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Leila Chirayath Janah
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Leila Chirayath Janah is the founder of Samasource, an award-winning social business that connects people living in poverty to microwork — small, computer-based tasks that build skills and generate life-changing income. Janah is a frequent speaker on social entrepreneurship and technology, and her work has been profiled by CBS, CNN, NPR, the BBC, The New York Times, and The New Scientist. She serves on the board of the non-profit TechSoup Global and as an advisor to mobile shopping app Spreetales. She received the World Technology Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2010, and in 2009 was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Women in Tech.

Prior to Samasource, Janah was a founding Director of Incentives for Global Health, an initiative to increase R&D spending on diseases of the poor, and a management consultant at Katzenbach Partners (now Booz & Co.). She has also worked at the World Bank and as a travel writer for Let’s Go in Mozambique, Brazil, and Borneo.

Janah was a Visiting Scholar with the Stanford Program on Global Justice and Australian National University’s Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. She received a BA from Harvard and lives in San Francisco.

Entries by Leila Chirayath Janah

Think You Have It Tough? Try Having a Baby in Uganda

(22) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 2:06 PM

I'm 31. At this age, it feels like every woman I know is having babies. Grinning newborns in ironic onesies and blissful young parents fill my Facebook feed. Last year, my best friend Angie made me godmother to her baby boy, a responsibility I'm still digesting -- motherhood seems a...

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Three Ways For You To Stay Competitive In The New Economy

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 11:23 AM

Landing a 9-to-5 job with a pension is harder today than ever. In order to thrive in the 21st century, you have to be a savvy citizen of the digital economy or risk being left behind. At Samasource, a company I founded in 2008, we train people living in poverty...

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This Mother's Day, I Honor My Mom's Grit and Grace

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2014 | 5:44 PM

My mother comes from a long line of adventurous women. Christiane, her Belgian mother, left Paris in 1948, when she was in her early 20s, to hitchhike around the world. She started with just $5 and traveled overland in a route that spanned Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, and...

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Fifty Years Later, A Dream Deferred

(0) Comments | Posted August 28, 2013 | 12:57 PM

Fifty years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. presented his dream to the world in one of the best speeches of the twentieth century, we are far behind. Though his words inspired progress -- many regard the March on Washington as the pivotal moment that paved the way for broad support...

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Who Needs an Axle? Notes from Uganda

(0) Comments | Posted August 23, 2013 | 5:33 PM

On a recent Saturday morning, I met Dr. Robert, Uganda's only nephrologist (kidney specialist), a professor of medicine at Mulago Hospital, and the director of Caring Hands, an NGO that provides funding for patients who can't afford treatment for surgery.

Dr. Robert inspires -- he grew up in an orphanage,...

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Impact Sourcing: Making Good on the Promise of a Flat World

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2013 | 3:08 PM

In 2005, Thomas Friedman asserted that the rise in cheap access to connectivity and hardware in developing countries was flattening the world. Outsourcing, he argued, was transforming poverty in countries like India, where over two million young people work in call centers or business process outsourcing firms (BPOs) completing work...

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A Kickstarter For Life-Saving Surgeries

(1) Comments | Posted November 12, 2012 | 3:10 PM

Over the last several weeks, I turned 30, got engaged to a great guy, and raised an investment round for Samasource, the nonprofit I founded four years ago. We have now moved over 3,200 people out of poverty through digital work and are expanding into the...

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Celebrating a 30th Birthday by Saving Lives

(0) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 2:40 PM

This week I turned 30.

While this milestone feels significant, I am concentrating on a different number. Today, 800 women will die from preventable causes related to childbirth. Many of these women are my age, some younger, some older, and many of them share the same dream: to...

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Making the Case for Impact Sourcing

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2012 | 11:24 AM

Last week, B Corporation, a network of socially responsible "for-benefit" businesses, announced its plans to scale internationally at the Clinton Global Initiative. Many of these businesses are supported by impact investors, a group of double- and triple-bottom-line funders that received little attention until the Rockefeller Foundation launched a...

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Enabling Anyone, Anywhere to Help Mothers Globally With Samahope

(1) Comments | Posted May 12, 2012 | 12:33 PM

Jos Mattias is a 41-year-old woman who lives in the town of Bo in Sierra Leone in West Africa. She loves to cook and take care of children. Jos used to earn her income -- about $3 a day -- by working as a nanny for a family with two...

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Realizing the Economic Power of Women

(2) Comments | Posted October 25, 2011 | 6:18 PM

It's true: women and girls are hot. Double-Xers are finally making it to the top of the development agenda following the publication of Sheryl WuDunn and Nick Kristof's book Half the Sky (now a global movement), Sheryl Sandberg's iconic TED talk on women at work, and...

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The Virtual Assembly Line

(3) Comments | Posted May 26, 2010 | 6:44 PM

Samasource is building the world's first virtual assembly lines that pro-actively engages the poor.

I introduced the concept of a virtual assembly line in a talk at TEDx Silicon Valley last year -- I think it's the defining trend in labor in the next century. It's also one...

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Rebuilding Haiti: A Long-Term View

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2010 | 12:05 AM

Leila Janah
Samasource founder Leila C. Janah conducts a training with workers in Mirebalais, Haiti. Many people fled here from Port-au-Prince after the devastating earthquake; Computer-based work will create a sustainable local economy that will give them the opportunity to stay rather...
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Samasource and CrowdFlower in Haiti: Rebuilding After a Crisis

(3) Comments | Posted January 17, 2010 | 11:29 AM

About a year ago, I met Dr. Paul Farmer at an IDEO talk on social enterprise, and began thinking about Samasource in Haiti.

Haitians live in a densely populated country (10 million people on an island smaller than Maryland), learn French and English at school, share a timezone with New...

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