Project overview

The Digital Microwork project connects young people at risk of hunger to an online microwork platform enabling them to earn income from machine learning jobs using cryptocurrency and e-wallets.

The problem

Around the world, nearly 2 billion people earn their livelihoods in the informal labour market. These informal sector workers have been most affected by COVID-19 response measures such as lockdowns and stay-at-home orders that caused shutdowns in many sectors. 

The booming artificial intelligence (AI) data annotation industry is a potent source of jobs for communities with limited opportunities in the local job market, including informal sector workers. However, people who don't have computers and the internet to complete digital microwork assignments cannot access this online marketplace. Moreover, many marginalized communities don't have access to formal financial institutions and don't have bank accounts to receive payments.

The solution

WFP's Digital Microwork aims to bridge the way for these marginalized communities to participate in the global AI industry and earn income using their mobile phones.

As part of this initiative, Corsali is developing a platform that makes digital microwork accessible and available on a mobile device. Celo's blockchain technology offers a faster and more affordable means of payment relative to existing options, significantly reducing the transaction fees for bite-sized microwork.

Together, these elements create an inexpensive, fast, and scalable solution that combines digital microwork with integrated crypto-based micropayments.

The way forward

Throughout the WFP Sprint Programme, the Digital Microwork team implements a series of pilots to refine the solution. 

The prototype has been created and successfully engaged 32 participants in Kenya; the platform further evolved with pilots in the Philippines and Timor-Leste, involving 370 people. In January 2021, the platform engaged 400 low-income youth to test the full payment rail. The Digital Microwork team aims to further iterate on a scalable recruitment and training model and offer more crypto-based financial products and services to the participants.

Last updated: 10/11/2021