The Jozi Digital Ambassadors programme is one which aimed to bridge the city’s digital divide as well as address Jozi’s youth unemployment.

 The Jozi Digital Ambassadors programme began with the City of Joburg in partnership with the University of Johannesburg identifying a necessity to improve the way people of the metropolitan interact with the online world.  The city’s vision is to bridge the digital divide by creating a smart city. To achieve this, they rolled out free WiFi hotspots, providing each Jozi resident with 300 MB of data per day, at selected Rea Vaya bus stations, community centres, schools, libraries, clinics, government buildings and many more community sites.

On behalf of the City of Joburg, Resolution Circle (UJ’s implementation partner) contracted unemployed youth to provide services as JoziDigital Ambassadors. The JDAs were trained in digital, business and life skills and provided with equipment and marketing materials enabling them to start earning money within as little as 4 days.  The newly trained JDA’s were then tasked to train residents to connect to the City of Joburg’s free WiFi and to utilise its zero-rated Maru A Jozi portal which offers free, unlimited access to digital services and information.

The JDA’s were allocated to provide digital training services at over 1,000 unsupervised hotspots. This was enabled by the utilisation of a cloud-based development and management portal acting as an online supervisor, providing instructions, blended learning, and verifying services 24/7.  They were also supported and monitored online by UJ trained student mentors.

At the end of their contracts the Jozi Digital Ambassadors are rewarded with a UJ & CoJ endorsed certificates which acknowledges their successful delivery against their contracts. These successful JDAs will further be uploaded to a skills directory to market their services for further opportunities in the private or public sectors.

Thus far, the programme has trained 1,810 Jozi Digital Ambassadors. These Ambassadors have successfully connected and trained over 390,000 residents. This successful programme model linking services delivery to youth enterprises is embraced in development & implementation of other programmes.