Q&A: DUMA Works react to Rockefeller Foundation grant

Q&A: DUMA Works react to Rockefeller Foundation grant

Arielle Sandor, Co-Founder Duma

Kenyan job recruiting platform DUMA Works has won a Rockefeller Foundation grant, bagging US$100,000. HumanIPO spoke to co-founder Arielle Sandor on what plans the Nairobi startup had with the money.

HumanIPO: What do you think led to the judges awarding the Rockefeller award Duma?

Sandor: The Rockefeller Centennial Innovation Challenge was targeting organisations that have the potential to “transform the lives of billions working in informal economies across the globe”.

Our core belief at DUMA Works is that if the right match is made between employer and employee, there is increased employee satisfaction, leading to increased employer satisfaction, greater longevity of the job duration, and thus an increase in income.

DUMA works with youth in the informal sector to help place them in appropriate and potentially long-term positions and give them a stable income.

Because our platform is accessible on both mobile feature phone and website, no one is excluded from this opportunity.

DUMA Works also has big dreams for reforming the labor sector. Our goal is to help both employers and employees understand how to most effectively navigate the recruiting process.

For job seekers, this would mean helping them to create a presentable CV through our online platform, to build a history of credibility through our post-job review system, and to understand which jobs they are most qualified for.

For employers, this would mean creating a platform to most clearly describe their job opening in order to find the most appropriate candidates.

We think DUMA Works’ focus on creating a scalable tech platform to help increase the income of informal sector workers and reform the job market made it a compelling choice for the Rockefeller Foundation.

What will the startup money be used for?

The money will be used to build a digital screening system that will help us verify the self-reported skills of job seekers and facilitate more optimised matches between job seekers and employers.

The screening tests will be accessible on both our mobile and web platforms, like the rest of DUMA Works’ services. We will be collaborating with experts in the field to create screening questions that most effectively measure each job candidates’ skills proficiency. We will also be building out a network of DUMA screeners throughout the country.

After applying to DUMA Works and being approved for various industries, the DUMA screeners will be responsible for designing and administering screening tests and short-listing candidates.

If a candidate recommended by a DUMA screener is hired for a job, the screener will receive 10 per cent of the money that DUMA Works receives from employers for making the successful hire.

How many employers do you have as your clients?

We have worked with over 50 employers in Kenya to date. These clients include large corporations, SMEs and startups and are based all over Kenya – Bungoma, Nakuru, Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu, Bomet.

How many successful hirings have you secured so far for jobless Kenyans?

We have successfully matched nearly 2,000 job seekers to jobs in the past year, and we now have 4,000 job seekers in our database from all over Kenya.

What makes Duma so different from other recruiting firms in the market?

DUMA Works is not a job board. In the twenty-first century, people should have access to

more than a notice board when it comes to jobs – be it online, on a physical notice board, or on a mobile phone.

What is driving technology these days is network-based technology, where you can find out about opportunities through targeted advertising and your social network.

Therefore, DUMA Works makes targeted matches between job seekers and employers jobs based on skills, location, and post-job review – similar to targeted advertising, we only show you what you want to see.

Furthermore, DUMA Works uses what we call our “social reference” network to match people to jobs. The “social reference” network helps people connect to jobs and job seekers through their mutual friends, families or colleagues.

So, what’s really unique about DUMA Works is that we make the best possible job matches by taking advantage of the scalability and efficiency of an automated technology, while still retaining the essence of human relationships.

What is the way forward for Duma?

I’d like to rephrase the question to say “The way forward IS with DUMA”… Over the next few months, we want to help employers in Kenya understand that there is a better option in recruiting that can save time, money and also increase company productivity and earnings.

We want job seekers to understand that they can stop tarmac-ing and start letting DUMA Works hustle for them. Over the next two years, we will begin entering other East African markets, and eventually roll DUMA Works out as a global platform.

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