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Co-authored by Marieta Fitzcharles, Eva Kaplan, Anthony Pusatory, and Soha Shami

IRC Jordan’s Project Match, which aims to address unemployment in Jordan, uses data-driven algorithms and machine learning to guide our programming and link job applicants with potential employers. Here, we describe the two algorithms at the heart of the program — one which predicts which intervention is best suited to support different profiles of job seekers, and one which provides a probability score on how likely a job seeker is to succeed in any particular job.

Demystifying algorithms

An algorithm is a list of clearly articulated steps required to carry out an operation. In our everyday lives, an analogy would be a cake recipe, a well-defined set of instructions used to produce an intended output, i.e. a cake. In data-driven algorithms, the instructions in the “recipe” are calculations, which use inputs from various data sets as the ingredients. Except in this case, the exact output from the recipe differs based on the “ingredients” (data) that have been used. …

Reflections from Jordan’s Mahali Community Innovation Lab

All communities have changemakers. The Mahali Community Innovation Lab aimed to find them from communities affected by the crisis here in Jordan, and support them in coming up with solutions to the problems they themselves have been experiencing. Over a year and a half, we ran three design sprints in which community-led teams developed solutions to challenges they faced. We worked with a total of 15 teams, and eight received seed funding to carry their solutions forward.

One team is working with local hospitals to create a “blood bank” to ensure that Syrians living in Jordan can get blood transfusions when they need them, since Syrians aren’t allowed to donate blood. Another team has developed playground equipment to foster early childhood development. Yet another team has developed a card deck for deaf children — one of the only practical uses of augmented reality for social impact that I have seen. …



Regional Director of Innovation-Middle East

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