Talanta Hela website and app are a mega flop: CS Ababu reacts
The Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs and Sports, Ababu Namwamba, remains resolute in asserting that the Talanta Hela website and app are fully operational, contrary to the experiences reported by users in recent months.
Talanta Hela, an initiative under the Kenya Kwanza government led by President William Ruto, aims to identify, recruit, nurture, and monetize talents in both the sports and creative industries.
However, the program, designed as a comprehensive platform connecting individuals to various opportunities, including training programs, sponsorships, mentorship, and collaborative possibilities, has faced technical challenges.
Nairobi News investigation uncovered significant issues with the Talanta Hela app, which was released in February 2023 and is available for download on the Google Play store.
Unfortunately, users encounter problems during the OTP verification process, rendering the app unusable.
This, in turn, prevents individuals seeking scouting services and opportunities in the entertainment industry from uploading content or registering for services. Despite being downloaded over 100 times, the app’s functionality remains compromised.
A search on the Apple Store for Talanta Hela on iOS yields no results, indicating an absence of the app on this platform.
Simultaneously, attempts to access the official website, www.talantahela.org, prove futile, with only a white blank page displayed. Even when you refresh the browser repeatedly.
Compounding the situation is the existence of another app, released in August 2023 under the same name.
This alternative app, available on the Google store, operates independently from the official version and raises concerns as it collects user data through a Google form titled “waitlist.”
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Notably, it fails to comply with data collection laws and heavily monetises its interface, bombarding users with advertisements upon every click. Surprisingly, this unofficial app has garnered more popularity, boasting over 1000 downloads.
The app, attributed to a company named Brinx Tech, was last updated on September 10, 2023.
Ownership details remain unclear.
However, it outshines the official Talanta Hela app in providing valuable information to youth seeking employment.
A unique feature includes a tab displaying the latest job links from various websites, suggesting that it may have employed an algorithm to scrape the web for internship and entry-level job opportunities tailored to the Talanta Hela demographic.
In contrast to the multiple versions of the official Talanta Hela app, the unofficial version remains at version 1.0.
This raises questions about the legitimacy and effectiveness of the officially endorsed app, especially when compared to the unofficial alternative’s apparent success in delivering pertinent information to its users.
Despite these glitches, CS Namwamba insists that both the app and website are fully functional.
“The app is up, operational on the Google App Store, and you can download it. There was a little challenge on Apple products that had to do with the registration of a website, and that has already been sorted out,” he told Nairobi News.
Namwamba emphasised the functionality of the digital screening hub at the Kenya Academy of Sports in Kasarani, stating, “So it is all systems go.”
This is not the first time the CS has faced criticism over Talanta Hela. In August, Uasin Gishu Woman Representative and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Gladys Shollei raised concerns about the unavailability of the Talanta Hela app despite its launch by President Ruto in June.
At that time, Namwamba clarified that the system had been launched, but challenges in completing the screening room caused delays.
“The Talanta Hela system exists only that it has not been activated,” he explained. According to Namwamba, the screening center faced procurement delays, and it was expected to be completed on September 4, 2023.
“The reason I need to clarify this is because at the moment you activate it, you will start sending content that will not have a destination,” he added.
He reiterated that the Talanta Hela initiative has been digitised, with the launch of an application aimed at simplifying the process of scouting, nurturing, and monetizing the skills of creatives.