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Moja Centres; Innovation to Address Youth Unemployment

Posted by radio On April - 28 - 2022

Moja Centres, a South African social enterprise has announced the introduction of design thinking qualifications as part of its social enterprise development programme. The two qualifications, Design Thinking Lead and Design Thinking Practitioner are part of the seven qualifications that have been registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on 01 April 2022 as occupational qualifications. The programme has already been tested to 16 students from the Kwa-Thema township as part of the five phases of the Moja Centres enterprise development programme.

It has been shown that design thinking skills are important for addressing problems affecting the youth and for creating opportunities for startups, especially in townships and rural villages where youth unemployment is high. Design thinking can introduce new ways of finding simple questions for innovation. Design thinking can also be used to help come up with innovation to address real issues. The method can be applied to specific problems, commercialize innovation and design products and services targeted at people who are affected by the same issues.


The development of the qualifications was spearheaded by the MICT SETA 4IR department with Moja Centres actively taking part in the process. The MICT SETA is the Development Quality Partner (QDP) for the Design Thinking Lead and Design Thinking Practitioner qualifications. Design thinking has been embedded as a module in other 4IR qualifications such Robotic, Process Automation, Internet of Things and 3D Printing.


“As the MICT SETA, we are excited about partnership with stakeholders in the provision of 4IR qualifications in South Africa,” explains Matome Madibana, MICT SETA acting CEO. “I wish to thank all stakeholders and the Community of Experts (CEPs) who participated in the development of the 4IR qualifications” said Ms Gugu Sema. Moja Centres is one of the stakeholders in the Community of Experts that developed these two qualifications.

The first group of participants who completed the individual-to-entrepreneur transformation phase of the programme are 16 students from the Kwa-Thema township in December 2021 are now ready to enroll in the second phase of the programme, Entrepreneur Capacity Development as Startups. The programme is arranged in five phases, delivered weekly, in a workshop format with daily work activities to carry out at home. The participants are expected to collaborate amongst themselves, conduct interviews in the community, and present results in class. Participants are also encouraged to look at understanding problems in a different way from the norm and come up with innovation to address problems affecting their communities.

“Personally, it has helped me a lot to view things in a different perspective. I now know how to control my emotions in any situation and not react instantly.’ explains Ms Mathabo Morudu, one of the participants who completed the first phase of the programme.


Co-founder of Moja Centres, Andile Tlhoaele has this to say of the courses, “The Moja Centres programme uses design thinking to simplify questions for innovation in areas such as farming, digital technologies, and human capital development. It can also facilitate innovation to address social challenges facing communities living in underserviced areas, especially rural villages where we believe this kind of intervention would make the most impact.”


Moja Centres (Pty) Ltd was founded by Dr Frasia Karua, the former General Manager of Amref Enterprise and Mr Andile Tlhoaele, the former lead consultant for Amref Health Africa when they visited innovation centres in Bangalore and Hyderabad India in 2018. Moja is a Swahili word meaning one, in township communities of South Africa, moja refers to being well or “sharp”. Moja Centre was founded on the need to simplify questions for innovation.


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