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My [inte]gration Data Co-op

My integration Co-op is an innovation targeting migration and human rights by using data/tech for good in Mexico-Central America- US- Spain

Photo of Alejandra Aguilera
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

During the migration journey from Central America to the Mexican-USA border, I had the opportunity of walking alongside the “Caravan” families listening to their stories. The caravan migrant populations consisted of convoys of around 8,000- 10,000 families pleading for asylum to the USA and Mexico. During this time I gatheried insights, one interesting insight trigger my attention to propel this migration project; while migrant families became aware of their Human Rights as people on the move during their perilous journey into Mexico aided by Human Rights groups, the migrants could not do anything to stop abuses. Many of the migrant families were affected by authorities abusing power and hot deportations taking place in hostile situations. Add to this, the extreme violence they usually endure during the displacement travelling alone, such as sexual abuses, coyote smugglers or even death, all happening within the invisibility of the situations they experience. My research identified an underlying problem with migration; many Human rights abuses are consistent across borders and nations, constantly made towards migrants (especially those vulnerable for their irregular situation) they don’t have enough information to prove and build strong cases against constant abuses, nor does society, policy maker, NGO’s or academia obtain enough information to address these problems, as a result, there is a failure to provide dignifying opportunities, just working conditions, better livelihoods, social cohesion and proper Human Rights conditions. My [inte]gration Co-op (MIC) attempts to solve these ongoing Human Rights abuses by giving voice to the migrants by and for themselves. The systemic design behind the idea is built upon a data platform where migrants can place their testimonies, videos, maps, traveling journeys and personal data to build strong cases to identify human right abuses and build cases to address them,capturing relevant data to undertand migration conditions.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

Two geographies have been selected, Mexico and Spain, both bridge countries, transit, asylum and destination territories for migrants, both facing similar problems but have demonstrated different ways of addressing them; therefore I can implement data-driven solution by MIC. Border cities like Tijuana or Tapachula in Mexico or receiving cities like Madrid or Barcelona in Spain, will benefit from the design thinking methodology that can be implemented to prototype and validate these two contexts.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

While nation-states give rights to their own citizens, these rights stop at the intersection of borders therefore deny rights to migrants. MIC is made for the integration of incoming people into the receiving territories, to collect data to be used for integration policies and migration innovations. MiC can address the lack of Mexican and Central American states having common migration policies via trans-territorial understanding and help to build integrated trans-migration innovation proposals.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Beyond the fulfillment of basic human needs, MIC addresses the human need of having a frictionless access to Human Rights by storing useful information to build dignity ownership through their own stories and experiences. Usually Human Rights are hard to understand by end-user and are seen as a hard approach rather than a common everyday practice. Also the safeguarding of documents and information during the migration phase is vital to refugee and asylum seekers, since their belongings can be robbed or lost during the travels, the MIC platform will encourage the identity -building through useful data. Also, access to a platform where migrants can express, record and store their own data is a trigger for democratic participation providing a voice to grassroots to identify policies for common good that will amplify their needs and demands.For this we conceived My [inte] gration as a data cooperative model for collecting and sharing with a collaborative data protection model.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

-Data-driven information for migration innovation: Technology literacy for vulnerable communities is scarce around the world, especially for raising awareness of problematic situations and how to address these using technology built specifically for migrants and used by them, the aim is to document their individual experiences and collecting data to identify patters that can be used to inform humane policy making innovation, this will be an empowering tool to enhance human dignity and socio-cultural integration. -Raising Human Rights Awareness : People on the move have little awareness that they are protected by Human Rights. The technology platform will be designed for friendly use and raise the awareness that data can be useful for them, but also to raise their awareness of the options available to them and to their circumstances, for example providing relevant information about processes that can help their journey (eg. access to legal help, organizations available to assist them)

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

This idea was born out a challenge for Mexican slums and smart cities that I completed 3 years ago, in which my research showed that most slums are built almost entirely of domestic migration and displacement. The solution proposed was about using big data to understand city dynamics and migration. Since then, several transformation and pivots have been made using design thinking process to understand the underlying problems of migration in different ways. My insights highlighted that the foundation of migrant claims has not been accomplished and as a result abuses continue to occur, across several touch points of the migration journey. My conclusion was that protection of migrant rights need to be addressed as a first step and is a focal point to enable integration of migrants into cities and provide them with better economic, health or education opportunities. We have to tackle the root causes behind the existing perverse migration systems and design and implement systemic change.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

(1)Migrant communities in Mexican borders consist of different migration populations : there are diverse migration activities including people on the move, populations already established on the peripheries of border towns, deported migrants attempting new crossings, as well as returnees looking to re-establish themselves in the country of origin along the borders. These communities are made of men, women and children from diverse backgrounds, ethnicity, age, gender, religions and diverse languages, but mostly of Central American asylum seekers. I have also met people from Haiti, Venezuela or Cuba, as well as migrants from all regions of Mexico. (2) Migration communities in Spain : congregate an integrated community made out of networks, forming unions and collectives with shared interests, like working as street vendors in centric sites in Spain. These communities mostly share the same ethnicity predominantly African (Senegalese) ) but are also Pakistani and Latin American origin

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Empowering migrant’s personal and shared stories and journey: The platform is aimed for highlighting their common stories and experiences to document for policy changes and data -driven advocacy, but also to demonstrate the power of their personal stories that may have shared patters amongst migration communities, this will enhance the belonging to a worldwide movement, stories that millions of people on the move can share and trigger for them, that their stories can contribute for change. My [inte]gration was conceived to give migrants a voice instead of being pushed to the shadows, we believe in empowering the people on the move to speak up for themselves and not infantilize their desires or voices, we also believe that data for good can provide a voice and create a movement in a changing world using the same technology they already use, but this time for data-driven advocacy for justice specifically for a world with 65 million people on the move.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

Collaboration have been established for MIC with the Impact Hub in Tegucigalpa (Honduras), UNDP in Central America, International cooperation agencies in Guatemala , Innovation institutions and innovation departments, as well as Migration Ministry in Mexico and data sovereignty specialists in Spain and Australia. Further allies will have to be established ( some already have been contacted) like Google AI Prize, Universities and Academia in Mexico, Central America and Spain. Also Governments and municipalities, grass-root movements for Human Rights across the borders, Human Rights legal firms, policy innovation labs and legal innovation labs as well as impact investors in Mexico. We have now stablished partnership with the Refugee centres ( casas del migrante ) by jesuits all along Mexico.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Being on the move, crossing borders, and/or temporarily settled

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Systems design: Solutions that target changing larger system

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototype: We have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Group or Organization Name

Good Rebel Design

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Good Rebels design Consultancy by Alejandra Aguilera is a systemic design and behaviour change consultancy based in Mexico. The design consultancy was born to tackle grass root challenges in the Global South and solve them using social innovation solutions and behaviour change communication/branding. I am also consider myself a migrant, having lived in 7 countries around the world, facing migration situations, I have placed my interest in social innovation with special attention in migration.

Type of submitter

  • We are a For-Profit Startup or Startup Social Enterprise

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State


In preparation for expert feedback: What are three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in these categories? These questions will be answered directly by experts matched specifically to your idea. (600 characters)

This platform is made to gather and store data, how might we make it easy and accesible for the migrants to store their data individually, but still make collective knowledge to provide information that is usefull for them? Data sovereignty is a main driver for the design of this platform, the reason it is designed to be a data cooperative so migrants have the ownership and fate of their data, instead of the misuse of third parties, how might we make sure the data is owned and controlled for the migrants ? -How can this platform be widespread, used and adapted by the migrant end users?

Did you use the resources offered during the Improve Phase (mentorship, expert feedback, community research)? (2000 characters)

Thanks to our mentor's insights (A)There are endless human rights violations in all geographies, he himself had been personal witness to several police abuses and raids in Greece. This data platform can be scaled and used by migrants worldwide as well as by international Human Rights monitoring organizations to build innovative legal proposals to win “pilot cases”. (B) In order to understand and effectively use data, we need to create categories of HR, so migrants may systematically and consistently enter their personal data inside the platform in a user friendly GUI (C) People suffering from HR abuse can capture their data testimonies when offline and later upload it when connected to the internet.

During the ethnography of our users: (A) There is a network of Refuge Centers all along the Central America and Mexican migration path that need a platform for monitoring abuse actions by authorities to both migrants and themselves. These networks are willing to collaborate (B) Users from Central America do not trust Human Rights legal institutions managed by the government because they say it’s not reliable. But if it is a non- governmental platform based on technology in partnership with reliable institutions, they are willing to upload their data to have a personal testimony of the experiences (C)  The focus is on women and children migrant human rights. 

Our Expert research feedback: A) A number of Human Rights platforms already use data source software to collect, organize and analyze data but rarely any that collects this data from “vulnerable community” end users themselves. Additionally, the data cooperative model provides a unique methodology to offer data protection B) The need to increase the services available by expanding the system development.

In what ways would potential BridgeBuilder funds allow you to pursue your idea that other funding opportunities have not? (1000 characters)

To date we have received 1 offer of funding (a grant from the Interamerican Bank of Development) that unfortunately was not received due to changes in that organization that prevented their planned funding from proceeding.

Bridge Builder funding can provide us with the capability to quickly scale-up this project so that we can reach many migrants and enable them to tell their personal stories, and collaborate with established allies who are aiming to amplify the voices of migrants suffering from systematic abuses to enhance system-level justice change in many receiving countries.

Many grants in my experience focus on approaches for paternalism of migrants that systematically infantilize their voices, but I love the fact that Bridge Builder and Open IDEO are challenging us to provide innovative approaches that target core problems and go beyond obvious solutions.

What aspects or proportion of the overall idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (1000 characters)

The development of a beta-stage digital data cooperative platform and co-op governance model is our primary objective in the first 2 years.Firstly we will put together a "teampreneurship" model of operation and attract the necessary talent. Our team already consists of a designer specialist, as well an experienced operations manager. We initially require a data analyst, a programmer, and a human’s rights expert, along with outsourced legal and bookkeeping services. Where possible we prefer to hire talented asylum seekers, refugees or returnees with these skills.In short, the funds will be the seed capital needed to:1.Establish the team and its operational systems (40%) 2.Co-create sessions with end users and stakeholders in diverse countries (20%) 3.Test MVP to improve and launch beta platform, test and launch data cooperative model first stage in Mexico, Central America and USA (40%).The seed capital we require is minimum $250K over the initial 2 years.

What are the key steps or activities for your idea for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (1000 characters)

|Year 1| Build the MVP. Design, test & prototype the platform with end users-Build alliances with human rights stakeholders and other allies.Review existing data platforms to determine suitability and capability for use in this project. 

|Year 2|Branding campaign to raise awareness amongst potential users of the data,Document and demonstrate successful use of the data with legal activists,Develop algorithms to identify qualitative/quantitative data.

 |Year 3|Expand the platform for use in multiple countries, modifying the solution as needed to each environment, and building local chapters/resources in other host/origin countries.Raise additional funding to expand the use of the platform.Create our own data and innovation advocacy program.

What will community-level impact look like over the timeframe of your idea? How will you determine whether or not you have achieved that impact? And what outstanding questions do you still have? (1000 characters)

IMPACT by mid 2021 |around 10,000 immigrants, refugees or asylum seekers are part of the data cooperative system in Mexico, Central America and USA. Over 20 stakeholders become part of the data governance cooperative system.The refuge centre network has applied our data coop all along the migration route. At least 1“pilot case” for Human Rights violations for women has been fought and won. Using the data, at least 12 reports on human rights violations have been written by advocates in host countries.

MEASUREMENT.Performance against the above targets are measurable, however our main Theory of Change measurement is the level of justice change for women and children migrants we trigger by 2030. 

QUESTION :How do we achieve vulnerable people's rights and secure HR defenders integrity at the same time by creating a digital HR platform and achieve our objectives for justice change?

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (1000 characters)

Lastly, how did you apply new learnings to your idea? (1000 characters)

Thanks to our mentors we could identify several key topics to pivot to adapt the idea phase and previous strategy: our new approach is to reach women’s and children’s human rights monitoring, we are also becoming a Humans Rights innovation data-driven advocacy, our data protection and security is vital for people on the move so the data cooperative model is our main safeguarding data protection system. We also need a strategy for public relations with highly reliable Human Rights institutions trusted by migrants to be the key partnership model. We need to categorize data and improve UX design platform into monitoring categories for useful case analysis and accurate testimony, also the need to build a user-friendly design front-end and sophisticated back-end. We need branding by trust & transparency as our core values for the platform and cooperative model to have successful outcomes


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