Allan van de Meulen
Who can benefit from this study?
Civic Tech initiatives
Organisation responsible for case study:
Zlto – A platform that rewards community work
Main Project Location: Cape Town
Project country/countries: South Africa
Project dates: –
Last updated: 23 March 2022
Brief overview of the Case Study
Zlto is a platform that uses blockchain technology to increase engagement amongst youth. It tracks positive behaviour via live dashboards and encourages certain behaviour through an innovative rewards system. Zlto rewards youth for doing good and making a difference. These include community and personal development; attending skills training programmes; as well as health and well-being. These Zlto rewards can then be redeemed at a variety of outlets providing toiletries, food, transportation, grooming, health and wellness, consumer goods, clothing, and education.
The challenge or problem
South Africa has the world’s highest recorded youth unemployment rate. This means many young people are unable to access job opportunities due to a lack of financial resources and the necessary work experience.
The solution that was implemented
Zlto is a web-based digital rewards platform that incentivizes young people to gain work experience by volunteering in the community. Users build a digital resume by uploading completed work assignments, showing both their impact on the project and the skills they gained while completing the task. For each project, they also earn Zlto, a digital currency that can be spent on a range of items, like food, clothing, mobile data, and transportation, thanks to collaborations with national retail partners. Users can access Zlto through devices with limited capabilities and with limited data and connections.
By helping the unemployed build this CV through their participation in community service activities and training programmes, Zlto is helping them develop their marketable skills.
The platform is accessible online and via a Zlto Android application found on the Google Play Store. It works with selected retailers who allow Zlto users to make purchases using their virtual wallets.
What results were achieved?
The idea came when RLabs was trying to encourage young people to participate in community work through one of their youth programmes. "We realised that although we have a shortage of jobs in our country, that there is no shortage of work that can be done at a community level. We therefore wanted to encourage young people to focus on the work that they can do by volunteering. Whether by helping their neighbours or assisting schools or NGOs or small businesses where they not only are able to create value for others but can leverage the work as experience when applying for jobs.
In 2018, Zlto won the Google Impact Challenge, securing USD 250, 000 in funding and have recently started working with Chrome engineers to streamline their app.
Zlto is having a notable impact in the Cape Town Flats, securing permanent work for more than 2,300 young people in the last 12 months; there are 36,000 volunteers working with more than 1.2 million people in the community.
Zlto is now operating in other 3 countries, United Kingdom, Tanzania, and Nigeria.
Case study images