Doing Good by Bridging Digital Work Divides

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Jon Gosier
Leila Chiriyath (Samasource) visiting a digital centre supported by her organisation.

Technology has definitely changed the way our world works. Recognising the growing digital divide between the developing and developed world, some smart thinkers have created innovative solutions with tangible impact that bridge this gap.

Author Louisa Wong -, 07.31.15

Technology has definitely changed the way our world works. Recognising the growing digital divide between the developing and developed world, some smart thinkers have created innovative solutions with tangible impact that bridge this gap.

In developing countries, there are many underprivileged youth and young women who want to continue their studies but they don’t have get the chance to pursue their dreams.

In China and India, there is rising joblessness among new university graduates, with the number of youth finishing their university degrees increasing from a few hundred thousand annually to many millions. Very often, these young people need on-the-job training or some sort of apprenticeship to give them an edge in the job market however there aren’t many jobs to absorb these crowds of educated youth. In this digital-based world, there is a need in the market for skilled workforce equipped with the capability of processing digital data or finding customised solutions to help manage companies’ heavy volume of data in a quality manner.

Samasource has a mission to alleviate global poverty by connecting unemployed people globally in the developing countries to work on complex digital work. Its work-processing model Microwork can breakdown complex and large scale data-processing projects into small scale, easily managed tasks that can be done by its trained young workforce for tasks such as content creation, digital transcription or various kinds of data services. These tasks are then distributed via their technology platform, the SamaHUB. After years of well-run modelling, its major customers are LinkedIn, Walmart, ebay, Tripadvisor, AOL and Google.

“We give computer-based work to women and youth in areas where technology is unfamiliar and where traditional gender roles prevent women from pursuing careers.” – from Samasource website

Samasource also works with local partners to recruit underprivileged youths and young women and provide a few weeks of basic digital IT or data processing training to them; once they demonstrate proficiency in their work, they can work on clients’ projects and earn a living to improve their livelihoods. All workers are paid fair wages in accordance with international labour standards.

In its impact statements, Samasource claims that it has employed close to 6800 workers worldwide, and has transformed more than 28,000 lives. On average, it has helped incoming workers to increase their wages by 114 percent after 6-months of employment, and 89 percent of its workers pursue alternative and additional ways of formal employment and/or education after working for Samasource.

With growing business and trust between its clients and workers, Samasource has demonstrated successfully the way to bridge this digital gap between skilled young people who offer willingness and effort, and clients who offer job opportunities.

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