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Technology for social transformation

Mario thought about how school canteens could take advantage of foods that, in supermarkets, were meant to be discarded. Agustina created a tool that allows for a rapid HIV test. Agata believed it was possible to build bridges between deaf and hearing people. A group of students imagined that cell phone could be the means to warn about growing up of neighbors who live on the banks of a river. Another concluded that gathering information on alternatives without Tacc (wheat, oats, rye and barley) could help improve the quality of life of thousands of celiacs. Massimiliano knew from the ground up that the key was to bring resources closer to other organizations and he did so. All of them, like the vast diversities of their experiences, are crossed, invisible, by a common denominator: technology.

Civic, social impact, innovative, meaningful. Whatever their qualifier, they are tools that, in this world where the digital dominates, put technology at the service –to a greater or lesser extent and scale– of social transformation. Applications, mapping, collective construction platforms, web sites and social networking sites are just some of the examples in which information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) enable responses to problems, visibility of demands, or management of solutions to specific needs. And, in the midst of them, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) once again appear as protagonists.

Nobility Obliga, a social innovation institution that developed an online crowdfunding platform “ ” brings together those who need funds to carry out their causes with those who want to donate or collaborate,” explains Victoria Ciccola, communications and press manager. The causes can be a treatment for a health problem, a scholarship, a slide for a square, or Christmas baskets for families without resources.

In numbers, the organization has allowed the collection of 10 million pesos in crowdfunding, between individuals and contributing companies, and more than 600 social causes financed.

Social networks

When it comes to helping, social networks also add up. This is the case of Facebook, which in recent years began to have a presence as a tool of community assistance in crisis situations, such as epidemics or natural disasters. The most recent case was the role he played in the earthquake in Mexico, in which thousands of people used him to communicate with family and friends and tell them that they were safe or to ask for help.

“In such situations people use Facebook to inform friends and family who are well, to help in the recovery efforts of affected communities. After the earthquake in Mexico, more than 10,000 people used the community aid tool to offer or ask for support, from water and food to shelter and internet access,” the company tells Third Sector. Faced with this disaster situation, Facebook activated Safety Check, “a tool that is enabled when it is detected that a significant number of people located in the same area publish content about an emergency situation.”

Moreover, they add, “was made available to the tool Community Help for that people to look and offer help, such as food, shelter and transportation after any crisis situation,” which made it to register “around 10,000 offers of assistance to victims, such as food, water, shelter, transportation and internet connections”.

Facebook has another tool called a disaster map, which allows humanitarian organizations to know where the affected people are located, an information that is otherwise impossible to obtain.

Technology for social transformation
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