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January 13, 2017

Online jobs in Africa | Isahit, Ethical Data Labeling Platform for AI & Data Processing

January 13, 2017

The "jobbing" — the name of these tasks entrusted to Internet users and paid for by the act — was born in the United States about ten years ago. Isahit, a French start-up, has been trying for six months to replicate the model in Francophone Africa.

Housewives or young Stock exchange students charged, by computer interposers, with word processing, moderation or filing of invoices on behalf of companies wishing to outsource these tasks: it is the principle of "jobbing", born In 2008 in the head of an American, Leah Busque, who was looking for someone to buy the croquettes of her dog.

She then created Runmyerrand ("Do my Errands" in English), renamed from TaskRabbit, as the French daily Les Echos told it in 2014. In ten years the analogous models have swarmed: YoupiJob, Frizbiz, Jemepropose, IFastask, MonAbeille...

And for six months, Isahit Tries to replicate this model on the continent, starting with francophone Africa. They are two on the initiative of this company which aims to recruit about 10 000 "workers" in Senegal (Dakar), Ivory Coast (Abidjan), Burkina (Ouaga), Congo-Brazzaville (Pointe Noire) and Cameroon (Yaoundé), via incubators or Fablabs — These digital manufacturing labs.

They areIsabelle Mashola, former IT director at Cisco, the US server specialist, and Dell, the world-famous PC manufacturer, and her partner Philippe Coup-Jambet, a fintech (financial services innovation) specialist who has been involved in the creation of several digital start-ups.

Several hundred recruitments

For the time being, about twenty women are helping to carry out micro-tasks such as moderating content or comments on websites or tagging images in data banks. For example, in Cameroon, women who are going to work on the markets in the morning will then, in the afternoon, do the micro-tasks proposed on Isahit. In Senegal, students would not have had the means to pay for their education otherwise. In Togo, artisans, and in Burkina, a student who was unable to provide her third year of accounting studies. Several hundred others are to be recruited in the coming months.

"Isahit" — English word Game "is a hit" and "human intelligence task" — wants to cover everything that the machine cannot do. The term is also used by Amazon Mechanical Turk whose principle is quite similar. Except that the pay levels of Amazon's 500 000 "turkers" on its platform are strongly criticized — Half receive less than 7.25 dollars, the hourly minimum wage in the United States according to the site TechRépublic.

Amazon is "slavery", says Isabelle Mashola. In contrast, Isahit claims to be a "social entrepreneur" and voluntarily pays above market prices. Isahit targets disadvantaged people and wants to contribute to poverty reduction. The site therefore pays $20 a day for seven hours of work, well above the $2 a day of the world's two billion poorest people.

"Our model is to restore dignity to these disadvantaged people"

"We have a direct and privileged contact with the 'hiteuses'. We support them by lending them a tablet if they need it, by offering them a place to connect to the Internet, by helping them find the right self-employed status, by supporting them in their banking and soon we will be setting up digital training courses to help them improve their skills", explains Isabelle Mashola.

Of the CAC40 groups concerned

The latter evacuates the dumped or precariate trial that can be regularly made to the "jobbing" platforms: "with equivalent task, we pay much more our ' hiteuses ' than traditional competition. Our model is to restore dignity to these disadvantaged people through work and to connect them in the digital world of tomorrow.

On the other hand, Isahit's services are offered exclusively to small French companies, such as small Business Act, an online and lower cost accounting service, or the Yeelenpix African Photo Bank. Five companies are customers and have a backlog of over one million tasks. It is expected that CAC40 groups will also use the services of Isahit in 2017.

For the time being hosted by the Parisian incubator Make sense, the company is also developing a partnership with the United Nations for the recruitment of ' hiteuses ' in refugee camps, especially in Africa.

and is seeking to raise funds to continue its development. Especially since the competition is there: thus WeChat, the social application born of the partnership between The Chinese giant Tencent And the South African media group Naspers, which has several million users in the Rainbow Nation, has invested 3.5 million in Money for Jam (M4JAM), another of these "jobbing" services already well known in South Africa.

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