Sourcing positive: Using the power of procurement to make a difference


In March 2018, the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition (GISC) called on its corporate members to hire 100,000 impact workers by the end of 2020. One year on, we are thrilled to report that 17 companies have responded to our call with ambitious pledges to collectively employ more than 25,000 new impact workers by 2020. That’s 25,000 people who will be offered the opportunity of a good job, enabling their journey out of unemployment and poverty, due to the power of procurement and the intention of GISC’s network of inclusive employers.


We are excited to share some of the stories of the impact workers who have been employed by GISC members since the launch of our challenge. In doing so, we can offer insight into how a company’s procurement decisions can contribute to poverty alleviation and inclusive growth around the world.


The Global Impact Sourcing Challenge is the first of its kind to specifically focus on escalating impact sourcing as a way to increase employment and career development opportunities for disadvantaged workers. It is seen as the largest official commitment to sustainable development goal (SDG) 8 and inclusive job creation.


Tim Hopper, responsible sourcing manager at Microsoft, said: “The Global Impact Sourcing Challenge is a great example of collaboration. Through intentionally choosing impact sourcing, and increasing the number of impact worker jobs, companies can create social benefits on top of generating business value.”


Since its launch in March 2018, the challenge has already made a difference to the lives of the hired impact workers.


Celine, customer service advisor at Webhelp, South Africa


Celine’s plans for going to college and getting her dream job were knocked off track by a series of events after leaving high school. Her mother was made redundant, leaving Celine to work to pay for her studies. She found temporary jobs in retail, but despite returning to work after having a baby, she was soon unemployed again.


Celine then heard about Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, an organisation that helps young people find employment. She applied online and, after successfully completing assessments, started an eight-week work readiness course. On the seventh week, she went for a job interview at Webhelp and secured a job as a customer service advisor.


“Working at Webhelp has had a major impact in my life. Being able to work shifts that allow me to care for my son and help my mother is such a blessing. Everything I do is for my son, and I hope one day he can study and get his dream job. Working at Webhelp is honestly a piece of gold.”


Gabisile, customer service agent at Startek|Aegis, South Africa


Sadly, Gabisile’s life changed drastically in 2018 when her mother died, and she found herself in the position of needing to provide for both herself and her father. Having to depend on her father’s pension, while trying to adjust to the loss of her mother, was one of the greatest challenges she had ever faced. However, being someone who always has a positive outlook on life, she began searching for a job to help provide for her family.


Gabisile approached a family friend attending the same church, who works at Startek|Aegis South Africa. They arranged for her to have an interview and training, and in November 2018 she was hired as a customer service agent (Learnership). Through training and on-the-job learning, she has gained typing and computer skills, and is now confident communicating with customers and dealing with different personalities.


“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. I have learned a lot in this role and have found the training to be very useful in helping me to manage the pressures of a call centre environment. I have welcomed the challenge as I constantly strive to push myself. I thoroughly enjoy working at Startek|Aegis South Africa and have made a lot of new friends since joining the team.”


Khammai, associate at Digital Divide Data, Laos


Khammai was unable to complete her high school education because she needed to contribute to her family’s income by planting vegetables to sell at the market. This still didn’t provide enough money. But, as an uneducated disabled girl, it was difficult for her to find a job in her home town.


Khammai then heard about a training program at Digital Divide Data, through the Laos Disabled Woman Developing Centre (LDWDC). Khammai undertook computer training at LDWDC for six months. When she didn’t pass the first two week internship with DDD, she received a further three months training in English, computer, technical and soft skills. She was then successful in securing a job as an associate in May 2018.


“Before I had this job, my family was worried that I wouldn’t make a living growing vegetables, but now they are proud I am able to step up and make a living for myself. Before coming to DDD, it was like I was starting from zero, but now it’s like I’m a 9 or 10. I now have ambitions to learn about business and open my own tailoring business in my home town.”


Mbolatiana, ‘hiter’ at isahit, Madagascar


After going through the tragedy of giving birth to a stillborn child, and having several miscarriages, Mbolatiana put her 10-year telecommunications career on hold to focus on having a family. In time, she became the proud mother of two children. Following a period of nearly four years’ unemployment, she started looking for work that would combine her need for professional fulfilment with the requirements of a stay-at-home mother.


While searching online, she found an advert for a job opportunity with isahit, asocially responsible platform for digital micro-tasks. Sheapplied for the job in August 2018, and a week later become a ‘hiter’, working part-time to perform various digital micro-tasks, such as data processing and analysis. Because the digital tasks can be performed on isahit’s online platform, using a computer and internet connection, Mbolitiana can work from home.


Mbolatiana said: “Since I became a ‘hiter’, I feel useful! I am able to use my analytical mind, attention to detail, and knowledge of the world of telephony. As a new skill, I have become unstoppable in the search for accurate information on the internet.”


Morgan, core advisor at Webhelp, South Africa


Before getting his current job, Morgan was unemployed for six months. Despite sending his CV to numerous companies, even delivering it in person, he wasn’t able to secure an interview. During this time, he was also dealing with the bereavement of his father, and felt a huge responsibility to find work.


While at the library, he noticed an advert for Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. He applied and was invited to join the six-week training programme, where he could learn the key skills needed to work in a contact centre. During the training, Harambee identified he would be a good match for an opportunity at Webhelp. After a further four weeks of in-house training, Morgan was hired as a core advisor for an airline company for which Webhelp provides contact centre service.


“This job has made me a better individual, with the confidence and skills to interact with new people. I now use my experiences to encourage my friends and family, because I was given an opportunity that has changed my life.I’ve grown not only in abilities, but in will and determination, due to how much Webhelp has believed in me. Better still, I have made my family proud.”


Why companies should take the challenge


  • Social impacts: Achieve social impact for workers, families and communities by increased earning potential and household income.
  • SDGs: Contribute to the SDGs to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth; full and productive employment; and decent work for all.
  • Leadership:Help create a better market by promoting impact sourcing.
  • New talent: Gain access to new sources of talented, motivated workers.
  • Business benefits: Discover benefits such as reduced turnover and higher levels of employee engagement.

Through the challenge, the GISC and its membership are creating job opportunities and providing a sustainable career path to people who otherwise have limited prospects for formal employment. The GISC is a quarter of the way towards our 100,000 target, and GISC members encourage more companies to join the movement and make a pledge. To take part in the Global Impact Sourcing Challenge, visit


By Sara Enright, project director, and Martin Benderson, manager, Global Impact Sourcing Coalition.


This contributed article has been written by a guest writer at the invitation of Procurement Leaders. Procurement Leaders received no payment directly connected with the publishing of this content.

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