As we have posted on social media, part of the PCDN team is in Colombia for several weeks. We have spent the past 10 days in Medellin a city that was famous around the world as a hot-spot for many of the troubles the country faced ranging from guerilla and paramilitary violence, drug trafficking, urban violence and more. However, over the past 20 years the city has seen radical improvements in infrastructure, governance, culture, and much more. Now the city is known as one of the top cities in the world focused on innovation and attracting many visitors from around the world. We will be writing more about this next week.
As part of our visit to Medellin we had the chance to do a Facebook Live Interview with Catalina Escobar, one of the co-founders of Makaia and one of the staff members Juan David. Makaia is a leading a non-profit organization based in Medellin, Colombia that strengthens capacity for social development through technology, innovation and international cooperation.
We discussed their work in digital innovation and specific projects including a cross-sectoral open data pollution tracking project, and a new project to bring Internet access to coffee farmers in a previously conflict affected area. Note, in the interview we unfortunately didn’t get all the details on the background of the pollution tracking project (which is amazing). The project was initiated by Steven Adler (former Chief Data Scientist at IMB) and the Medellin Data Strategy Council with support from IBM. The Data Strategy Council worked with Makai to implement the pilot (for more details see this blog post from Steven, this piece from Colombia Reports as well as this page with updates Check out the inspiring chat (see below) to learn more about their inspiring work. Please also visit their website and follow them on social media.