October 13, 2009

An app to support refugees working in Africa

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CrowdFlower & Samasource tap the cloud to fight poverty

JD LasicaA new free iPhone application, Give Work, released today lets iPhone users use their phones to provide work to refugees in Africa.

The project, a collaboration of Samasource and Crowdflower, lets you support refugees working in a datacenter in Dadaab, Kenya — the world’s largest refugee site — through “micro-donations” of time, time, not money. (We wrote about The Extraordinaries pioneering the micro-volunteering movement yesterday.)

Samasource’s Refugee Work Program trains refugees in technology-based skills and then puts those skills to use by connecting the trained refugees to stable, dignified work. CrowdFlower built the Give Work iPhone app, based on its crowdsourcing technology, to enable users to directly provide meaningful, paying work to refugees in the Samasource program.

“Working with CrowdFlower and iPhone users, the refugees we train in Kenya develop portable work skills and receive higher wages,” Leila Chirayath Janah, founder of Samasource, said in a news release announcing the project. “By training women, youth and refugees to complete paying remote tasks, we give them the ability to build livelihoods and become part of the digital economy.”

A range of tasks

The idea behind Give Work is to list a host of quick and easy tasks to be completed by the app users. Each task is real work for a real company. Tasks may include creating keywords for images or video clips to make them more searchable in a database, classifying text or finding points of interest online or in the real-world for numerous questions.

The app will let iPhone users directly help refugees in Africa get computer-based work experience and a paycheck through crowdsourced labor. Each task a refugee completes is given to an app user to verify — and the refugee gets paid for the work. The project’s managers laid out this scenario:

  • A company in the Midwest needs online images checked for copyright issues so submits the job to CrowdFlower.
  • A refugee in a Kenyan datacenter checks pictures for copyrights.
  • An American iPhone user gives some of his or her time checking the same pictures to verify the refugee’s work.

All of this happens in a matter of minutes: The company gets quality work results, the iPhone user has fun and kills time while helping the world, and a refugee who was disenfranchised and unable to work is suddenly earning income, said the project organizers.

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JD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 UnportedThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.

One thought on “An app to support refugees working in Africa

  1. Hi JD, great post! : ) Here's a video for your reference as well. In this video interview Leila of Samasource and Lukas of CrowdFlower explain more about their partnership and how this cool iPhone "Give Work" app works. Hope you & readers enjoy it : ) http://bit.ly/2uHtOm Thanks!