The annual ICT4D Conferences have proven to be an invaluable opportunity for NGOs, private sector organizations, universities, governmental agencies and foundations to share their experience in using ICT to increase the impact of development programs and to learn from each other.  In 2016, 715 individuals from 76 countries and 301 private sector and public sector and civil society explored the ways to harness the full power of digital solutions to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.  Our thanks to Accenture, Catholic Relief Services, Esri, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, iMerit Technology Services, Inmarsat, IS Solutions, Making All Voices Count, Mercy Corps, Microsoft, NetHope, Oxfam, Pandexio, Qualcom Wireless Reach, RTI International, SimbaNet and World Vision for making that possible.

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Wednesday, May 18 • 16:30 - 17:30
Online Freelancing as a Contributor to Job Creation FILLING

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There's no doubt the Internet has revolutionized and changed the way people work. Marketplaces for individual freelancers and freelance projects are an example of the many new business models on the web. Online marketplaces such as www.freelancer.com, www.upwork.com, and others offer freelancers a platform to obtain a client base that's not limited by any boundaries. 

In conflict areas such as Gaza Strip/Palestine, creating sustainable employment opportunities, especially for educated youth is extremely difficult. Unemployment in Gaza is estimated to be among the highest in the world at 43%. For youth (15-29 years old) in Gaza, unemployment is over 60%. 

 Approximately 4 years ago, Mercy Corps recognized the potential of virtual employment or freelancing as an innovative way to overcome the challenges and connect youth in Gaza with employment opportunities.  Through an iterative process Mercy Corps has built a program that combined building awareness with provision of the skills and knowledge needed to compete on the international level for freelancing jobs. The lessons learned from each step have informed the development of the next stage of the program.

Mercy Corps' staff ran a survey in 2015 to help quantify the results. 54 freelancers reported that they had earned more than 62,000 US Dollars from 695 freelance jobs just during their engagement in the program. Moreover, those 54 influenced around 160 people to start freelancing, managing to earn more than 28,000 USD.  All of them said that they will continue freelancing after the end of the project, and all said that the project positively affected their future professional lives. Freelancers also mentioned other impacts from the program such as creating self-trust, developing relationships, and the exposure to other cultures. Freelancers after having completed jobs for people around the world including United States, Russia, and China.

avatar for Taysir Shaqalaih

Taysir Shaqalaih

Program Manager, Mercy Corps
Taysir Shaqalaih holds a master degree in Engineering from Cambridge University-UK. He brings14+ years of diversified experience working in project management/development, youth employment, ICT development projects, entrepreneurship, academia, and both electrical power production... Read More →

Wednesday May 18, 2016 16:30 - 17:30 EAT
Jambo Conference Centre C