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Improving security and life quality of social leaders with a mobile app and an offline program providing selfcare and security protocols.

Photo of Lina Torres
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Despite all efforts to ensure peace in Colombia, human rights and environmental activists continue to be systematically murdered. Between January 1, 2016 and May 18, 2018, 400 of them were killed and many others threatened. Aside from members of a community, these activists are shields that protect their community’s rights and resources. Their systematic death is not only a threat to a nascent peacebuilding process, but to the rights and resources they protect. By developing this project we seek to connect the threatened leaders with resources to obtain the necessary protection and security to continue with their work, thus contributing to the creation of a secure environment necessary for the peacebuilding process in Colombia. We will do so, by designing an integral platform based in three axes implemented through online and offline protocols: self-care, security and technology. On the online workstream we will scale and continue building from the beta version of a mobile app that provides a panic button to send security alerts and geo-location to a network of 6 pre-established contacts. The app was piloted last year with a group of activists from ​​Uraba, Antioquia and is ready for upgrading and scaling. The development of this online tool, goes hand in hand with the creation of a constant feedback loop with social leaders, the creation of partnerships with the authorities in Colombia, the design of a complementary analog toolbox for self-care and security, and a capacity building process that will be the focus of the offline workstream. By creating this comprehensive route we will be able to identify threatened social leaders in the ground, train them on key self protection and security protocols, provide them with offline and online tools to improve their personal security and build networks and alliances with local communities and authorities to work together on sheltering social leaders and activists.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Social leaders, activists, environmental and human rights defenders at risk in Colombia will benefit from this project by improving their security and obtaining relevant tools and skills. For this initial scaling phase, the project will focus in five major Colombian cities -Bogotá, Cartagena, Buenaventura, Florencia, Cali and Medellín- that will serve as regional hubs to continue testing and adjusting the technology and offline protocols before expanding them at a national level. Although the offline training and partnership-building work will be focused in those cities, the app will be available online and has the potential of getting a national reach. This is particularly relevant considering the Government’s current incapability to provide security to all threatened leaders. Moreover, this project has the potential of being scaled to other contexts where environmental and human rights defenders are being attacked, killed and / or detai

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Due to the massification of technology and telecommunications, currently 70% of the Latin American population has a smartphone. We are working with a unique digital application with the power to connect, alert and protect social and environmental leaders through a digital panic button. Once installed on a smartphone, it gives the option to choose from 3 to 6 contacts on the phone, and has three types of alerts that are sent by instant messaging. This is an innovative approach to a problem that is getting out of hand and for which the only options available are a) waiting for the authorities to provide proper protection or b) empowering the leaders and their communities to protect themselves. None of the options provides a complete answer to this very complex issue, but our approach allows us to take action, puts the power back on the communities and takes advantage of the technology and resources available to give hope to many anonymous heroes all over Colombia.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Movilizatorio is a citizen engagement and social innovation lab that facilitates multi-stakeholder collaboration and learning for social impact by creating tools that allow people's full engagement with government and communities, working with existing technologies that can connect the unconnected and enhancing democratic values ( We have been working in conflict affected areas over a year now, particularly with our project DICIENDO Y HACIENDO where we developed

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered company.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Colidérate was created by a group of young people in Urabá, Antioquia. For them, this project provides the necessary lifeline to continue developing their role as community leaders. One of the people working on the project, -an engineer from Turbo, Urabá- has been a great inspiration for the team. As he was testing the application he received threats for this work, but instead of ending his participation, he decided to keep resisting in hopes that this project will help many others like him.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

According to the last report delivered in 2018 by the Ombudsman's Office in Colombia, of the 33 existing states in the country, 32 are identified as high risks territories, this means that 96.96% of the country suffers from insecurity for human rights defenders and social leaders. The work carried out by these leaders who dedicate their lives to protect and represent collective causes is fundamental and generates a positive impact. Preserving, protecting and encouraging the work of human rights defenders, social and environmental leaders, generates a positive domino effect; when the lives of these leaders are protected, their work can transform their realities. They can lead, support, promote and stimulate their communities, generate stronger protection of natural resources and stop group violence. By investing in the protection of social leaders we make an investment on human rights, the environment and the sustainability of peace.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

The Embassy of Sweden provided initial monetary support in the piloting phase of the project. The Guardian Project, -a group of North American developers- allowed us to work with their app Circle of Six, developed with us a Spanish Beta Version of it and provided us with advice and support throughout the piloting phase. The Collective “Visible Women” and “The Pacific Route” in Urabá helped us to test the app on their networks and provided us with feedback. For the scaling phase we will partner with key institutions such as the Presidency of the Republic, the Interior Ministry and the Ombudsman's Office in order to articulate their protection efforts to the route provided by our app and toolkits, and with 250 members of El Avispero network to create groups of users in the focus regions. With this we’ll have a the technical backing of The Guardian Project, a solid group of early adopters with El Avispero and institutional backing to respond to high risk situations when required.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

During the pilot phase, we were able to experience how excited social leaders were and still are of having a tool to support their safety. The strengths detected are: the enthusiasm to learn about a new tool for self-protection, the openness of working and connecting with other leaders, the proactivity to give feedback, the willingness to become multipliers, the plurality of ethnicity, wisdom and age that debunk the idea that only young people or young adults are keen users of technology.

Geographic Focus

Five major cities in Colombia: Bogotá, Cartagena, Buenaventura, Florencia, Cali and Medellín

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Based on the time frame of our initial phase, we are considering a 24 months timeline to place our project idea in at least 5 Colombian cities that will serve as regional hubs for a wider expansion process. In this first scaling phase we will be able to test our partnership model, develop basic instruments to work with local networks of social leaders and institutions, and have the basic buy-in to expand to more distant and conflict affected regions.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Shikha Dixit

Dear Lina, I appreciate your idea. We have also used smart phones in collecting evidences on issues of water and sanitation in remote rural areas of India. Through our experience we feel that there is a need to have more user friendly mobile applications for collecting information on environmental attributes is succinct manner. Best of luck.

Photo of Lina Torres

Hi Shikha. Totally agree. We also need to work on some connectivity issues in certain regions. How are you dealing with that in rural India? Is there complete access?