Getting more Nigerian Women into Digital Jobs

In this blog, our HCD reporter, Ms. Anais Simpenzwe from Rwanda,  interviewed Mr. Martins Iyekekpolor from Nigeria about a client case he did on getting more women into digital jobs in Nigeria.

The Challenge

Despite the evident potential of the digital economy to boost job growth and reduce the unemployment rate in Nigeria, it is yet to become a significant contributor to creating new jobs – especially for young women. The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE) is addressing this issue, and invests in numerous African companies who generate jobs for youth. Five companies in Nigeria are doing really well in generating digital jobs, but they all face challenges in attracting women to apply. 

CFYE contracted Proportion Global to investigate the root causes of this challenge and to support the 5 companies in generating innovative solutions to it. Proportion ran a research and design sprint to determine the best ways to attract and recruit young women with the right background and have them commit to the programs. Together, the design team and the clients asked the design challenge:

The research

Four Nigerian human-centered design experts of Proportion conducted field research for two consecutive weeks. Primarily empathising with young women and their key influences (like their spouses). This resulted in a better understanding of their life experiences, motivations, barriers, influences as well as expectations. The research report included key user profiles and empathy maps to understand how candidates felt, thought, said, and heard were generated to further understand the problem after receiving insights from the discussions. Secondly, the researchers validated how users respond to the various phases of the user journey; varying from feedback on the recruitment campaign, the onboarding process, on-the-job training and job placement experience. This gave clear insights for each companies on what users see as the key pain points when engaging with these companies. 

Key insights from research

  • Company #1Assignments are overwhelming, it would be useful to have daily task rather than bulk bi-weekly tasks. The scholarship or financial aids are not clear from the beginning of the process. This translated into the design challenge: How might we improve the learning experience to be more flexible?”
  • Company #2: Some programmes deviate from career interest or path of participants. Participants drop out due to the technicality of the work demands and undue toll to health. This translated into the design challenge: “How might we attract and recruit the best candidates by better managing their expectations?”
  • Company #3: Due to being unemployed the young women can not afford the cost of acquiring digital skills, which makes it difficult for them to qualify for digital jobs. This translated into the design challenge: How might we design better payment plans to encourage young women to apply for the training?”
  • Company #4: Young women in rural provinces across Nigeria have heard about us but they seek more information but headquarters in Lagos feels too distant. This translated into the design challenge: How might we ensure that regional outlet managers know what that they need to know?”
  • Company #5: Prospective mobile banking agents want to easily access a rep to get more program details. The benefits seems too good to be true. Banking agents must trust us first in order to provide required sensitive personal information. This translated into the design challenge: How might we improve messaging for better program awareness and trust amongst agents?”.

Design sprint

In just five days, the five companies developed ideas to resolve their company-specific design challenges. The design sprint program was conducted at a large venue in Lagos, where all five company teams were actively working on their own solutions, while also learning and exchanging between company teams. 

  • Day 1: Digesting the research insights and articulating the key design challenge to be solved
  • Day 2: Searching for inspirational case studies, followed by generating own ideas
  • Day 3: Turning most promising ideas into a more elaborate concept through storyboarding and role playing
  • Day 4: Building a tangible prototype
  • Day 5: Testing the prototype with 5 users, reflecting on the user feedback and the initial design challenge that was articulated on day 1. The teams closed off with capturing all conclusions and learnings in company-specific pitch decks.


At the end of the design sprint, we were proud on the 5 teams having created very diverse solutions to the overall design challenge: “how might we get more women into digital jobs?”

  • Company #1 designed a digital app prototype that would allow women to pick their own preferred mentor and schedule mentoring sessions at times that they could manage that in between other household tasks. 
  • Company #2 designed videos from current female employees who tell about a typical working day and showing on screen what type of digital tasks they need to complete, in order to manage the expectations before people apply.  
  • Company #3 designed a discounted peer payment plan whereby young female applicants would get discount if they apply with 2 or 3 women at once. This not only provides discount but also a peer learning experience to motivate each other.    
  • Company #4 designed a digital app prototype for their regional outlet managers which provided access to frequently asked questions from applicants and customers, as well as a direct chat function with senior staff at head quarters, empowering them to give better responses to young women in their community. 
  • Company #5 designed customised flyers in various local languages, making local applicants feel more heard and understood, resulting in a higher level of trust to engage with the company.

This project was commissioned by Proportion Global. If you’ve enjoyed reading this case and want to dive deeper, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out to us to discuss ideas, ask questions, or explore collaboration. Let’s turn curiosity into action together. Contact Us


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