I’ve seen “Blood Diamond.” I’ve seen the “Migrations: History in Transition” photography exhibit by Brazilian photojournalist Sabastião Salgado. I’ve walked through the “Doctors without Borders” traveling “model” refugee camp.
I’ve even cried looking at the static images of suffering of those poor, poor people displaced and ravaged in far away lands by war and famine.
Leila Chirayath Janah must have seen them too, but instead of going back to her daily routine, she founded Samasource, “a non-profit organization (based in San Francisco) reminiscent of a tech startup that outsources web-based jobs to women, youth, and refugees living in poverty in third world countries.”
“Shortly after launching Samasource, she read an Oxfam report that mentioned a Dutch non-profit had set up a computer lab in the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. “I thought, how crazy would it be if I can get these refugees to do real work for clients in San Francisco? What if we could prove to the world that these people who have been written off completely as only good for receiving handouts, who are stuck in this camp receiving food rations, can be productive to the global economy?” (Read the full article here by Lisa Katayama on boingboing here)
Indeed, Paul, in the video above is “a former Lost Boy who was seized from his home at age nine and survived by walking through the scorching desert with no food for days before arriving at a refugee camp in Kenya, where he was shot in the leg by a guy from a rival tribe.”
While I’m still struggling to reconcile this program with my (outright-not even unconscious) assumptions about refugees and refugee camps (Aren’t ‘they’ all uneducated? Where do they get electricity?), it does draw a parallel to a concept in sales…time slicing.
American Family Insurance has been running a free Small Business Accelerator program to help small businesses grow. One of the strategies shared is the idea of time slicing…using the time “between” work to get work done. It’s making a quick sales call between meetings, or sending quick follow-up emails to set meetings in between writing reports. It’s about making every minute of the day count.
There’s a parallel here in terms of making every process of the day count. It can be as simple as funding an after school mural project to beautify construction walls or using an institution like Miseracordia Home to attach candies to logo cards to giveaway on Customer Appreciation day.
It’s looking at the goals, objectives and products of your business, and seeing how you might enrich the process of achieving them by creating opportunities for others along the way.
Samasource is just doing it exponentially. It’s no wonder Leila was awarded the Templeton Freedom Award 2009 for Social Entrepreneurship.
What can you (er, I mean I) do?
(Thanks, @weirdchina for the source)