How Africa Uses Mobile Phones

If youíre using a mobile phone in Africa youíre likely paying for credit as you go, whenever you need the data or call time. Pay as you go credit is by far the most popular option for the majority of people across Africa, but mobile contracts are beginning to get a toehold in some places: mostly the larger cities, where leading smartphone handsets are starting to become available but are beyond the reach of the majority of people without structuring the payment through a contract.

In South Africa, the mobile contract market is still finding its level: while itís cheaper overall to get onto a contract, the savings seem to be disproportionate to those paying as they go.

One writer noted that the data market in particular is very regressive in South Africa. As the country has some of the expensive prices for data in the world, people who can afford a contract get a much better price for their data over time than people who buy it only when they need it. Itís effectively more expensive to be poor.

As the majority of people in South Africa are still on pay as you go packages, rather than contracts, theyíre at a profound disadvantage: not using one is hardly an option as so many vital services are available via mobile, including mobile banking, and health guidance and weather advice. The main problem here is that these services are disproportionately needed by poorer people in more rural parts of the country. Those in cities have access to physical banks, doctorsí surgeries and as a rule their jobs are less dependent on the weather.

Isolated rural communities have been increasingly revolutionised by their access to internet services, with mobile banking getting many people into the banking system for the first time which is much more secure than their previous need to keep physical money in their house or on their person.

While thereís clearly a large market for a contract that serves the needs of these people, a side effect of the pay as you go model is that it allows friends and family have migrated as members of the African diaspora to send credit home using international mobile top up services. This is a vital and popular way for people living abroad to make important contributions to the lives of the people they have left back home, and for now itís not going anywhere.

How to Qualify as a Social Worker

Whether youíre doing your GCSEs or A Levels and thinking about your future, or feeling trapped in a stale career and looking for a change, you may want to look into social care jobs.

The Social Work sector is a chance to work with people who really need you, and go home at the end of the day knowing youíve made a real difference to the world. In our increasingly digital economy, being able to see the results of your work so clearly is rare and precious.

If youíre interested in Social Work, youíll need to qualify first: social workers need to complete a course approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Many universities offer such courses, so youíll need to pick the one that feels right to you.

Picking a university isnít always easy: itís more complicated than looking at the league tables to find which ones provide the best results. Youíre going to be at this institution for three or four years so you need to feel comfortable and at home there. This will govern whether you pick a quiet, studious university or one with a reputation for an exciting nightlife. If you prefer the diversity of a big city you might want to study in London, but if you feel this would provide a distraction from your studies or simply arenít at home in big anonymous cities, a more enclosed, Ďcampusí university on the fringe of a small town will suit you better.

The social work degree will include classroom training on techniques, and the law governing social interventions, as well as hands on experience and work placements, giving you a clearer idea of what social work is like.

If you want to boost your chances of being accepted onto your favoured course and stand out later in job interviews, itís worth looking into volunteering before you study. Charities offer aspiring social workers the chance to help out in their local communities. This could also help you decide if social work is really for you Ė as the realities can be different to your ambitions when you first begin training.

If you already have a degree you may instead be able take a masters or conversion course to help you being your career more quickly Ė Skills for Care is the industry body that can help to advise you on your best route into the profession.

Now is an exciting time to enter social care, with new approaches revolutionising the field, and helping to create new opportunities for everyone.