Challenges in rural communication taken up by Amy Kebe

20 June 2023
ITC News

For Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises Day 2023, we celebrate small entrepreneurs from all over the world. Small businesses account for 90% of the world's businesses, 60 to 70% of employment, and 50% of the global economy. They contribute to local and national economies and to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Please introduce yourself

My degrees are in finance and accounting and in adult education and training. With that background and my experience in communications, I've developed my skills in budgetary and financial management, as well as in setting up training programs for adults using new technologies.

I’m ambitious and passionate, and I believe that ICT can impact the lives of communities and transcend economic and social constraints. I also strongly believe in investing in human capital, both of which are critical to a country's development.

Tell us about your company

I set up a social enterprise in 2016, Jokalante, which means ‘facilitating exchange and dialogue’ in Wolof. Operating in Senegal and the Gambia, Jokalante offers our customers advice and digital solutions to improve their products and services, their behaviour in the face of climate change, health, education, and facilitate access to finance.

Our Jokalante platform particularly targets the rural world, given the many challenges to communication in rural areas, such as low literacy levels and poor media reach. Jokalante offers interactive services, such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, telephone surveys, and radio programmes in local languages. We organize unique campaigns for our customers, whether on the radio or on cell phones, whatever the area, type of phone, language or telephone operator.

Through information, education and communication campaigns, Jokalante effected positive behaviour change through community radios and simple mobile devices. This directly impacted the lives of more than 30,000 small producers, and indirectly benefitted more than one million people through the adoption of agricultural technologies. These technologies work at any economic level, giving better production that guarantees food security.

Jokalante has also recently included in its flagship activities the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs in rural areas, enabling them to develop their activities more effectively and gain better access to credit.

What message do you have for other entrepreneurs?

I'd advise them to be passionate about what they do, to be disciplined and committed, and to develop a good mindset with a lot of self-sacrifice and resilience.

It's important to have a clear vision with long-term objectives, but also to be flexible enough to act in response to changing circumstances.

It's also essential to surround yourself with a good network of partners and a competent, proactive team, taking care to give them room to maneuver in terms of taking the initiative.