Humans in the Loop has developed a proven partnership model through which we are able to reach conflict-affected communities and provide them with access to dignified online work. Instead of using a crowdsourced or marketplace approach where users register as individual freelancers to work on our projects, we build alliances with organizations on the ground which are already working successfully with the same target group, and which share the same mission.
Our partners provide us with invaluable support for the recruitment, training, and supervision of annotators, as well as the distribution of their payments. On our side, we are responsible for the business development, solution design and project management of paid annotation projects which their beneficiaries can participate in. This is a win-win situation for both organizations and it provides annotators with a strong support network.
Back in 2019 we established our first partnership with the Preemptive Love Coalition’s WorkWell program in Iraq. By the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020 we created our second partnership: with the Roia Foundation and their social enterprise Turnsole, in Turkey and Syria. In the beginning of 2021 we started another new partnership, this time with Brightpoint in Afghanistan.
Today, with great pleasure we announce our new partnership with Techfugees Lebanon.
Techfugees have branches all over the world – Germany, France, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Canada, and Lebanon. Everybody in this large network of people is dedicated to working together and sharing learnings to come up with tech solutions addressing displaced people’s needs. Their mission is to empower displaced people by providing them with opportunities for work and a dignified life.
Techfugees Lebanon is a volunteer-led organization committed to fostering digital access to employment for refugees based in Lebanon. Due to its proximity to Palestine and Syria, Lebanon has become the new home for many refugees from these two war-stricken areas. Overall, Lebanon hosts 3 million refugees, one of the largest numbers relative to the national population of almost 7 million. Refugees are severely affected by the current economic crisis in Lebanon during which the Lebanese pound has lost 90% of its value and inflation has risen to 85%.
A New Partnership
Back in 2017, when Humans in the Loop was still in its very early stages, we were given the opportunity to pitch at the main stage of the Techfugees Global Summit, and the following year we were one of the finalists at Techfugees Global Challenges. In 2021, Humans in the Loop and Techfugees started to build a closer partnership, and organized training sessions for Techfugees volunteers to become trainers for local refugees in annotation skills. During the first pilot in Lebanon, the local team trained more than 25 refugees during an intensive three-day course, including periodic practical exams on topics such as tagging and categorizing images, labeling with bounding boxes, and semantic segmentation.
Following the successful pilot, the Techfugees Lebanon team has started working on paid annotation projects for Humans in the Loop, including Arabic language text annotation of newspaper headlines, and video recordings of utterances in Modern Standard Arabic for the purposes of training virtual assistants. This has allowed more than 20 of the refugees who received training to benefit from remote online work opportunities.
Stay tuned for more updates on our collaboration and on the expansion of our partner network!