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August 12, 2021

Stories of our HITers : Raymonde from Benin

August 12, 2021

Stories of our HITers : Raymonde from Benin

At isahit, we are convinced that it is by giving access to work and a decent income to vulnerable populations that we will be able to adress major global challenges and reducepoverty and inequality.

Stories of our HITers : Raymonde from Benin

This is why we offer women from socio-economically disadvantaged countries the opportunity to work and improve their digital skills on our platform.

These women, whom we call HITers (HIT = human intelligence tasks) are looking for additional income to finance their studies or an entrepreneurial project. Since the creation of isahit, we have supported more than 1700 women.

Today we have the pleasure to share with you the testimony of Raymonde, HITer at isahit for more than two years.

Hello Raymonde, I am very happy to talk to you today! Thank you for taking the time to share your experience at isahit.

My pleasure !

First of all, could you introduce yourself?

My name is Raymonde Kplaï, I am 27 years old and I am an audiovisual technician, specialised in digital communication. I joined isahit in February 2019 as a HITer.

In which city do you live?

I live in Parakou, Benin, in West Africa.

Why did you want to join isahit?

Here in Benin, it is very difficult to find work after studying; we are only offered internships or volunteer work. I used to give courses in Photoshop training centres and did voluntary work, but it was very difficult to make ends meet financially. I wanted to be a freelancer, but in this context it was impossible to hope to get started.

So I was looking for solutions to support my daily personal and professional needs, when a friend of mine introduced me to a platform where we could offer our skills in exchange for income, called isahit. My friend encouraged me to apply; I signed up, was accepted and so began this beautiful experience.

Did this additional income enable you to do this? What did you finance with it?

As I said, I wanted to start a freelance business in my field and I needed to be able to offer graphic design, web writing (etc...), À At that time I had a computer in bad shape that was really complicated to work with.

So in the short term, I needed to buy computer equipment to develop my freelance activity and then to set up my digital communication business. Which I managed to do (Smile).

What were the missions you performed for isahit?

I worked on about twenty different projects and in different sectors. Some of them were related to my professional project, like the image processing projects for example. These projects allowed me to further improve my mastery of the software I teach, Photoshop. There were also web writing projects that allowed me to gauge my level, which was useful for selling my freelance services to new clients.

There were also projects where I had no notion in the field, for example invoice projects where I had to learn certain terms like VAT EXCL. ... I also worked on projects that allowed me to discover France and certain cities. There were a lot of different projects that allowed me to get to know a lot of things, to improve my computer skills, my speed and my perseverance.

At times it wasn't easy, especially at the start of a project when I could be discouraged, but I stuck with it and in the end each project taught me something!

Isahit has not only provided me with an additional income but also a better grasp of digital tools, knowledge of different fields and, above all, this notion of perseverance.

Did you talk to people about these new activities?

So, I'd like to tell you an anecdote. As I said, it took me some perseverance when I started at isahit, I wasn't always very confident and I didn't talk about it much around me yet; I was waiting for it to be "real.

The day I received my first salary, I was so happy, so moved, it was total euphoria! I picked up my phone and wrote to all my friends who were in the same situation as me, i.e. with a degree but no job, no opportunities and I wrote to them, "the time has come! There is an opportunity that will get us out of this!"

Çt was not always easy to convince them, to start at isahit you need an internet connection and a computer. So I used my flat rate, I called them, I told them to come, I shared my connection because I seized the opportunity that it represented for us!

There are quite a few of us with diplomas in our pockets who can't do anything, we end up at home straight away, bored or selling things at the side of the road and this situation revolts me, shocks me! It's very important for me to see young women emancipate themselves and become financially independent, so my fight was to share my experience to reach as many women as possible.

When I succeed in convincing women around me and I see their lives improve after the first payment, I feel useful and that makes me very, very happy.

I can feel your emotion when I hear you!

Oh yes, I was so happy! (Laughs)

Is this method of working at a distance not common in Benin?

No, this is new! Working online like this until you get a payment is really new!

Isahit today has over 1200 HITers who, like you, work remotely on digital projects. Do you exchange with the rest of the community?

Yes, very much so. We have a Whatsapp and Facebook group with the HITers in my area. There are few HITers in the city where I am, most of them are in the capital in Porto-Novo, here we are about ten and I had the chance to meet them all.

We have created support groups, we exchange projects, give each other advice, motivate each other to keep the flame alive, and we talk about our respective lives too! I am often the oldest member so I always want to encourage them as much as possible. To start with isahit, you need to invest a minimum amount of time and money, especially with the internet package. So I often tell them "don't give up now because you will regret it, you have a lot to lose. You "invest" today 2, 3 months of internet package and then you gain in purchasing power, in skills. I am living proof that isahit brings a lot"!  There is also real support from the isahit teams, coaching from CSMs, online training from the Digital Academy which are of great help in understanding and implementing the various projects.

The Digital Academy is a support and training programme created by isahit for HITers to encourage their development within isahit but also outside, in the realisation of their personal and professional projects.  Today, there are almost 40 courses available online.

Isahit also donates 5% of its revenues to its programme Isahit HelpIsahit Help, which aims to support the most disadvantaged by  covering certain costs such as internet connection,entrepreneurial  statusand can also offer through its local Ambassadors a space to work in better conditions.

I hear you also give Photoshop classes to the rest of the community?

Yes, that's right!

À Originally I was working with Sarika (CSM at isahit) on a Photoshop related project and because of my experience, I was helping some HITers with their understanding of the tasks and mentoring them, I really liked that!

So when Cléa (community manager at isahit) offered me to do a training course, I was very happy! It was an opportunity for me to contribute to the Digital Academy and to leave my mark! To participate in a real virtuous circle!

In the training I explain the basics of the tool, how it works, I show them the interface, what the processes are for processing an image, the process of creating a visual for example...

This allows the girls to learn new skills, and to work on some of the platform's projects.

I also heard that your team won the intercultural games organised by isahit?

(Laughs) Yes, it was a game with the whole community, a quiz. There were questions on the respective countries of the community members, on digital, on the functioning of the platform... It was fun and interesting, I learnt a lot and above all... My group came out on top! (Laughter)

How far along is your project today?

I bought the necessary equipment for my activity: a computer and a camera that I use for occasional events.

I was also able to finance the administrative costs of setting up my business, which is now registered. The year 2020 was very difficult because of the pandemic, I found myself without the possibility of reporting, I had no clients, fortunately I could work online with isahit.

I also took the opportunity to reflect on my organisation, my way of doing things and I realised that I did not want to work alone and that I needed to be guided, supported and coached. So I joined an incubator in my region, which supports companies. Now I am part of their coaching programme and in return I offer them my communication services.

I also have an office to work in!

How do you see yourself after isahit?

I have four or five months left at isahit. After that, I'll still be in my incubator and in a year's time I'd like my company to be profitable and to have found a partner. In my region, digital communication is not valued at its true worth, here companies imagine that it is optional. So my aim is also to educate entrepreneurs and companies about the need to invest in this area.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just thank you! Special thanks to Ms Mashola for this initiative. With my friend Aicha Ayato who also works for isahit, we regularly ask ourselves the question "And if isahit did not exist, what would we be?" And we always answer "we can't even imagine!" Isahit is so many things at once... Aicha is a midwife and yet we both work with isahit. It's nice to see that it's possible to diversify your skills, your sources of income. I had a dream and isahit made it come true.

Thanks also to all the CSMs (Sarika, Séraphin), who in addition to being project managers are like brothers, big sisters, coaches for me and also to all the rest of the isahit team who work and who we don't see.

You can find other testimonies, in video or podcast format, on our Youtube channel.

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