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Business Continuity, Health, and Safety During COVID-19

Ongoing Communications from our CEO
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March 17, 2020

I’m sure business continuity and the health and safety of your team members and partners are top of mind during these uncertain times. I’m writing to share with you Samasource’s best practices for business continuity, as well as our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our priorities are the safety of our employees and clients, and the continuity of our business operations and services to our customers. 

Our SaaS data annotation platform was implemented with a focus on reliability and security. The design of our platform adheres to the industry’s best practices and operates on trusted providers with a highly distributed infrastructure. While we are monitoring the situation closely, we do not anticipate downtime that will impact our ability to exceed our client expectations. There has been no impact thus far to our Delivery Center Operations in Kenya and Uganda. For our team members in countries deeply impacted by the pandemic, we are enabling remote work while keeping safety and security at the forefront of our operations. 

Since February, Samasource has had robust preventative measures and a specific COVID-19 business continuity plan in place. As mentioned above, there has been no impact on our delivery operations in Kenya and Uganda. There are currently four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kenya and zero cases in Uganda. Given a strong track record of successfully managing through past pandemic incidents while maintaining business continuity, we are confident that Kenya and Uganda governments are prepared to deal with COVID-19. Low international travel and limited ports of entry reduce the risk of further spread. Additionally, the following factors play a strong part in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in Kenya and Uganda: 

  • Kenya and Uganda have dedicated CDC centers with more than 300 full-time staff. For the past 30 years, CDC Kenya and Uganda have continuously supported ongoing infectious disease risk assessments through a variety of means including outbreak investigations, surveillance, research studies and analysis of pre-existing data. 
  • CDC Kenya and Uganda, along with CDC Atlanta and partners, are supporting a wide range of risk assessment activities in Kenya, including for Zika, MERS-CoV, avian influenza, Rift Valley fever, and cholera.
  • Kenya and Uganda health workers are seen as experts in monitoring and responding to health crises, as proven by the large team of CDC and health workers that were sent to West Africa to help with the Ebola outbreak. 
  • Kenya Ministry of Health’s Port Health Services (PHS) adapted and implemented CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine Border Health Capacity Discussion Guide which strengthened services at two ground crossings (Busia and Malaba) and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).  Uganda Ministry of Health Services has done the same with its major border crossings and Entebbe Airport.
  • In addition, Nairobi is home to one of seven UN Global Headquarters with over 3,000 permanent staff which brings many extra resources, monitoring and evaluation capabilities. This includes a permanent office of the World Health Organization. 

While the Kenyan government has canceled all public gatherings to include sporting events and after school activities, normal work and office schedules are continuing. If needed, Samasource is prepared to continue to serve you, our partners, with multiple layers of business continuity planning response levels. At the moment, we are continuing our current preventive measures and have not initiated any business continuity plan actions, although we are prepared to do at a moment’s notice if needed. 

We have close connections to local country CDC representatives and Government/Health agencies and have private medical support services on standby to react to suspected cases. While we don’t anticipate needing to relocate the workstations of our agents, we have measures in place to be able to do so within 72 hours to maintain our ability to deliver upon our contractual agreements.  

For the remainder of our global operations, we are following government and health administration best practices. We have suspended all travel and implemented a work from home policy for our offices in North America, Canada, Europe, and Costa Rica. 

As your trusted partner, we recognize that we support many of your company’s mission-critical and high business value activities. If you need additional capacity and support during this difficult time, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Stay safe,

Wendy Gonzalez
Interim CEO & President 
Samasource 

 

March 25th, 2020 

A week has passed since my last COVID-19 update. The general feeling at Samasource is one of hope. Thankfully, all of our team members are healthy and safe. We’ve maintained business continuity for all of our clients, even those requiring out of office working arrangements. This includes ramping up projects for existing and new clients. I’m grateful to all of you for continuing to support us, and for working with us to drive creative solutions when needed.  

In the spirit of transparency, I wanted to provide you with a full update on how COVID is impacting the areas in which we deliver; Kenya, Uganda, and India. 

Kenya:

There are currently 25 COVID-19 cases in Kenya. The Kenyan government instituted a curfew for all citizens beginning Friday. We have moved to a 7-day shift to ensure full capacity during working hours and are expanding our delivery operations to include secure, offsite facilities.   

Uganda: 

There are currently 14 COVID-19 cases in Uganda. The government has restricted group transport over 3 people and has closed borders as part of their prevention measures. In Kampala, to ensure people are able to commute to Samasource offices we’re providing individual transport at no cost to our employees. In Gulu, many of our employees live close to the office and regularly bike to work. We’re continuing to encourage this. For those that can not bike to work, we’re providing individual transport at no additional cost.  

India: 

As you may have seen, India’s Prime Minister imposed a nationwide, 21-day lockdown starting yesterday. Our delivery partner implemented a voluntary live/work situation and projects are running as normal.

Lastly, we continue to maintain additional sanitization measures across all of our delivery centers including reconfigured office space for social distancing, additional handwashing stations at access points and temperature checks at all locations. 

We will continue to keep you updated as events unfold throughout the regions in which we operate. 

Stay safe, 

Wendy Gonzalez
Interim CEO & President 
Samasource