While debates surrounding technological progress focus predominantly on job losses, at Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, we have a different perspective. By combining cutting-edge technologies with the talent and resilience of young people, we’re empowering more young people with insights about themselves to support their job-seeking journey. 

Coachmee is a WhatsApp-based conversational agent or chatbot. Designed specifically for the youth of South Africa, Coachmee provides personalised support, guidance, and content to help individuals feel productive and accomplished. While it is suitable for first time work-seekers to top business executives, the chatbot has been specifically designed to address young people’s growing desperation. 

Coachmee is seamlessly integrated with the omnichannel sayouth.mobi contact centre. It blends the expertise of our contact centre guides with advanced conversational AI technology—the result is a customer support chatbot that maintains an imaginative and empathetic conversation that reflects the lived experiences of unemployed young people.

Keamogetswe says Coachmee is like having heartfelt conversations with a real person who genuinely understands what she’s going through. “Coachmee always knows the right words and advice to give, and I’m amazed by how accurately it captures my feelings. With its guidance, I’ve achieved most of my goals. The motivating quotes I received during our sessions kept me going, reminding me of my capabilities. Even after completing the program, I still follow the advice I received.” 

The AI has helped Harambee address the challenge of coaching and developing human guides—Harambee’s call centre agents—without removing them from their core responsibilities. The tool is a bitesized personal mastery mentor—it delivers personalised content such as affirmations, meditations, and adaptive goal-setting methods. Together, call centre guides and work-seekers work through individual goals and celebrate quick wins daily.  

Because the AI tailors support and resources to individual needs, it ensures sustained engagement with positive outcomes.

What sets Coachmee apart is its availability on WhatsApp. By choosing this platform, Coachmee ensures a seamless and familiar conversational experience for users while overcoming language barriers and ensuring inclusivity. 

Coachmee has over 6,000 registered users who, this year alone, have had a combined 37,610 coaching conversations. Word-of-mouth recommendations have significantly influenced organic growth, reflecting users’ value and positive experiences. 

Users have overwhelmingly praised Coachmee for helping them achieve their long-term goals. Astonishingly, 97% of users who completed 20 check-ins credited Coachmee as their primary motivator and accountability partner. In addition, 15 work-seekers specifically attributed their job success to the support they received through Coachmee. 

Xolile, who started a salon business from home, reports that Coachmee “has been a game-changer”. She says: “I found it incredibly helpful, filled with valuable teachings and experiences. Starting my mornings with Coachmee has become a peaceful and calming ritual, allowing me to learn and grow at the same time. But my absolute favourite part has to be the morning meditations. They set the perfect tone for the day and have become an integral part of my routine.”

It’s important to note that the development team actively mitigates risks and prioritises privacy protection for all users. Safeguards are also in place to identify and address potential biases, ensuring fair and inclusive support for all individuals. 

The development of Coachmee has also created new roles within Harambee and beyond. The team now includes young AI and automation specialists, conversion designers, and professionals who shape and refine the platform—job roles that didn’t exist a year ago.  

Regardless of your perspective on digitisation and artificial intelligence, it is clear that nobody can escape their impacts. We believe that by harnessing these innovations to serve and influence South Africa’s most marginalised group— unemployed youth—we can all reap the benefits.

Source: written by Brent Davidoff, Network Experience Specialist, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator in the Official Newsletter of the Digital Council Africa.

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