The app that UJ developed to run the survey was one of the university’s most advanced apps at the time. It made use of real time geolocation and monitoring technology to track fieldworkers’ movements and to assess their proximity to respondents. “This limited the chance of any errors or discrepancies,” explains Nickey, “and meant that we were able to gather authentic, reliable and dynamic data.”
The project’s key focus, however, was upskilling and empowering unemployed youth who were trained to use the technology UJ had developed and were provided with valuable on-the-job experience. They were also allowed to keep their devices if they completed the project.
“This kind of access to information can be life changing for people from poorer communities,” says Banele. “It can be the very thing that helps them find permanent employment.”
Although he initially joined the project as a fieldworker, Banele’s journey took a unique course. After just two weeks in the field, Banele became a facilitator and, later, a quality and distribution agent, an assistant in both logistics planning and map population, and a supervisor.
His roles required a sharp, technical mind and the ability to improvise. Banele fit the bill.