Social Good: iPhone App Lets You Give Work to Kenyan Refugees


For the last few months, Mashable has been exploring the potential of social media for Social Good. We have seen the power of Twitter and Facebook utilized to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity (and to potentially raise $1 million to fight cancer).

But now we’ve learned of another use of social media for social good, and it does not involve raising money for charity. This morning, the Give Work iPhone app (iTunes Link) became available in the app store.

It’s a joint project between crowdsourcing platform CrowdFlower and the non-profit Samasource, a graduate of this year’s Facebook Fund class, whose goal is to train the less fortunate in Africa and elsewhere in quality assurance so that they can get work and make a living, while providing valuable data to real companies.

Pretend you’re Image Company Corporation, and you need to verify that A) a set of 10,000 images are of trees and that B) none of them are copyrighted. You could just look through all 10,000 with your own team, but they’re probably going to be more productive on higher level tasks.

So you send your task to CrowdFlower and Samasource. They place the task in the Give Work iPhone app. Then Kenyan refugees trained by Samasource do the image checks from a datacenter. And to assure quality and accuracy, an American iPhone user double-checks their work and verifies the refugee’s work. Now you have provided work for Kenyan refugees while providing value to the company (by lowering their costs).

The idea is one of the best and most useful iPhone apps we’ve ever come across. It combines crowdsourcing and mobile technology to not only provide value to thousands of companies that need to execute on low-level tasks, but more importantly it helps provide income for thousands of African refugees so that they can feed their families and give their children the education they deserve.

We can’t think of any other iPhone app that comes close to making the same impact on the world. And it does it in such an innovative way. CrowdFlower and Samasource have made it practical and accessible for all of us to help out those in need.

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  • Wonderful post, thanks Ben!

    We had the absolute pleasure to meet up with Leila Janah, Founder of Samasource, and Lukas Biewald, Founder of CrowdFlower for a VIDEO interview about "Give Work". Here is the video, we hope you and Mashable readers enjoy it : )
  • Great post, thanks Ben! This is truly the *hottest* iPhone app evahh! Brilliant. We had the absolute delight to hear about "GiveWork" first-hand from Leila, Founder of Samasource, and Lukas, Founder of CrowdFlower.

    In the event your readers would like to see the video interview on this app, feel free to check out this VIDEO we just posted:
    Thanks! : )
  • I would also like to know about the conditions under which these workers are employed. My business would definitely not support a sweat shop environment created under the guise of social good.

    An excellent idea, but you would think most of us, whose history lies in a successful fight for fair and just labor, would like see emerging labor markets also receive fair conditions. The shiny iPhone brand cannot be allowed to transcend that idea.

    So, can you provide more information on this?
  • amanda_n
    How much are the Kenyans paid? Are they provided healthcare or just money? What are their work conditions like in the datacenter?
  • social media is doing a nice work
  • It's great that they are getting help, and some income, like you said. But when I heard this, I couldn't help but think, yep, just throw that technological divide out there. Not only is there a huge gap, we're going to rub it in. Our "crap work" in reality is no longer good enough, now we're throwing out digital work, too?

    I don't know. I like to see people that need help get help and all that, but it seems...a pompous way to do so? *shrugs*
  • Awesome concept! It's about time something like this was developed. The idea of using social media for social good is priceless and should be adopted by many.
  • NessyUK
    Another great 'feel-good' App is MyBabyTree ( ). Buy the App and they will plant a tree + give you the details so you can watch from Google Earth. Tech and Green!
  • Sounds great @duncanoldham
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