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Eric Lauer, the Everjobs Africa CEO visited the Everjobs Uganda office last week, during which time he held this interview. In the interview, he expounds on what Everjobs is all about; revealing what inspired opening their office in Uganda and the future for the job portal. He also tips fresh graduates entering the job market and the unemployed people in general on how to land their dream job.
Here are the interview excerpts:
• Eric, please tell us about the foundation of Everjobs?
The launch of Everjobs started in 2015 with a simple truth: young professionals in Africa struggle with finding a job in the formal sector. This is caused by several factors, like structural ones, as there is a huge amount of jobs in the informal sector across Africa. But there is also an information gap, as many job young job seekers do not have information about vacancies offered by top employers in the country. Therefore it is the main goal of everjobs to make these vacancies easily accessible to job seekers to give equal opportunities to everyone. At the start of our journey, we noticed that no pan-African career portal enabling Africans to easily access career opportunities in other African countries exists. As African markets are getting more and more integrated our teamthought it would make sense to make all career opportunities available across Africa.
• Why do you believe in Everjobs?
Three of my main passions brought me to Everjobs: Africa, Digital and Public sector. Before I joined Everjobs, I was a management consultant for the world leading consulting firm McKinsey, where I had some engagements across Africa. They were mostly in French-speaking Africa and I was really excited by this experience. There wear many challenges but even more opportunities, fueled by an economic boom and a population driving for a better life. So I really wanted to participate in the African success story.
Further I am really passionate about digital and the digitalization of traditional economies. The re-shaping of sectors, like banking or tourism, through the digital revolution fascinated me- and I have participated in various digitalization projects in my previous career for large multinational corporations. And the recruitment industry is also part of this huge change.
Lastly, I was since my high school time highly interested in public sectors issues, especially economic and social policies and politics. In Africa unemployment is a huge issue and social unrest, and I am pretty sure that we as Everjobs can make a change for good in Africa.
So by adding my three passions with a bit of risk-taking or foolishness you automatically arrive at Everjobs, the pan-African job portal.
• So Eric you have told us a lot about the development of Everjobs, where are you currently?
The development has been full of adrenaline so far but there are still a lot of things to do. But actually I am really impressed by the fast speed of our growth – I have launched on average one new everjobs country office every month. Currently we are already operation in West and East Africa. In West Africa we are operating in Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Senegal. East Africa was our second step with starting here in Uganda. Just recently we opened our offices in Tanzania and Ethiopia.
• So what is your plan for the future?
Our plan is to run business in around 20 African countries by end of 2016. My vision is also our hardest challenge: getting Everjobs accessible to African SMEs. They need to have access to the best talents to expand and they now mostly recruit by word of mouth, which limits them tremendously. I’m sure that Everjobs can bring a revolution to the human capital of SMEs and small family business in Uganda and entire Africa.
In the many meetings I have with Heads of Human Resources one issue is always brought up: the huge gap between the skills on the CV and the actual skills on the job. So I also aim for Everjobs to have a big impact on employability and close this gap. We’re working hard to reach out to leading education facilities like universities, to put online quality content from our partners in many industries and career advice to reduce this gap. Downsizing this employability gap will make this talent revolution actual.
• Eric, as career portal you are not just improving recruitment, you are also employing a lot of people. What is the human side of Everjobs?
Our staff size is also growing very quickly. Taking together central and country teams we are employing around 100 people and this number will grow up to 300 people in 2016. Just take Uganda as an example, we started this year with one person in office and now we already have a team of five. The team is still growing, planning to open up some internship opportunities soon.
The country teams are having the chance to meet hundreds of enthusiastic Heads of Human Resources who want to be part of this great project and are currently actively using Everjobs for their recruitment. I’m verygrateful to them. They are also taking care of all applicants by providing them with good feedback to increase their employability. We at Everjobs care for people and aim at giving equal opportunities to all clients. The contact with our user base is very interesting, as they give a lot of feedback to make our service better. So we are improving on a daily basis. However, sometimes it is also very challenging.
• Eric, you at Everjobs did not invent this segment, so there are a lot of competitors in the market, what sets you apart from them?
Firstly, our intention is to have a true pan-African footprint, which makes a lot of sense both on supply side of the job market for employers and demand side for professionals. As we had a lot discussions with Heads of Human Resources of large multinationals we gained the insight that they aim at sourcing talents on a regional basis, be it all of East Africa, all of West & Central Africa or sometimes even at the African continent level.
There is increasing mobility of talents across Africa, so we’re able to offer them opportunities outside their local labor market. Professionals also experience everjobs different. Our service is 100% free for professionals and we will never charge someone for linking them with job opportunities.
Further, we directly link job seekers with the Heads of HR unlike aggregators that combine job openings from companies’ career portals so applicants never know where their application is going. We guarantee that their application lands directly with the Heads of HR. Even more significant, candidates are always informed when their application is read by recruiters. This aims reducing the kind of anxiety you face when waiting for an interview!
Another main distinction is on the product for our clients. We’re working hard to give as many functionalities as possible to Heads of HR. With our standardized CVs, they can use many filters on the search. The filters are based on the relevancy for the position offered. We’re also giving them the opportunity to head hunt directly in our CV database so that they have a glimpse of the talents available in the country.
In the last step, we also offer background checks of applicants after they’ve been short-listed candidates to verify the references of an applicant
• Any success stories you would like to share?
Yes and we’ve had a lot across Africa. The ones that are the most moving for me are when we get testimonials of professionals who found a job through Everjobs and thank us by telling that they are really grateful. An example is Solomon who is working now for AAR Health in Uganda. He called our country manager Julian and told him: “Thanks a lot for your advice and insights, I got a job with AAR through your job portal. Its a terrific experience, no payment no bribes!”
• Why did you start the East-Africa expansion in Uganda?
Uganda has several advantages that made us to come here as starting point of our East Africa Expansion. Firstly, we already have a big hub here with our sister companies (HelloFood, Kaymu, Jovago, Jumia and Lamudi).
Secondly, we have seen that Uganda needs us. High unemployment rates and a traditional recruitment system that needs improvements. Thirdly, Uganda is booming and politically stable.
And lastly, we find here a highly skilled workforce that is willing to make the next step.
• What do you see as challenges for Everjobs in Uganda?
We also see a gap between applicants’ abilities and their applications. Highly skilled people apply for low-skilled positions and vice versa. Further employability is a problem, so people lack of essential skills. This is not only our experience but also stated by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), who say that over 63% of youth in Uganda lack employability skills, technical know-how and basic work-related capabilities. Also the World Bank reported that over 70% of an approximated 400,000 fresh graduates in Uganda were deemed unemployable.Applicants are also not used to online applications at all.
To overcome these weaknesses our team here is giving feedback to all applicants. We are also aiming at doing offline training sessions in the future to meet our main goal: bring together the best employers with the best talent. As the opportunities in Uganda are way higher than the challenges, we are sure that we have create many success stories of people finding a new job and changing their life with Everjobs.
• Which motivation would you give to:
– University students entering the labor market soon?
You should go for every opportunity that gives you work experience. You can do a company project or competition at university? Do it! You can get an internship? Go for it! And you should never wait for the opportunities coming to you – you should be proactive and get in touch with decision makers at companies. Also associations are a good opportunity to already get to know experienced managers and experts in the area of interest.
Lastly, be always curious and ask questions. Always follow the Chinese proverb: “He who asks a question remains a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever”.
-Unemployed people in Uganda?
Firstly you should be proactive. Finding a job takes some time and efforts, but the perfect job will hardly come to you without any work.
Secondly, job seekers should also use their time to get additional training. Learn new skills, e.g. computer skills or a new language. This does not have to be expensive. You can start with books or online courses. We have also some tips in our job journal on how to improve your skills and abilities.
Further you should always keep your CV and your application documents up-to-date and accurate, but never lie – as lies don’t travel far.
Lastly, you should use a platform like Everjobs. This will connect you always with the best employers and the best job opportunities. Further Everjobs provides you with a lot of useful tips and hints. And the best thing about Everjobs: it is and will ever be free of charge for applicants.
• Do you have a motto?
There is a lot of truth in this quote by Lionel Messi: “You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it”.
Interview: Joseph Bogera talks Sales and Distribution at MTN Uganda
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Just over 8 months ago MTN Uganda appointed Joseph Bogera as the General Manager Sales and Distribution. Joseph is a seasoned sales professional who began his career with MTN Uganda as a Business Account Manager, moved to MTN Rwanda as a Corporate Sales Manager, Uganda Breweries as a Divisional Sales Manager.
Joseph progressed to work as the Country Manager for Brightsarcorp Limited covering 11 countries including Zambia, Botswana, Mauritius, Kenya and DRC and more recently before returning to MTN Uganda as General Manager – GOtv Uganda.
We caught up with Joseph to understand his role as GM – Sales and Distribution and his passion for success.
Describe your role as General Manager Sales and Distribution at MTN Uganda.
First and foremost, I would like to say this has been a baptism of fire of sorts, soon after I was appointed in September 2019, we got hit by COVID-19.
The subsequent lockdown narrowed our traditional operating space like never before but then opened new doors of opportunity that many people who only used internet in the office opened up to our services.
As GM, I lead a nationwide team of over 120 exceptionally talented Ugandans whose single focus is growing our customer base, ensuring we are delivering on our Customer promise and addressing their every need.
We have witnessed a migration from voice to data especially during the Lockdown. How has this affected your strategy?
My core responsibility as the head of MTN Uganda’s Sales and Distribution is to optimize resources as the company hits the course of Digital Distribution. For MTN, the migration started well before COVID-19 under the “Digital for Good” initiative.
My focus now is spearheading key change initiatives through a robust Digital Distribution eco system which will create long lasting value for our Customers, Distributors, Agents, employees, and our country Uganda.
Is there room for growth in Uganda?
Incredible opportunity. Uganda has a low penetration of mobile handsets and smart phones, without a doubt there is a great opportunity for the telecom sector, especially with the big youthful population and hunger for information and entertainment.
With Digital Distribution, as a priority pillar our goal is to move towards a cashless and convenience in the palm of your hands and that is why we have to urgently address the affordability of handsets. Owning a smart phone should not be a privilege anymore.
What qualifies Joseph Bogera to this position what roles have shaped your journey?
I have built my career from being a foot soldier in diverse markets as well as working on diverse products. As the General Manager GOtv Uganda at Multichoice, I led the transformation of GOtv Uganda from a flat to profit making entity to a must have offer, through aggressive customer acquisition and retention whilst optimizing the limited resources. I led the launch of the Pearl Magic Channel that now leads in local content development.
On the telecom side I designed routes to market for Blackberry handsets across 11 ESA Countries, introduced Tecno handsets to Operators in Zambia, Botswana, Uganda and DRC as well as executing the distributor management role for Samsung, through robust demand planning and supply balancing while at Brightstarcorp.
In short I am Consistent, passionate and play to win.
Outside Sales and Distribution where do you get your energy?
My wife, kids and prayer. When I can I will be on the golf course to get much needed exercise and inspiration
Interview: Meet Hatim and Dokey, the new music duo in town
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By Our Reporter
There is a new duo in town — Hatim and Dokey!
After writing several chart topping songs for other Ugandan artistes, songwriters, Hatim aka Ken Hatim and Dokey aka Dokta Brain have teamed up to also share in the spotlight. They are getting behind the microphone to record music.
The duo was recently signed under Subwami Empire, a local Talent and Events Management Company and are currently working on their debut music album.
We caught up with them for a quick chat:
1. Who is Hatim and Dokey?
Hatim: Real name Ken Hatim, I am a Ugandan singer and songwriter. I started out as a solo artist in in 2015, but that didn’t pan out. Currently I am one half of the duo, Hatim and Dokey, which is signed under Subwami Empire, a Talent and Events Management Company.
Dokey: My real name is Nkwanga Geoffrey but many people know me by my stage name Dokta Brain.
I started my music career at Sous Records in 2014 where I was an in-house songwriter with producer ManPollo.
In 2015, I got my breakthrough after working the legendary Angella Kalule on her single ‘Malaika’. Later that year, I met with the late Danz Kumapeesa and wrote several hit songs including ‘Musawo’ and ‘Magic’ for Winnie Nwagi, as well as ‘Juice Wa Mango’ by Rema.
I have since written several other songs like ‘Kisasi kimu’, ‘Binkolera’, ‘Omwoyo’, and ‘Beera Nange’ by Sheebah Karungi; ‘Sabula’, ‘Nakupenda’, and ‘Katijjo’ by Fille; ‘Olindaki’ by Lydia Jazmine, just to mention but afew.
2. How did you meet and what made you decide to team up?
Hatim: We met for the first time in studio in late 2019. It is after this that we discovered that we could do good music together. The chemistry, how our vocals blend, and the positive feedback from other people made us confident and we talked about becoming a duo and the rest is history.
Dokey: I met Hatim in 2019 at Nuff Empire studio where I had gone to record a song with Skills On the Beat. We had a long chat about the industry and music at large, listened to each other’s music, and thereafter decided to record a song together. We realized there was a good vibe between us, and decided to record even more music together in that same week.
After taking time to look through what we had done together, it was addictive and irresistible to our consciences, we felt we belong together musically. It is after this that we thought of becoming partners.
We formed HD Music, H from Hatim and D from Dokta Brain, but felt the name didn’t sound catchy enough. We later settled for Hatim & Dokey.
3. Describe your kind of music and the creative process that goes into making it?
Hatim: Our music falls in quite a number of genres and is mostly influenced by the surrounding environment at the time. Writing lyrics and creating melodies is a natural skill and ours has evolved over time with training and experience.
Dokey: We are versatile artistes, both lyrically and melodically. We are not confined to one music style. We may do a lot of Afrobeat music but we are very flexible, allowing us to realize our full musical potential.
4. Are you working on any music projects at the moment? If yes, when should we expect them to drop?
Yes, we are working on our debut album titled Vibes and Themes (VAT) which will have 20 tracks. So far we have released 2 songs and hope to be releasing more music soon.
5. What challenges have you so far faced in the music industry and how have you dealt with them?
Hatim: The lack of funds to attend studio sessions, record and produce music, shoot music videos and promote the music is one of the biggest challenges we have had to go through, not to mention unsupportive people along the way.
Dokey: Just like any other business, the music industry is challenging, especially financially. But thank God for our management, we’ve overcome that struggle. Now, the remaining struggle is just a question of time, and all will be alright.
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hatim: We pray for life, otherwise we are working to get to the top. We see ourselves holding successful album releases, music concerts, and global tours.
Dokey: We are just going to do what we have to and continue to grow. Through hard work and persistence that we intend to put into our careers for the next five years, we should be able to put our name on the global map.
Uganda Red Cross’ Robert Kwesiga explains how public donations will support their efforts in fight against COVID-19
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By Our Reporter
MTN Uganda recently launched a MoMoPay Merchant Code through which customers can donate funds to support the relief effort, especially for those most affected by the economic and social devastation brought on by Coronavirus.
To donate, individuals dial *165*3# then enter the code 191919 and the amount of money they wish to contribute.
Proceeds from this intervention are meant to help fund efforts of the Uganda Red Cross as it works to help combat further spread of the virus and support those who are finding it hard to fend for themselves.
The Secretary General, Uganda Red Cross Society of Uganda, Mr. Robert Kwesiga shares more details of what the collected funds will be used for.
Below is an excerpt of that interview;
1. What will the money be used for?
The money will be used to procure and provide essential food assistance to the most vulnerable households whose livelihoods, from their informal jobs, have been adversely affected by the partial lockdown instituted in response to COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda. This will complement the initiative that the Government of Uganda has started.
2. Who are the beneficiaries?
The beneficiaries are poor households who live in informal settlements in urban areas and are adversely affected by the partial lockdown instituted by Government, because they can no longer afford food for their households owing to disruptions of their informal employment.
3. Where will the activities related to this project be executed?
The food distribution shall continue on a rolling basis all through the period during which people are restricted to their homes due to the partial lockdown period. At a later date, an early recovery livelihood intervention programme shall be instituted after the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled so as to support the affected vulnerable households bounce back to normal, dignified lives.
4. For how long will funds be collected?
Funds to support these interventions shall be required throughout the period of the lockdown, and after the pandemic is controlled so as to sustain all recovery efforts for the affected households.
5. When/How often will proceeds be announced/declared?
Total amounts collected shall be announced by the Red Cross on a weekly basis and later after further gaps are identified, the public shall be informed of any extra support required.
6. How will accountability for the funds collected be communicated and in what intervals?
All funds and other donations received towards this cause shall be put to good use as planned and accounted for in accordance with Uganda Red Cross standard financial guidelines. These funds shall be subjected to formal audit, whose report shall be published on the URCE website and in other official communication channels that shall be open for public viewing.
7. Does the public have a say in how the collections are spent?
The Uganda Red Cross shall remain accountable and engaging to the public, as much as possible. The public shall be engaged through our various public communication channels and as well as our branch offices which cover all districts across the country.
Interview: Fort Portal’s Joseph Israel Mwebesa talks about his music journey
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By Our Reporter
Joseph Israel Mwebesa is a household name in Fort Portal. He is a singer, song writer, instrumentalist and also Director at Creations Band.
We caught up with him as he prepares for his debut solo album launch titled “I Love Fort Portal”.
Tell us abit about yourself.
I am a gifted song writer, singer, composer and instrumentalist. I am also a trained counselor and a professional Marketer (ACIM).
Why did you choose music despite your good professional training?
My professional training has continuously created in me a conviction and challenge to use my musical talents to create a bigger solution in society especially tapping into people’s special talents and abilities. Most importantly, its passion driven since my childhood. Without passion, I would have given up.
What new things have you brought to the music industry in Tooro?
By 2011, many considered it hard to sing Rutooro and English. But my coming to the industry proved them wrong. If you access them on our creations band website www.creationsband.com or on YouTube, you will confirm this. People in Tooro and western Uganda now appreciate and enjoy Tooro Music. In my musical career, I have written a number of songs for people including couples and organizations, put up my first Rutooro Album “I Love Fort Portal” and will be launching it on the 27th of December at Nyaika Hotel Fort Portal. Have also come up with 3 key collaborations including “True Love” currently doing very well on a number of radio stations. I have established Creations Band a recording and performing band.
Which achievement do you take pride in so far in your music career?
My music and message have so far reached many people in Tooro and changed negative attitude towards Tooro Music. The online platforms for my music have very encouraging feedback. We have somehow twisted the role of music from mere entertainment to edutainment using songs like Beautiful Land, Power within you, Myekwaso, I love Fort Portal etc. and that’s good.
What’s so special with your new album you plan to launch?
This is my first-born album, that alone drives a special attachment. It has unique songs many of which are inspirational talking about my sentiments and attachments to my sweet Motherland Tooro. Its rare for an artiste to just come up with a full music album about a place. Its on record, I have made a great contribution to lift the brand of Tooro and that’s quite special about the Album.
Tell us more about the “I Love Fort Portal” album.
The album has 14 songs – 4 of which directly talk about Fort portal and the Beauty and endowment of Tooro. These include; the Beautiful Land, Tooro Nsi Nungi and Come Home. Most of them are inspirational in nature while others are very nice love songs. The song “I Love Fort Portal” lays the foundation for the entire album. It was not only my very first song but also provided direction for writing other songs on the album. The album has two collaborations with the recent one being True Love, a very captivating love song. There are other very enjoyable songs like Nyamaizi which is a blend of modern styles and traditional Tooro style of music.
What can people expect at the launch?
We have planned to make it quite different, very entertaining and memorable. It will be a live show of entertainment and a demonstration of solidarity for Tooro Music. I am working hard to ensure all legendary Musicians of Tooro like John Kaawha, Akiiki Romeo and others perform at the concert.
What are your long-term goals as a musician?
With Creations Band, I hope to make it a strong music label in Uganda which will not only promote musical talent but also be a platform for advocacy, empowerment and promotion of special talents and abilities among youth in Uganda. My dream is to make more or less a home of best talents at creations Band. There are currently many unemployed talented young people and that hurts! They should be employing their talents.
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