Digital microwork as a livelihood strategy in a Namibian informal settlement

Pietari Keskinen*, Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Shilumbe Chivuno-Kuria, Anna Müller, Marko Nieminen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
159 Downloads (Pure)


Unemployment is a serious issue in many areas of Global South. Over the last years, microwork platforms have started to emerge offering opportunities for earnings and promising improved livelihoods. Although the gig economy facilitated by these platforms has been criticized in the literature, we argue that in the context of informal economy, participation on these platforms does not always worsen the livelihood and thus should be examined. This paper investigates the requirements for using such platforms and assesses their applicability in an informal settlement in Namibia. The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach provides the conceptual framework for the research. We devised a simulation by using design science research methods, where the community members were able to complete digital micro-tasks for monetary compensation. The experiment evoked excitement among participants. This paper argues that the digital micro-tasks have promise for the individuals, and elaborates on human, financial, physical, and social capitals required to use these platforms. Finally, we propose a new way, trained peers called “tech mediators,” that can act as facilitators to make these platforms more available for the communities in Global South in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12197
Number of pages17
JournalThe Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • design science
  • Global South
  • microwork
  • sustainable livelihoods approach


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