More jobs are needed in Palestine. There is no disagreement about that. But how do we develop employment?
One growing trend is “microwork”, which means that your laptop, PC, tablet or mobile phone could earn you extra cash one tiny job at a time. See the World Bank feasibility study report that has many caveats and contradicting statements Microwork for the Palestinian territories – World Bank feasibility study (28 February 2013)
In the event that such “microwork” projects will be rolled-out in Palestine by the World Bank and they do find their way to our footsteps:
1 – Are such projects approved by the Ministry of Telecomm and IT & the Ministry of Economy?
2 – Is the cost of utility, connectivity of a mobile data plans and other costs make this model feasible and sustainable for the poor segment in Palestine?
3 – How will the governance system for this project work? Will the rich get richer on the expense of the poor?
4 – Do Palestinian people in the bottom of the pyramid (usually the beneficiaries of microworks) have the necessarily skills; the English language skills and experience to perform “microwork” knowledge work?
5 – Most “microwork” such as the ones provided by Samasource distributes pay below minimum US wages. In certain parts of the world, few dollars a day keeps a family afloat; in Palestine would anyone find this type of work compelling? Has this really been validated? At best, this might be a potential to provide supplementary income to raise living standards by a US$100 US$300 / month. But, would this still be compelling vs. other economic opportunities over e-lance or b-hance?
6 – Is there no decision-maker out there to challenge such projects? Don’t we need higher-value BPO models that would align more to our economic and cost of living situation in order to create direct and indirect jobs such as in accounting / bookkeeping / auditing, insurance claims packaging, data cleansing projects, telemarketing, IT support, etc.
Above all, can’t we influence donors to align to our own ICT export strategies. “Microwork” is sure not a priority! If anything, it should be a supplement, a smaller component to higher-value added ITO and BPO export strategies and projects catering for the educated and experienced knowledge workers.
We need feasibility studies of higher value export strategies from the World Bank and other development agencies including growing the local markets for ICT solutions and services.