Impact: What is the impact of the work to date?
We have worked with several Pakistani women over the last few years belonging to both rural and urban areas. They have worked on tasks for US-based clients doing things like data entry, data conversion, content writing, graphic designing, social media management and SEO. We ran a pilot project in Karimabad, Hunza. With limited work we were able to employ 6 women full time for a month. That's when the impact of this idea really hit us. Now we are doing capacity building with our partner and have trained about 200 people in last 2 months. The training will run for another 4 months. 50% of the trainees are women who will then be connected to work through us. The same pilot program will be expanded to other areas of Pakistan. By providing not only training but also work opportunities from their homes or villages we give an incentive to people to send girls to school.
Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Living in Pakistan, the first thing to keep in mind is the law and order situation. Frequent strikes and shut downs cause a lot of problem for businesses. Fortunately, WDL is a team of women working from home. This helps in ensuring the 24/7/365 operations that we aim for. Notice for new tasks are sent at the backend to workers with relevant skills who then bid on it – tasks are then awarded based on response-time, previous feedback, and amount quoted. Two women are chosen for the task – if the first one does not activate the task within 30 minutes of being awarded at the backend by going through the right process and starts working then the second worker take over by default. This ensures if there is a problem such as power-failure there is always someone else there to do the job.
Also, we have a project where we collaborate with IT Centers run by local institutions and bring in local women to do basic data entry tasks. Since these IT Centers are based in areas where law and order situation hardly ever gets out of hand, we are able to deal with this problem. Similarly, the IT Centers have power backups such as generators and UPS devices. Through funding we plan to equip these centers with laptops to cut back on energy consumption.
Some women are not only discouraged form working outside their homes but from working at all. Through personal stories from women who have worked with WDL, we are able to break through that barrier and build a trusting relationship. The founder being personally from a highly conservative family, a mother and a working woman is someone that these women and their families can relate to at many levels.
Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)
This is a tried and tested model that can be replicated anywhere in the world. We receive expression of interest from men and women from countries like Bangladesh and India but also from the US to work as service providers. We are running a 6 month online internship program for Pakistan only. Once tested the idea is to open it up to people anywhere that might be interested in capacity building, polishing their skills,building portfolio and learning how to work with an International clientele.
Through funding we want to take the mission to government level so it may be replicated at a large scale throughout the country in IDP camps, relatively safe tribal areas, and to other places that we lack resources to reach.
We are working with Technovation Challenge (http://iridescentlearning.org/programs/technovation-challenge/) to generate interest among school girls in coding and business. For this again, after running in beta, we plan to introduce to our government to make it a large scale activity for both boys and girls.