Leila Janah


Big Idea: 

Why we chose Leila as a Fellow

Leila Janah spent ten years in academia and at the World Bank learning about and working on solutions to poverty. She moved to San Francisco to go all-out on her big idea -- a service provider for Silicon Valley data projects that employ women in developing countries.

An education doesn't do you much good when there aren't any jobs, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, there are many places where joblessness among the literate is above 60%. The waste of potential is even starker in refugee camps where the educated sit idle, unable to do much that is productive. Donor enthusiasm for computers in Africa has led to under-used computer centers, while firms in the U.S. have a lot of simple computer-based tasks -- like data entry -- they need done. Leila saw that the Internet could connect the two: to bring decent jobs to those who need them most, and to supply high-quality work products to U.S. companies. Samasource connects jobless women, youth, and refugees to dignified, computer-based work, such as data entry and basic programming.

Rainer Arnhold Fellows