How to reverse extreme poverty

Leila Janah
2 min readSep 10, 2017

In honor of Labor Day earlier this week and the upcoming launch of my book, Give Work, I shared some thoughts on the future of work, the #GiveWork movement, and the steps we need to take to eradicate extreme poverty with Luke Burbank on Live Wire Radio (listen here).

The high-level summary? Work is the most powerful weapon we have to fight poverty domestically and abroad.

We need to create more incentives for companies to hire low-income people, to modernize workforce training, and to encourage people to #GiveWork, not aid.

I’ve thought a lot about this over the last nine years building Samasource and LXMI. Samasource actually became profitable last year, and is an example that proves the rule: we can build sustainable social enterprises that address poverty directly by giving life-sustaining work and living-wage income to the poorest people.

But these are two tiny enterprises which, even in the best case scenario, could never grow as big as a movement. To end poverty (and all its downstream effects, from childhood malnutrition, to lack of clean water, to illiteracy), we have to evolve beyond individual companies and create a movement. Muhammad Yunus pioneered the concept of microfinance, scaling it from a single enterprise (his own) to a global phenomenon and thousands of organizations that helped hundreds of millions of very poor people lead measurably better lives. I believe in impact sourcing, and think creating a #GiveWork movement could follow a similar trajectory.

I outline a lot of the “how” in my book, also titled Give Work, which will be available wherever books are sold starting September 26th. If you want to be part of this with me, I invite you to do one (or all) of the following things:

  • Pre-order Give Work
  • Email me and let’s grab coffee. I’d love to hear about your favorite companies that Give Work and ideas on how to make this movement mainstream
  • Email our sales team if you’re a company that wants to Give Work
  • Visit the new site and join the conversation by using #GiveWork on your social channels (tag us @samasource and @lxmiofficial)

Lastly, please forward this post to anyone you think might be interested. I’ll be sharing more on this topic in the coming weeks and would appreciate your help in growing our #GiveWork army :)



Leila Janah

Founder and CEO of Samasource and LXMI. Loves adventure travel and sport. Lives in California.