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DFID research: Microwork initiative launched: M2Work

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

New initiative that aims to bring innovative thinking to microworker practices in developing countries was launched in Washington this week.

A new initiative that aims to bring innovative thinking to microworker practices in developing countries was launched in Washington this week. Microwork refers to small digital tasks people can perform anywhere to supplement their income. The initiative, called M2Work, is seen as a chance to build capacity across the microwork sector and make a difference for hundreds of thousands of potential microworkers.

Currently, microworkers need access to computers, which are expensive and require infrastructure. But if they could work on their mobile phones, considering the approximately 5 billion mobile phones in developing countries, this could have enormous job creation potential in the developing world.

M2Work is asking people to submit ideas before April 2, 2012 for a mobile microwork application that has market potential and can have a meaningful impact. The idea needs to tackle an existing problem or need that can be addressed by microwork. Submissions can be made alone or as part of a team.

M2Work is a worldwide challenge and a joint project of infoDev and Nokia’s IdeasProject, and supported by UKaid. infoDev, a global partnership program in the World Bank, uses its vast network of Mobile Applications Labs (mLabs) and business incubators to help tech entrepreneurs every step of the way, from a seed-stage idea to a thriving start-up that creates sustainable jobs. The M2Work challenge wants to fuel the race for the best ideas, and to spark a goal-oriented, global discussion about mobile microwork.

With individual cash prizes of up to US$20,000, we have assembled a high-profile jury consisting of representatives of Nokia, the World Bank, academia, the microwork industry and the wider technology investment sector, who will select the prize winners. They will judge all submissions based on the criteria of potential development impact, innovativeness, feasibility and clarity of presentation.

The six finalists, who will receive coaching before a final pitching event, will be announced at the end of April. The grand prize will be awarded in the summer.