On the 12th of June 2020, RLabs – well known for it’s Academy in the box model called RLabsU and the skills that we bring into local communities using a play and learn approach, for the first time launched a free micro-course via the mobile application platform called WhatsApp. It has always been our goal to meet the needs of those that have lost hope and do not have access to education to get back into the job market. With the global pandemic crisis that hit us in March 2020, social distancing was enforced locally and regionally around the world to contain the spread of Coronavirus disease. RLabsU had to then also close down and stop all learning centres/hubs. 

This challenge brought us to a point where we needed to think of a different way we were going to bring skills training to our communities. RLabsU largely targets the unemployed and under-employed and statistics show that the unemployment rate has also increased due to most businesses closing and some sadly also shutting down as they are unable to access additional income. This meant that we had to act, and act quickly because we do not want our future generation and economy to suffer.

Our team of content creators, designers, facilitators and programme leads looked at what we have, how we could build onto it and what would be the best way to package all learning materials to be shared digitally on WhatsApp. Thankfully with WhatsApp, we can attach and send all sorts of files and create groups with over 200 people in it. This meant that we can create a group for content to be facilitated via and smaller groups for coaches/facilitators to support and guide students on course activities. While deciding which courses we then wanted to make available and launch, at the forefront of our minds we knew that if most businesses are closing it meant that businesses or entrepreneurs needed support for new industries to be birthed as the business world was rapidly adapting and changing.

RLabsU once again were very excited to open up online applications and offer a series of business management micro-courses such as Social Innovation, which is the driver of new innovations and solutions to many of the challenges we face, Entrepreneurship, helps you understand your business model and the value you bringing to your customers, and Small Business Management, teaches you how to operate and generate sales for your small business.

The experience has so far been a success, this past Friday and Saturday morning we ran the Social Innovation micro-course with 50 students from all parts of the world such as South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, etc. All supported by two lead facilitators and 12 coaches from RLabsU in Cape Town and Namibia. We also used the Zlto platform as an opportunity for each student to track their learning and get incentivized for it.

Here are some inspiring comments made by a few coaches and students.

 “I realized that I miss facilitating so this is the closest that I can get to facilitating” – Juleiga Johannes – RLabs Coach

“I would like to do a lot more courses like this in the future” – Anonymous student

“The learning was good. I felt included by my coach’s involvement and even the other participants.” – Anonymous student

“I learnt that I am able to think outside the box and come up with brilliant ideas to solve problems,” – Anonymous student

If you want to grab hold of this opportunity you are still able to by using the following link and completing the online form: apply.rlabsu.org. Our micro-courses will run until the 27th of June 2020.

Requirements to do a micro-course with RLabsU are:

  • 200MB mobile data/ a WhatsApp data bundle/ Access to WiFi.
  • A functioning mobile device with WhatsApp installed onto it. 
  • Commitment for 3 hours for active participation.
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