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Coding, development of video games and neuroempowerment, as therapy and empowerment of young women at risk.

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Many communities in Latin America have vulnerable and at risk young women between the ages of 15 and 18. Within this large group are young Ecuadorians, Venezuelan and Colombian migrants living in Ecuador. This group of young women has skills and interest in technology. 



A. Therapy, coaching and empowerment of girls who have suffered gender-based violence through the development of video games.

B. Cognitive, creative and entrepreneurial empowerment of girls through the acquisition of frontend programming skills.

C. The creation of working communities in video games and programming for the promotion of networking as a factor contributing to resilience, as prevention of violence for gender reasons and as a generator of community care and protection against adversity.

Why work with 15 to 24 year old Ecuadorian women, Colombian and Venezuelan women migrants living in Ecuador?

Young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are women at risk, highly vulnerable, first because they are a population that is about to graduate or is graduated from the secondary school that does not always have the option of pursuing a career University, that is to say, that his family needs this young woman to start working immediately to contribute to the home, however, his low or no work experience closes the doors to him, causes them to work for wages that do not cover their basic needs or that opt for jobs Which do not provide for job security.

Secondly, it is also a population, which if it has the possibility of entering a state university, is in a situation of transition, because it must first pass the university entrance examination, ENES (National Exam for Higher Education), which represents A great challenge due to the structural deficiencies of the initial education. Each year the number of admitted in university spaces is lower, it is estimated that at least 32 thousand young people are frustrated their aspirations each year, which also encourages them to desist from their attempt to enter university.

Added to this, these young women have to deal with different obstacles that stem from structural violence and gender-based violence, to mention a few, we may find that: they are single mothers, having to look after their children, not they have time to work or study, they do not have health insurance, they live in remote and dangerous neighborhoods, they suffer from domestic violence, they are potentially potential victims of femicide. All this affects not only their self-esteem but also reproduces social inequality and puts their lives at risk. 

Plus this women suffer an important Earthquake (2016) on the coast of this country, Many of them had to move to other parts of the country or remain in precarious conditions. Today the Ecuadorian State is rebuilding these cities.

In the case of migrant refugee women coming from Colombia, these are women who arrive in Ecuador in greater numbers after the establishment of Plan Colombia in the year 2000. Nine years later, the number of Colombian refugees worldwide is 389,753 and 4,900,000 are the internally displaced, which accounts for the growing humanitarian crisis in this country, obviously the neighboring countries are the recipients of the highest rates of migration. Until 2008 at least 53% of the Colombian migrant population are women. By 2015, there are 60073 Colombian refugees recognized in Ecuador, of which a similar percentage are still women.

The history of their migration is multifactorial, but most are marked by the violence of drug trafficking in their country, some come with their families and others are exploited labor and sexually in the borders, reason why only a fraction of this population will have opportunity to follow the school or the university in Ecuador.

In this regard, it is important to recognize that Ecuador, since the Constitution of Montecristi in 2008 an important advance in the principle of universal and Latin American citizenship, because it does not criminalize migration, thus, the Ecuadorian Constitution starts from the principle that no human being can be considered illegal.

In the case of Venezuelan migrant women, most of them arrive in Ecuador because of the political economic crisis in their country. For the first half of 2016, 4063 Venezuelans entered Ecuador, there being no source of numerical data for gender reasons, however, in an approximation to this population, the percentage of migrant women is significant.

The primary occupation of this human group is the informal and itinerant sale of food, stylists. It is important to emphasize that, unlike the Colombian migrant population, the Venezuelan migrant population in Ecuador that arrived in 2000, has studies and skilled labor, but with precarious work or absence of labor source. This community tries to establish circles and networks to collaborate economically.

The Ecuadorian State recognizes that the problem in this human group, but does not have a clear policy to be able to offer them work, insert them into a productive system and give them social security. That is why this project is important.


  • It is a profitable business because the growing number of businesses in the world use the internet as a means of dissemination and promotion.
  • The demand for software in the market is high because it allows managing greater processes of contemporary life.
  • Programmers are one of the best paid sectors in relation to other professions.
  • You can work on managing your own time.
  • The learning curve is not very long in time and anyone can learn.
  • It is a growing and current industry.
  • The notion of success in entrepreneurship, of having a source of work and decent remuneration, restore confidence and strengthen self-esteem in women who dedicate themselves to programming.
  • Having a network of fellow programmers who exchange work experiences, contributes to learning faster and better quality.


  • It is a profitable business because you do not necessarily only have to be a programmer or computer engineer but the industry requires different profiles.
  • A large number of the population has access to mobile devices that are constantly in need of more content.
  • The video game industry is growing, it can be compared to the film industry of the twentieth century.
  • It does not need complicated distribution channels.
  • You can work at home and have your time
  • It allows the development of technological capacities as a way of subsistence
  • The development of video games from the local narratives is a potential for the generation of self-esteem, identity empowerment based on the recognition and appreciation of indigenous Afro indigenous roots as an Ecuadorian, Venezuelan and Colombian population capable of promoting intercultural environments and fighting against xenophobia.
  • The video game is capable of generating work in community and the visualization of needs and social problems for reasons of gender violence of a community, therefore also works as individual and collective therapy.
  • The development of the video game is an activity that strengthens and promotes the development of creativity.
  • The development of the game promotes teamwork and community.


  • Neuroempowerment, being a transversal accompaniment as a coaching, promotes in the girls the permanent learning of the resolution of conflicts, it increases the levels of tolerance to the frustration, it promotes the recognition, valuation of the achievement and the importance of the responsibility. It also provides coping strategies in the face of failure, thus promoting the development of healthy self-esteem.
  • Neuroempowerment works on irrational beliefs that block young women in achieving their goals and seeks to overcome and heal wounds caused by gender-based violence.
  • Neuroempowerment promotes resilient factors to trauma or depressed emotional states because of displacement or migration.
  • Neuroempowerment involves networks of interconnected women who support each other and reduce the likelihood of desertion, feeling of failure.
  • Working ethics and the importance of care with neuroempowerment are empowered by women, therefore promoting the importance of personal and collective self-care and the generation of a protective network that collaborates and contains the same women in the face of possible situations of adversity.


Why is it important to work on self-esteem and sorority (a term coined by feminists to account for solidarity among women)?

Many projects for women fail in the short term, because women come to depend on some institution or NGO, or end up abandoning the project because it did not have a long-term projection, because it is not sustainable, generating relationships Dependent on the users of the project, generate frustration, revictimization and frustration.

If women work in self-esteem, women recognize their abilities and acquire tools to overcome difficulties that make structural and family violence independent.

If a woman improves her income and achieves labor independence, she can improve her condition of life.

The revaluation of their cultural practices makes the use of technology not impositive or unidirectional, but technology is recreated from the south based on the local knowledge and use of technology by this group of women.

On the other hand, working in sorority or network, involves strengthening solidarity between groups of women who encourage each other, promote ethical values and teamwork, are capable of generating ideas in a group, generate community, a type of community that Not only relying on work, but also, being a network of containment prevents the desertion of projects that each woman has, and can reduce the prevalence of gender-based violence.

The generation of community can be expanded to the extent that the use of technology can cause them to generate security maps in their neighborhoods, take care of each other in cases of intra-family violence, be able to break free from intrafamily violence.

The conditions that these women encounter are similar in the region and can be similar in another southern world, that is a possibility of escalation, replication of the project, exchange of experiences and therefore of peace promotion.


There are basically two forms of use of technology as a means of empowerment that adds to a transversal accompaniment of strengthening of self-esteem and the generation of ethical networks of containment, protection and trust, so it is a unique project of its kind.

One of the ways of working in technology refers to the use of technological applications for the strengthening of skills, such as handling word processors, accounting packages, game development. On the other hand, a second form of technology refers to the technological development expressed in programming, learning coding languages for the development of web pages, etc.

However many of the proposals that are based only on the second form do not take into account:

  1. The difficulty of finding markets for skilled people and this because competing with global sense products is very difficult because of the large number of companies with large capitals that control the markets.
  2. They do not think that technology development can be a form of therapy to strengthen self-esteem, fight against xenophobic violence and discrimination, by recognizing their problems and expressing them in concrete narrative products. For example, creating video games that warn of sexual harassment, or websites that incorporate equality criteria, or risk mapping.
  3. While it can not be said that all social conditions are identical, one can think that there are certain structural similarities in several realities, especially in countries of the global south, so that the proposed methodology can be used throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia or countries with machismo and xenophobia.

The project will work because curves of learning for the initial development of technology are not very long today, it is possible to start a career as a frontend or video game developer in less than three months. At the same time, being these cultural products and knowledge, they need a greater diversity of skills, such as graphic designs, scripts, harmonized music in programming.

Another argument of success is that the growth of digital societies demands greater production, each time with more thoughtful and original senses, that is why the bet is to present local realities based on narratives of their own cultural identity. Like the stories of the board of neighbors, the struggles of women in their countries, which show a larger audience, authentic and valuable cultural expressions.

It has been demonstrated that the therapy through games and work is efficient, this proposal not only seeks to create users of video games, but to develop them as a way of producing work for the improvement of self-esteem.

Locally (in Ecuador) the project will be successful, because we can count on alliances in different social sectors and with the government since this idea works perfectly within the strategic objectives of the State; The project is related to the development policies of the social economy of knowledge in Ecuador. The efforts begun in 2013 with the Organic Code of Social Economy of Knowledge and in 2016 with the Social Economy of Knowledge Plan by which the government and civil society of Ecuador seek the development of a creative, plural and value-added economy .

Related to the National Plan for Good Living (2013-2017) of the Republic of Ecuador. In particular with the; Objective 2. To promote equality, cohesion, inclusion and social and territorial equity, diversity / P2.1 To generate conditions and capacities for economic inclusion, social promotion and the eradication of progressive poverty. Inclusion and social cohesion, peaceful coexistence and a culture of peace, forms of discrimination and violence; Objective 4. Strengthen the capacities and potential of citizens P4.3 Promote non-formal spaces and lifelong learning for the exchange of knowledge and knowledge for the cognitive society P4.6 Promote reciprocal interaction between Education, transformation of the productive matrix and the satisfaction of needs; Objective 8. Strengthen the social economic system and solidarity, sustainable / P8.1 Investing public resources to generate sustained economic growth and structural transformations.

The Ecuadorian state has earmarked large funds to promote the creation of a knowledge economy and Internet connectivity throughout the country. Proof of this is the gigantic investment in the construction of the Knowledge City called Yachay (knowledge in Kichwa), and the habilitation of more 490 public and free Internet centers (Infocentros) throughout the country. 

The emergence of an ecosystem of knowledge, technology and entrepreneurship from the private and citizen sector, expressed in a growing number of incubators and coworkings throughout the territory, which need more creative professionals and specialized in technology, Deep social and market visions.


  • We have a team of highly specialized people in the field of psychology, gender, programming, technology development, understanding of the social reality of Latin America.
  • We have important institutional allies within the Ecuadorian State to carry the project out.
  • We have infrastructure like infocentros, which are free and to which every young woman can access.
  • It is the beginning of a new life for women who with the knowledge acquired can be the protagonists of their own lives.

Explain your idea

EFECTO -CHICA: It has the following objectives: Main goal •Empower and heal cognitively-emotionally at-risk young women between the ages of 15 to 24, Ecuadorians, Colombian and Venezuelan migrants living in Ecuador through the development of technology (programming and video games) and neuroempowerment. Specific objectives •Cognitive and economic empowerment of women through the generation of skills and acquisition of tools for the front end programming and development of video games, which allow them a decent economic subsistence and autonomous administration of their working hours. •To promote resilicience, therapeutic healing and the strengthening of self-esteem in women through the development of video games with local narrative content that accounts for the problems that cross this national and migrant age group, in order to make their risk situation visible and to heal wounds produced through structural violence and gender-based violence. •To strengthen cognitive, emotional and behavioral young women through neuroempowerment as a transversal coaching to the whole process to promote at individual and network level, tools of continence, protection and empowerment of healthy self-esteem that allows them to face adversity and reduce the prevalence of Violence due to gender or migration or displacement. PROCESS: •Face-to-face training in technology development (front-end programming and video game development) •On-line training in technology development (front-end programming and video game development) •Assignments of neuroempowerment - group therapies •Neuroempowerment workshops •Fair and promotion of talents •Workshops given by the women users of the project to other women to exchange experiences of learning and achievements. •Generation of work networks •Successful Women's Motivational Lectures •Promotion of public policy through exposure of achievement and progress of the initiative.

Who Benefits?

The beneficiaries are women Ecuadorians ( indigenous, mestizos and afros) and colombian and venezuelan migrants and refugees women aged 15 to 24 living in Ecuador who are at social risk.

How is your idea unique?

•It is an initiative that links technology and psychology for the empowerment of young women at risk •Promotes and respects non-scientific knowledge, ancestral knowledge, culture and popular knowledge. •Promotes the recognition and appropriation and reinvention of the technology from the uses of the locality (global south). •Can work in any neighborhood, city, community of Ecuador, where there are women between 15 and 24 years of age, because of the proximity and opportunity of free access to Infocentros. •Can be replicated at the global South level, allowing for a broader and more enriching exchange of experiences of achievement and learning among the networks of young women. •Has the principle that caring for and strengthening a young woman, also improves their immediate environment, therefore, this project has its impact on the direct family environment of these women as in their friends, neighborhood and city. •Developing ethical networks, reduce of gender violence

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

Tell us more about you

Im, Daniela Leyton Michovich, am a psychologist specializing in systemic cognitive behavioral psychology, with two masters in the field of social conflict and cultural studies. Currently, I am a PhD candidate for Latin American Studies, an activist and human rights advocate. I have worked as a voluntary adviser to the president of the National Assembly for Human Rights, I was an activist for the defense of the human rights of the indigenous peoples of TIPNIS and I am an activist in defense of women's rights, I have worked as a therapist for women in Situation of violence, I also worked with populations of women in situations of migration Colombia-Ecuador. He has been in Ecuador for a little more than 4 years. I have participated in national and international conference (Braz., Col., Bol. Ec.) Experience work:15 years. This project has as partners to a number of institutions: FOUNDATION MEDIA-LAB UIO QUITO: It is part of the International Center of Advanced Studies of Communication for Latin America (CIESPAL), located in the city of Quito - Ecuador. The Medialab is a center of experimentation and opening of topics on digital culture in Ecuador, based on experimentation as a fundamental methodology for learning and generating new ideas related to the fields of; Culture, Art, Technology and Society. At the end of 2016, Medialab was recognized with the Google Rise award for the promotion of computer science in population K12, Wawakipu project seeks to awaken computational thinking in children and adolescents from peripheral sectors of the city, based on the programming of video games through Scratch, based on ancestral indigenous histories to promote environments of interculturality and think of technology from cultural identity. Currently, this project is developed in collaboration with Infocentros of the Ministry of Telecommunications (Mintel) with a projection of 18 public Internet centers in the outskirts of Quito, as well as other foundations and schools in the city. Wawakipu has several manuals and video game development as pedagogical tools.Mapping of the Ecuadorian coast after the earthquake of April 15 ( Coord: with Llajtalab) MCCTH: MINISTRY COORDINATOR OF KNOWLEDGE AND HUMAN TALENT ECUADOR. Will provide: •Contact networks •Promotion of public policy SENECYT: NATIONAL SECRETARY OF HIGHER EDUCATION OF ECUADOR: Responsible for the development of Innovation policies and Higher Education Ecuador Will provide: •Network of contacts and databases of the users •Promotion of public policy MINTEL: MINISTRY OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS ECUADOR: Will provide: •Provide access and space to Infocentros •Promotion of public policy ESCUELA POLITÉCNICA NACIONAL (NATIONAL POLYTECHNICAL UNIVERSITY): Will provide: •Physical spaces for workshops •Network of work contacts •Human capacities UNIVERSIDAD ANDINA SIMÓN BOLIVAR SEDE ECUADOR Will provide: •Human capacities METROPOLITAN DESIGN INSTITUTE: Will provide: •Human capacities

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years
  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Daniela!

Thank you for sharing your project. It is really interesting!

What is the plan for the next 1,2 and 3 years?

How would you achieve this criteria - You are a certified non-profit or for-profit organization, and have worked in your sector for at least a year.? Would this be through one of your partners?


Dear Kate thank you for the feedback!! we apprecciate !! .
The project start in the city of Quito at the infocentros, we think start here with the goal groups and at the same time with monitoring groups for testing, adjust and improve the metodology , this in the first year , the next two and three years we project work at the coast of the country here in Ecuador . We will work speacially with medialab UIO like partner , they have 2 years of specific experience with this kind of projects , they are a non profit organization.

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