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Samasource: empowering through digital work

Samasource's mission is to alleviate worldwide poverty by connecting unemployed women & youth in impoverished countries to digital work.

Photo of Nupur
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Samasource is an organization that breaks down large projects into "microwork" and that can be performed by anyone with basic computer skills. The two direct benefits is that the financial benefit and then enhancing learning experiences and gaining new skills.

The prefix “Sama” in the title of the organization and that of its proprietary products, services, and programs is aSanskrit word, meaning “equal”.

To breakdown this model:

1) Samasource's proprietary technology platform, the SamaHub, breaks down complex data projects from large companies into small tasks that can be completed by women and youth in developing countries with basic English skills after a few weeks of training at delivery centers with which Samasource partners.

2) These delivery centers are required to follow Samasource’s social impact guidelines, which include reinvesting at least 40% of revenue in training, salaries, and community programs, and hiring workers who were previously earning less than the local poverty line.

3) Samasource and in-country partners collaborate on the recruiting process, which targets women and youth without formal work experience who are earning below a local living wage.

4) The Samahub technology features a five-step quality assurance mechanism that continually gauges the success of each individual worker. Workers are not, however, in direct competition with one another as they are incrowdsourcing models

Current companies working with Samasource are  Google, eBay, Autodesk, Linkedin, Microsoft, Walmart Labs, Stanford University, Rocketfuel, Qualcomm, NVidia and many more.


I think if we focus on the Samahub part of this model where we can leverage such training camps to develop basic skills, then it creates a learning opportunity and a learning sustainability model for the community (also creates new kind of workforce). 


Source: samasource.org, wikipedia artcile on Samasource

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Photo of Shane Zhao

Thanks for sharing the Samasource model Nupur! I'm particularly drawn to the model of breaking down large projects into "microwork." In the context of this challenge, it's helpful to think about how digital inspirations can still work without access to the web or computer technologies. ie. can we take a problem that doesn't require computer skills and turn it into bite sized learning opportunities for refugees in camps? Looking forward to what thoughts this post might spark!

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Photo of Karolle Rabarison

Thanks for sharing our work at Samasource, Nupur! We had a center in a refugee community—Dadaab, in northern Kenya—several years ago. You can read a bit about it in this BBC article, linked below. We also currently offer digital skills training through a program called Samaschool (samaschool.org). It started in the US, and now we're piloting classes in Kenya and online. Samaschool is all about giving access to technology, providing skills training, then connecting people to online work.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13784487

Shane – I hear you re: thinking about adapting these models to a situation where computer access isn't possible. Not coming up with a specific problem as an example offhand right now, but wanted to say I really love the different maker kits that are popping up everywhere. They give students a chance to learn via tinkering and building their own things, without investing in expensive hardware. Have you heard of littleBits, for example?

http://littlebits.cc/

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Photo of Shane Zhao

Thanks for the link to littlebits Karolle! I love the idea of building on the momentum of maker kits to expand learning opportunities in areas with scarce resources. This reminded me of a recent post about the potential of raspberry phi: https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/research/the-solarberry

Emergent technologies and applications will play an important role in this challenge. We just have to figure out how they can adapt to the contexts of refugees around the world - like you had said:) Would love to hear more about what your team is working on at Samasource.

And ps. Welcome back to another challenge. Glad to have a Community Champion on board!