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How the internet has improved access to government services

digify africa, lesedi, digital life skills, learn on whatsapp

The process of registering for a new driver’s license or identity document is one that has historically been time-consuming and inconvenient. Queuing for hours, manually filling in paperwork, and getting documents stamped at police stations has become a tedious reminder of how administration needs to be improved.

This reality is brought home when one looks at how tax revenue services and private businesses like banks allow citizens and customers smoother ways to complete essential tasks.

The need for digital transformation in peri-urban and remote areas across South Africa is undeniable, especially when considering the process of receiving social grants, registering a company, and applying for schools. When the national vaccine roll-out became a priority for South Africa in 2021, the government turned to technology in a bid to give 40 million citizens access to healthcare services, regardless of the community’s infrastructure.

A website portal, SMSes, a WhatsApp line, a hotline to call, tweets, posts, TV and radio ads – every platform was used to let the nation know when they were in the age range to register, what the potential side effects may be, and which clinic, hospital or pharmacy to go to get their Covid-19 vaccine.

And South Afriac is just one example of a country where a governments had to quickly ramp up to use every tool available on the internet to save its citizens.

It has since become clear that the online technology needed to make citizens’ lives easier does exist; that putting the adequate ICT structure in place is not just possible but necessary for the country to move forward economically; and that behavioural change on a country-wide scale is conceivable.

The question then becomes, how can these lessons be applied to other government departments across Africa?

At Digify Africa, we help bridge the gap between people’s need for digital literacy skills and the services that we all need to live healthy, sustainable lives. One of the educational chatbots we have developed is Lesedi, which shares digital life skills with people across Africa.

“E-learning has always been available in the Western and Northern hemisphere because so many people have good internet access and computers, and I don’t think a lot of young people on this continuent have had the same access to that kind of learning,” says Digify Africa CEO, Gavin Weale. “That’s why we’re so excited about WhatsApp and chatbots generally when we talk about learning. We’re removing the barriers to entry for education.”

Available for free on WhatsApp, Lesedi uses minimal data to teach users how to search for government services, apply online for an identity document or drivers’ license, register for school, apply for a social grant, and even sign up to get their Covid-19 vaccine.

Packed with interactive quizzes, engaging graphics, and audio content, Lesedi students are captivated throughout their journey, as they learn:

  1. How to Become A Digital Citizen
  2. Your Digital Toolkit
  3. Online Safety
  4. How To Make Decisions Online
  5. Create Opportunities Online
  6. Access Services Online
  7. Access Work/Learning Opportunities
  8. Laws That Protect
  9. Tools for the Future of Work
  10. Job Readiness

How can you start learning essential digital life skills? Just say hi to Lesedi, our free WhatsApp bot that will aid you with valuable skills for your future!