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Tech Support offers vocational training to close the gap between theoretical and practical skills and builds capacity of youth locally to prevent job loss and economic migration. It is an alternative to costly and theoretical education for the youth in Tamale. At the same time, Tech Support is a trustworthy network of junior and senior technicians performing ICT assignments locally for SME and NGOs. We shine the light on self made job opportunities through practical, on-the-job training based in Northern Ghana, fighting to achieve economic development upcountry. And the strength of Tech Support is that we run on the commitment and dedication of the members. They make the decisions, designing their own futures!
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Kelle Matthew comes from Nandom, a small town in the Ghanaian Upper West Region. Matthew moved to Tamale and gained admission to Tamale Polytechnic. His interest in computers drove Matthew to join Tech Support. Matthew took part in 2 courses related to website design and development. Within several weeks and without owning his own computer he not only completed the two courses, but engaged himself in a first commercial assignment. Working from an Internet café and using his friend’s laptop to present his final work, Matthew developed two project websites. Right now, he is one of the alumni of Tech Support and became an inspiring trainer, facilitating web development tracks for new members and supports business development.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Tech Support organized two serial FOSS tracks in 2013, trained over 25 members, developed 4 commercial and 12 individual websites. In 2014, 9 new tracks were initiated, 10 members developed a School Management Information System (SMIS) in collaboration with a (inter)national partners. In July 2013, a dozen young people gathered to learn more about website development. 90% were there for curiousity sake but did not believe they could ever develop their own websites. Three months down, Tech Support members developed three real life websites and make an income from it. They moved on to develop 12 more websites in the ensuing 9 months. The basic impact on the members of the group is that they now have a way to make income for themselves while gaining career skills. Beneficiary organisations also get low cost but high quality websites with solid technical support.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In 12 months about 10 youngsters who originally did not believe they had the potential to design real websites have gone on to make an income by developing websites. Going on to learn content management systems, we have been able to win a contract to develop a web based school management system for 25 schools. Deployment is currently in 4 schools and will upscale to 25 schools in 2015 creating jobs for members. Next years we aim to train 300 members, create 280 jobs and scale to 2 other cities. Tech Support teaches young people skills and they immediately find a client to execute the project.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Tech Supports asks the members for a small contribution fee to cover the costs for the tracks and necessary materials. Financial motivation to work on commercial assignments comes from local NGO's and enterprises (or clients). The costs to cover the start-up phase (investment, business development, project management, coaching) comes in through fundraising. These start-up costs are high but will eventually stabilized and minimized.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The Worldbank recently launced a map with over 90 tech hubs in Africa. A tech hub is a center of activity and can be described as a playground for innovation. Most of the hubs represented on this map belong to the AfriLabs network and have compairable elements, regarding Tech Support Ghana but are based in capital cities and focus mainly on entrepreneurship while Tech Support actively acts as a matchmaker between youth and market demand.
Team

Founding Story

It all started with Saani, a young adolescent student nurse with a strong interest in technology. He neither has a laptop nor the means to subscribe to one of the technology courses in Tamale. On a Sunday afternoon, at the pool, he met Kim Nooij and told her he wanted to learn how to build websites. She discussed this request with Kennedy Kubuga who has also been walking around with the idea of building capacities of young people in ICT. Kim and Ken got together to discuss the possibilities of creating a tech community in Tamale, Northern Ghana using real assignments as the entry point.

Team

Tech Support originated in 2013 out of enthusiasm of its two founders and the apparant gap between demand for ICT products and the unprepared youth to grab this opportunity. Kennedy Kubuga and Kim Nooij now manage a strong community of 20 members (junior and senior), willingly to proactively participate. These members are motivated to take on leadership positions and external partnership are being established to secure (financial) support.
About You
About You
First Name

Kim

Last Name

Nooij

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

Ghana, NO, Tamale

Country where this project is creating social impact

Ghana, NO, Tamale

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, NGOs, Customers.

Supplemental
Awards: What awards or honors has your solution received, if any?

a contract to develop a web based school management system for 25 schools.

Tell us about your partnerships

The International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) is an international non-profit foundation based in The Netherlands, with over 16 years of experience in using information and communication technology (ICT) as a driver for development. IICD has financially supported the start up phase and gave Tech Support the opportunity to take part in the development of a School Management System.

BIBIR-GHANA has an existing ICT Training School in Tamale. BIBIR-GHANA and its partners Butterfly Works, Rural Innovation Consult and Tech Support Ghana will target the disadvantage youth from the rural communities in the Northern Region. In brief, the project aims to start a webdesign school in 2015, with the objective to train 50 youth in web design, IT skills, creative multimedia and entrepreneurship to improve their opportunities for employment or venturing into business by 2016. Tech Support will help in finding internships and create job opportunities for the graduates.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Currently Tech Support is not a registered entity and that scares off organizations. Ownership, community based principles, independence and a proactive attitude are our core values and can be best realized if the members design their own preferences. So currently Tech Support works on a constitution and researches possibilities to start an association, cooperative or other form whereby the ownership remains shared, equally represented or at least Ghanaian.

How does your idea help young people create bright futures and improve opportunities for meaningful and long-term careers?

Tech Support is based on own initiative, sharing and life as it is in regional cities. Not everyone has a laptop, the power supply is not consistent and we meet at the polytechnic after lecture hours. Our resources are very limited but the low-key, informal sphere builds so much confidence in these youngsters that they can, will and already influenced their own learnings and job opportunities.

Target Age Group(s): What age group(s) do(es) your solution target through it's programming?

18-35.

Intervention Focus: Identify which of the following best explain key parts of your solution

Job Creation, Entrepreneurship, Training/Skill Development, Community.

Do you have separate programs or initiatives that target the following types of populations?

Impact - Reach: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

0 to 500

Number of People Directly Employed by Your Organization

Fewer than 10

Number of Volunteers

10-100

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.

Put Young People in Charge: provide the experiences and skills needed to be resilient, creative, and take action

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.

Education isn't preparing young people for the evolving job market

Comments

KATAMBA RONALD's picture

This is real innovative idea that will help a lot of people in Ghana.

AMECHU EMMANUEL's picture

Quite an amazing venture, it will surely help reduce the escalating rates of unemployment in Africa

Kim Nooij's picture

Hi Emmauel, thank you very much. We have many challenges of course, but Tech Support makes so much sense.

Kim Nooij's picture

Thanks Ronald, I appreciate your positive comment!

Bandile Dlabantu's picture

Hi This is an awasome program, can you please tell me about how this can be scaled up and what tech platforms will enable you to have the biggest impact.

Kim Nooij's picture

Hi Bandile Dlabantu, thank you for your comment. We are recruiting more youth with our introduction tracks and keep old members motivated with advanced tracks and assignments. Our main aim currently is to get an office, so we can execute the assignments from a central place and have our clients visiting us. Eventually we are looking at other cities to start Tech Support Groups. I am not sure what you mean with tech platforms to enable the biggest impact. Can you clarify this sentence for me?

Bandile Dlabantu's picture

Hi Kim

Thank you for responding, I really find you project impressive and the availability of an office would have impact. On my question of tech platforms I was thinking maybe a virtual office using tools such as google drive, Skype etc in order to lower the setup costs and amplify the impact of such an awesome project.

Newu Glory's picture

This is good through these solutions, you will brighten their future and improve their skill