Providing digital 'micro-work' and training for poor women and youth.
Organisation Twitter: @samasource
Mentor is a young Haitian man who has a job. This already makes him unusual: that his job requires him to use his skills with a computer is remarkable.
Samasource specialises in working with people like Mentor. Founded in 2008, it is a successful social enterprise which has provided data services to Eventbrite, eBay, Panasonic, Stanford University and many others: services which are performed, often broken down into micro-tasks, by people in developing countries who might otherwise be excluded from skilled employment.
Describing their model as “impact sourcing”, Samasource currently works in Haiti, Kenya, India and Uganda, often partnering with local education and training organisations, focusing on areas of high unemployment and deprivation. They aim to “transform the lives of poor women and youth” through providing them with certified training and work opportunities which bring them to the digital table. According to their figures, the company has provided 3,700 women and young people with work paying a total of approximately $3 million in wages.
2013 has seen the company applying their model to their own back yard: SamaUSA applies their proven approach to working in deprived communities in the US, beginning with Bayview, a poor district in Samasource's home city of San Francisco. Now expanding to other similar areas in California after a successful pilot, the domestic potential has been established and is on its way to being realised.
Other notable companies such as Digital Divide Data are working to make digitally skilled employment a realistic prospect for people from deprived and marginalised communities. Collectively, perhaps they can begin to encourage consumers to understand and value the supply chain which brings them their apps and services: a digital fair trade movement is perhaps long overdue.
Last updated: 09th of May, 2014