Village Phone Operators are Trained to be KerjaLokal Agents

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ICT4D ICTI PT Ruma Village Phone

Ross Jaax is Program Manager, Grameen Foundation Indonesia.

On April 28, AppLab organized a training of 20 VPOs in Tangerang, Western suburb of Jakarta, on becoming Agents for KerjaLokal, a blue collar job search service that can be accessed via the mobile phone.  The 20 new Agents will participate in our initial pilot testing of the KerjaLokal micro-site and the supporting algorithm to match job seekers with jobs they desire.

We distributed 20 Huawei 6100 QUERTY phones that have a WAP browser.  During the pilot, Agents will sign-up job seekers using the KerjaLokal micro-site.  Accompanying the phones, we distributed a User Manual for the micro-site, that explained how to access the micro-site and perform the basic functions of searching for jobs and registering job seekers to the service.  For many of the new KerjaLokal Agents, they have never experienced accessing the internet on a mobile phone, and for that matter, some of them have never had experience accessing the internet.

For that reason, it was all the more impressive to see these new Agents, many of them housewives and micro entrepreneurs with no more than a middle school education, immediately turn on the phone and open the User Manual and begin exploring how to use the micro-site.  It was great to see that level of interest and initiative to start this service.

We then had two hours of training, that included coaching them on registering themselves as an Agents.  The participants were noticeably excited when they received their SMS confirmation that they are registered to the service.  We then followed that with a small-group role-play exercise where the participants were to practice registering AppLab staff, who were playing the role of a job seeker, via the micro-site.  We could not complete the exercise because the Bakrie Telkom network in that location did not have the capacity for 20 mobile App clients trying to access the network at one time in one location.  We promptly improvised, and used an interactive PowerPoint presentation of the user interface to instruct the KerjaLokal Agents on how to register job seekers.

We distributed marketing posters to the new agents, and they began to discuss immediately where they should locate the poster to gain the most interest of potential job seekers.  It seems to be working.  Within the first 5 days, 13 of the 20 new agents had already registered a total of 44 job seekers on the KerjaLokal system.



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