Preparing Haitian youth for digital jobs

Haiti is currently the poorest country in the western hemisphere, with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% living in abject poverty. Unemployment, at 40%, is the highest in the region, and the 2010 earthquake further inflicted $7.8 billion in damage, causing the country's gross domestic product to contract.

New job opportunities in the digital economy could contribute to new livelihoods, particularly for a large youth demographic. One example is online outsourcing, which involves the contracting of third-party workers (often overseas) to supply services or perform tasks via Internet-based marketplaces or platforms. Similarly, online freelancing platforms allow clients to contract professional services to distributed third-party workers in areas such as graphic design, web development, and technical report writing. There are large potential gains for women in this type of work through flexible hours and the ability to work remotely.

As the world goes increasingly online, job opportunities related to these services will continue to grow. For countries like Haiti, the digital economy could offer new employment prospects that aren’t constrained by a limited local job market. But the country will need to surmount important challenges if it is to seize these opportunities. Wages and labour regulation, especially for online outsourcing, are often problematic and the required skills and infrastructure are scarce.

This project aims to create the enabling conditions for young Haitians to find employment in the digital economy. It will design, pilot, and evaluate locally adapted online courses to enhance the technical skills of young Haitians; develop platforms for young Haitians to be matched with companies working in the digital economy, particularly those owned by the Haitian diaspora; and perfect the skills of telecommunications engineers in Haiti. Efforts will also be made to use this project to attract further investments in Haiti’s telecommunications infrastructure. As a result of the project, a set of courses, trained teachers, and business strategies will be developed to ensure a greater number of people will be trained and potentially employed in the digital economy.

Project ID

108360

Project status

Active

Duration

30 months

IDRC Officer

Ben Petrazzini

Total funding

CA$ 1,147,000

Country(s)

Haiti, Uruguay, Jamaica

Project Leader

Laura Kaplan

Institution

Registro de Direcciones de Internet para América Latina y Caribe (LACNIC)

Institution Country

Uruguay

Institution Website

http://www.lacnic.net

Project Leader

Maurice McNaughton

Institution

University of the West Indies JM

Institution Country

Jamaica

Institution Website

http://www.mona.uwi.edu