Partnership in DRC
Since our founding in 2017, Humans in the Loop has primarily been focused on Europe and the Middle East as target regions. However, in 2022 we embarked on a new journey of scaling our programs to other regions, starting with Central Africa.
Our new pilot, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a landmark in our expansion strategy. In it, we focus specifically on conflict-affected youth who have been affected by armed conflict in the DRC in the village of Kibabi in the province of North Kivu. The work in Kibabi is done in partnership with several partner organizations which are leaders in working with conflict-affected groups and individuals at risk of exploitation: WarChild, 50eight, and Solutions, which are part of a wide-reaching consortium called PACE against child exploitation which includes Columbia University, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, World Vision, and the UN Global Compact.
Meet WarChild and Fifty Eight
Our main partners in the DRC are WarChild UK, the only specialist charity for children affected by conflict which delivers life-changing services and support in communities affected by conflicts to keep children safe and help them to heal and learn for the chance of a better future. In DRC, WarChild’s work focuses on reintegrating children who have escaped armed groups into communities, and generating sustainable livelihoods opportunities.
In addition, we are partnering with Solutions and Fifty Eight, an organization which partners with businesses and individuals throughout the value chain to achieve work that enhances quality of life, free from exploitation and modern slavery. At a local level, we are collaborating with CLJ, a local community center which provides access to work space, computers, and internet connectivity.
Humans in the Loop started working with our partner in Kibabi in 2021, together with our partners Fifty8 and Warchild. In our first pilot, we have provided annotation courses to 12 young DRC nationals who prior to this course had no prospects other than working in their town’s mines. These courses were preceded by basic English and IT training delivered by the local supervisor Nove Bahati to make sure it’s feasible for them to work in annotation or any other online work.
The local supervisor was designated to supervise the local team, provide translation into French, and coordinate the different steps of the pilot, especially in terms of ensuring the beneficiaries are properly trained in IT to get them up to the level needed for annotation training.
All 12 participants graduated from the course successfully and were assigned 3 different paid projects so that they can practice their skills in a real-world scenario. Despite many challenges, such as floods in the entire DRC, and lack of access to electricity, the team showed excellent motivation to learn and advance in their digital skills. Currently, we are working to provide further training opportunities and paid work to the team, so that they can become professional freelancers thanks to their annotation skills.
Our partners in the DRC have enabled us to rapidly scale in order to respond to the demand for livelihoods opportunities which are connected to technology and digital work, as opposed to agriculture, crafts, or dangerous mining jobs which are usually the only options available to individuals in the area. This alliance is also very valuable for us in order to expand our global locations and offer our clients access to an even more diverse workforce in their AI supply chains.
Stay tuned for more updates on the expansion of our partner network!