Finding jobs on the roadside

first_imgLooking for work – men on the side of theroad.(Image: Men on the Side of the Road) The organised Men on the Side of theRoad sites are easily recognised by theirbright yellow banners.(Image: Masixole Feni)Jennifer SternSouth Africa has an unemployment rate of 38.3%, including those who have given up any attempt to find jobs. For those who haven’t, the only recourse is often short-term or casual labour – standing on the side of the road waiting for odd jobs. It’s highly insecure, but better than nothing.Casual labour is a strong tradition in South Africa, with informally designated sites in cities across the country known by both employers and job seekers, where unemployed men gather in the mornings hoping to get a job for the day.But it’s also been fraught with problems. The sites would have no toilets or drinking water so residents and businesses would complain to the police. But others would react with kindness by handing out soup and bread to job seekers. While the gesture was appreciated, all the men really wanted was a job.  So in 2000 a church group running soup kitchens approached charity worker Charles Maisel – and that was the start of Men on the Side of the Road (MSR).MSR started off by supplying toilets and water to a couple of sites, and working on job creation.“We didn’t really know what we were doing,” Maisel says. “It was a pilot. We were trying to work out the model.”Unfortunately, the harassment of job seekers increased after the sites become more organised.“There had always been harassment,” he says “but when we came on board it started getting worse.“After a lot of trying to negotiate with the communities and the police, we got a High Court order so the police couldn’t harass the men anymore.”The court order stated that it was the duty of the municipality to assist job seekers, and that the police were not to harass job seekers in specified locations.“We didn’t have much money at the time,” Maisel says, “but this was a major victory. It was a big thing. It legitimised job seeking on the side of the road.”Some of the men couldn’t get work because they didn’t have tools, so the next part of the project was a campaign to get the public to donate second-hand tools.“That really got us on the map,” Maisel says. “We got about 50 000 tools over two years. People sent tools from Holland, the UK, all over.But the most important result of the campaign, says Maisel, is that it made people aware of the problem – and the solution.“What’s interesting is that now, when anyone in the media is looking for an image to portray unemployment, they use a picture of men on the side of the road,” he says. “It’s become a symbol. Our biggest success is making the so-called invisibles visible. They are not beggars, they are genuine job-seekers.”A challenge was determining how many casual workers were out there.“We didn’t know how big the problem was, and we didn’t know how many sites there were. So we linked up with the Human Sciences Researches Council and the University of South Africa. They said they’d do a census of how many sites exist countrywide.”The researchers found that there were roughly 1 000 sites across South Africa.“A thousand sites, with about 100 people per site, means about 100 000 people per day. But with different people every day it’s probably about 300 000 people in total that use the sites. The numbers have remained basically static over the years.”With the pilot programme complete and the size of the problem determined, it was time to move on to the next stage.“After the census we knew what we were talking about. We identified needs. We needed to do training – of males between 15 and 60. And from the training, we moved on to job placement. And then the sites needed to be organised with cards and registration.”To be registered, each job seeker needs to produce a photograph, some form of valid ID, and any references. Their skills and qualifications are noted, and they are given registration cards that identify them as bona fide work seekers. Each worker is put on the central database, available on MSR’s website.Peter Kratz, MSR’s director, explains how it works. “Because the database lists skills, qualifications and work history, we’ve taken away the anonymity of the individual, and created a track record that is available to potential employers.“So anyone wanting to employ someone can register on the website and peruse the database,  send a request for a worker through the site, in which case we’ll call them back, or they can call 0861 WORKER.“And then we arrange which site they can pick them up from.“Some employers will still simply arrive and pick people up but it’s so much more efficient if they pre-arrange it,” Katz continues. “We can put together a team quite effectively. We’ve got people with all kinds of skills, brick layers, carpenters, gardeners, fork lift drivers, welders, you name it.”With more than 10 000 workers registered on their database, MSR placed about 6 500 members in almost 120 000 work days in 2008. MSR is a registered non-profit organisation, and do not charge for the placement services. Employers pay the men directly, and they keep everything they earn.Some of those day placements have led to permanent employment.“There have been some great success stories,” says Katz. “One man, Vuyisile Dyolotana, started standing on the side of the road looking for work and then, though MSR, got training from Stodel’s Nursery. That resulted in a permanent job with a landscaping business and, before long, he’d branched out and started his own landscaping business.”So far, MSR have 14 organised sites in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Pretoria and George.  They’re easy to spot. They’re usually at major intersections, and they are marked by bright yellow banners.So the men do still stand on the side of the road, but now many of them are standing there waiting for a specific prearranged job, so it’s a far less stressful process.Useful linksMen of the Side of the Road Department of Labourlast_img read more

A Mid-Season Dicamba Update

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ryan Rubischko, North America Dicamba Portfolio Lead with Monsanto, gives an update on dicamba use and possible issues as the 2018 growing season reaches the halfway point.last_img

A look inside Hidden Creatures (infographic!)

first_imgPlus, your fun photos from Hidden Creatures adventures across the globe!Photo by: Tecnics of GeodogBlu!Photo by: Gloworm77 of North Dakota, United States!Photo by: icabrian in Slovenia!Photo by: MikimichiSaiko in Austria!What was your favorite part of Hidden Creatures? Share in the comments below!Share with your Friends:More Traveling through the forest, over the desert, into the ocean, and up to the mountaintops, geocachers witnessed 13 species of Hidden Creatures around the world. We created an infographic to showcase six fun stats from the campaign. From stats to photos, here’s a look inside Hidden Creatures: SharePrint RelatedUncover a new world of Hidden CreaturesJune 5, 2018In “News”From Sketch to Souvenir: the artist behind Hidden CreaturesJune 19, 2018In “News”The world wide search for Hidden Creatures continuesJuly 10, 2018In “News”last_img read more

A Free Smartphone Would Mean Selling Your Soul To Amazon

first_imgdan rowinski Tags:#Amazon#Carriers#free#smartphones Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Everybody loves a free gadget. Or at least a very cheap one. E-commerce king Amazon is well aware of this fact and according to a recent report, could launch its own smartphone for free to the public. A free smartphone? There has to be a catch. And of course there will be—if it ever happens at all, that is.See also: Amazon Reportedly Working On A 3D SmartphonePeople “familiar with Amazon’s effort” told tech reporters Amir Efrati and Jessica Lessin that Amazon has been mulling the idea of giving away its long-rumored smartphone. The general notion is that Amazon would make the phone available without a carrier contract for … nothing.Amazon has a long history of trying to undercut its competitors on price, often in hopes of convincing customers to buy more stuff from Amazon.com. But a straight up free smartphone would be extreme. Many Android smartphones are very cheap these days, but not many of them are sold for nothing.Efrati and Lessin hedge their bets quite a bit in the report, as their sources told them that the free strategy may never happen:The free strategy isn’t set in stone and depends on several factors, including Amazon’s ability to work out financial arrangements with hardware partners, said one of the people who is familiar with Amazon’s smartphone effort. This person and others expressed skepticism about Amazon’s ability to pull off a free device.Amazon, of course, would most likely give away a smartphone only after tying it to all of the company’s services. Want music? You have to get it from Amazon. Movies? Amazon’s Video On Demand. Books, TV shows, apps … Amazon has all those, too. A paid subscription to Amazon Prime (at $79 a year) might also be in order.Essentially, a free smartphone would mean selling your soul to Amazon.Amazon Has Gone Down This Road BeforeSee also: What The Kindle Fire Says About Amazon’s Rumored PhoneFor instance, look at Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets. They are cheap (by comparison to other major tablet makers) and they are restrictive. If you want an app, you have to use the Amazon Appstore for Android. Want to get something from Google Play? Not going to happen. Amazon completely blocks the ability to access Google Play—even the Google Play website—through the Kindle Fire.The company makes its own browser, has its own cloud storage services and content. If Amazon is giving you a smartphone, you are basically consenting to do nothing but purchase anything and everything from Amazon.This might not be an entirely bad arrangement, especially if you buy most of your stuff through Amazon anyway. And Amazon could make it even sweeter.Right now, even if you get a cheap smartphone, you have to pay the gatekeepers: the cellular operators. That cabal includes the likes of AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and many other second and third tier operators in the United States. One way or another, you have to pay for voice and data plans and texts. Often you are getting sucked into a two-year contract with these companies and the operators know exactly how to wrench every last cent out of their users. Amazon’s Secret Weapon: Free Data!But what if you didn’t need a contract? Or even to pay for data? Amazon might be able to pull that off.Amazon has kicked around the idea of becoming a MVNO, a mobile virtual network operator. A MVNO is an entity that basically resells service from one of the established cellular carriers. MVNOs are often independent SIM card sellers like Simple Mobile or H2O Wireless.Sometimes, though, MVNOs operate specifically to serve up limited connections that deliver a small amount of wireless data from one point to another. In this way, Amazon already kind of works like an MVNO. If you have a Kindle e-reader with cellular connectivity, you’ve experienced it already.Amazon has relationships with carriers across the world to provide data for users wanting to download books or newspapers on their Kindle readers (not the Kindle Fire tablets, though—just the e-ink variety). Users don’t pay for this service, and Amazon recoups the cost when a consumer buys a book on their Kindle. Amazon has already kicked around the idea of becoming a MVNO in markets like Japan.Theoretically, Amazon could extend this capability to a free smartphone. It would mean becoming a full blown MVNO, as opposed to just buying some carrier data capacity for e-books, and Amazon doesn’t really have much experience in that market.But, say you get a free Amazon smartphone that gives you free or very cheap data and voice service up to a certain point—say, 1GB per month. Wouldn’t that be an enticing deal? Amazon could pull it off and completely disrupt both the smartphone manufacturing industry and the carrier model in one blow. Amazon then recoups the cost when you buy anything with the device. It might be a far-fetched plan, but so is the idea of a free smartphone. Jeff Bezos’s company has shown that it is crazy enough, and ambitious enough, to try it.  Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Teacher held for sending ‘religiously sensitive’ post

first_imgA government school teacher was arrested here for allegedly forwarding a ‘religiously sensitive’ post on a WhatsApp group, the police said on Sunday.Tilak Raj Singh was arrested on Saturday following a complaint lodged by a district official, who was part of the WhatsApp group, the police said.Assistant Returning Officer and tehsildar Ramesh Parmar said: “Mr. Singh, who also worked as a block level officer for election duty, forwarded a religiously sensitive post to our WhatsApp group. We immediately lodged a complaint against him on Saturday.”The teacher was posted at Bansa village under the Manpur police station, he said.Superintendent of Police R.D. Prajapati said Mr. Singh was arrested following a complaint lodged by the tehsildar.“The complaint said that the teacher forwarded an outrageous message in their WhatsApp group. After a probe, Mr. Singh was arrested under relevant IPC sections,” he said.last_img read more