Lebanon's first impact sourcing platform, bridging the gap between trained youth and employers

Facts & Figures
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  • Location: Beirut, Lebanon
  • Alfanar SE Since: 2019
  • Total Alfanar Grant: £83,763
  • Social Impact: 318 disadvantaged youth placed in freelance employment
  • Website: http://letsbot.io/
  • Supported By:
  • SDGs:

The Challenge

Lebanon has one of the highest youth unemployment rates, both regionally and globally, at 40%, a figure that has only worsened since the economic crash and associated protests that began in late 2019. Current educational approaches fail to provide Lebanese youths with the skills they need to compete in the modern jobs market, with more than 40% of Lebanese youth considered undereducated for their job in 2014. Over 50% of unemployed Lebanese youth spend more than a year searching for employment before seeing success. With under-skilled youth struggling to find employment in a crowded labour market, many female youth do not enter the labour force at all, or leave early and become economically inactive.

Alongside this challenge, many organisations lack the ability or resources to carry out time-intensive, repetitive tasks, such as data management, e-commerce listing, transcribing, translation, on-site surveys, scanning, archiving, and AI training. It is more cost effective and convenient for these companies to outsource, and freelance work is one of the fastest growing sectors in Lebanon and one with a high potential to employ a greater number of Lebanese youth.

This presents an opportunity for youth employment, though one that comes with its own challenge: how can organisations faced with limited resources find freelancers?

The Organisation

B.O.T seeks to solve this problem, linking companies with trained workers. As Lebanon’s first impact sourcing platform, B.O.T uses market intelligence and technology to provide managed physical and remote freelance work opportunities to unemployed youth and women from vulnerable communities. B.O.T. connects these skilled and newly trained digital freelancers with clients in need of outsourced resources to carry out time-intensive digital tasks, and in so doing provides income generating opportunities in freelance digital work.

B.O.T.’s workforce includes hundreds of qualified and digitally trained youth (including men, women, and people with special needs) from marginalized communities across Lebanon. Many of B.O.T’s beneficiaries were trained through their sister company, DOT Lebanon, which developed B.O.T as an impact sourcing platform to bridge the gap between trained youth and employers.

What has been Achieved with Alfanar's Support

In their first year of operation, B.O.T provided 152 youths across Lebanon with income generating opportunities, collectively working on 52 projects and earning $54K of revenue. B.O.T is committed to supporting women in particular and actively seeks people with special needs who would otherwise be excluded from the labour market. B.O.T has secured full-time employment for more than 15 youths so far, for organisations such as the mobile telecommunications operator, touch, and Alfanar’s SE, FabricAID.

Alfanar's Support: Looking Ahead

Alfanar’s pilot support was seeking to strengthen B.O.T’s impact monitoring and evaluation, as well as to assist with the refinement of their business plan. With the experience of Alfanar’s team, B.O.T will also be able to undertake and plan new business development opportunities to allow for better scaling of the programme. By also focussing upon increasing brand awareness, B.O.T will be able to expand their programme at a faster pace, transforming the lives of yet more disadvantaged youth across Lebanon.

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