New app for fYR Macedonia’s unemployed youth
"Over 54 percent of young people in fYR Macedonia are unemployed but the country still doesn’t have any online tools to provide regular information and updates on job and career development opportunities," says Dejan Dokuzovski, one of the youngest recruits to UNDP’s Office in Skopje.
"That’s quite surprising when we know 90 percent of young people have access to the internet – at least half of them through cheap smartphone deals."
Dejan was already working on a youth project when he came up with the idea for an app for smartphones and a website that will map all existing data on opportunities for jobs, training, internships and volunteer programmes.
"We know this information is out there and we know our partner organizations, like the municipalities and university faculties, NGOs and private companies, are all ready to provide us with the data. It’s just a matter of bringing it all together in one place."
He teamed up with Nina Nikolik, another of UNDP’s youngest staff-members from the good governance team to develop the idea into a prize-winning proposal - for an internal competition that encourages UNDP to prototype new ideas that are informed by five open innovation principles, tap into citizen experts, and experiment with approaches that are mainstream for others sectors, but relatively new for development organizations.
"The moment it was put forward I knew it could genuinely help a lot of people our age," Nina said. "I mean, what could be more useful than a one-stop site where a job opportunity or an internship is just a click away?"
To put the proposal into practice, UNDP will work partners at the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering, at the newly established Social Innovation Hub. The new app will also benefit from the experience of a joint employment programme with the Government - that has helped more than 5,000 people find secure employment by creating their own small businesses or formalizing existing ones.
Development of the app has gained the attention of UNDP’s national partners in the struggle to tackle youth unemployment, especially the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the National Employment Agency —all of them keenly anticipating its success.
The UNDP office in Skopje is embracing social innovation for development. In addition to setting up the social innovation hub, the office is testing new ideas including a disaster app and a phone line for citizens to provide feedback to local governments.