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Boricuas prove their leadership

by Valerie A. López Jiménez

Humanity is not lost. The world has people interested in the social good. The participants of the ChangeMaker Foundation Pivot Accelerator are such people.

During the summer of 2021, a group of pivots accepted an invitation to learn about new strategies that could help promote the development of their organizations and social enterprises. To participate in Cohort 1, these entities even came from different parts of the Island: they are COSSAO in Utuado, Visit Rico in Arecibo, CoMesa in Santurce, Fe Que Transforma in Vieques and Botica del Bosque in Jayuya. They all have their priority in food security as a common denominator.

Between June and July, 9 women and 1 man explored three themes: Data Culture, Digital Communication and Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.

Data Culture was the opening theme which is a difficult and complex topic about planning, data collection, and classification and research. The entrepreneurs quickly engaged in the discussion thanks to the mentoring of Flordeliz Serpa. In this section, they learned to design a data map, plan the frequency of data collection and reporting, to propose the actors’ roles related to the control and candor of the information, to design a preliminary draft of an information management policy, and to draft a short report on basic data and information analysis, among other things.

Digital Communication, taught by Adriana Díaz, explored the importance of updating communication methods to adapt to the latest trends to promote and work on their projects. Easy access to information is achieved through digitization. Participants acquired a deeper understanding of the visualization, organization, and optimal tools to develop networks bridging their organization to their audience. This is important given the social aspect involved.

The session on Equity, Inclusion and Diversity reflected on social behavior. Mariely Rivera, who led this part of the workshop, pointed out that discrimination exists beyond skin tone or ideologies and social injustice also exists in food security, leadership processes and language. Specific tools were provided to facilitate healthy and inclusive communication between members of a group or organization, opportunities to develop concrete actions to integrate an equitable vision to a data culture, digital communication based on access to information, transparency, and non-judgmental language, among others.

These three topics were included in the micro-projects that each entity developed during this journey together with the ChangeMaker Foundation, where they were able to learn and polish the skills necessary to promote community work. All this was achieved through the mentoring of professional women in charge of the workshops of Cohort 1. However, this would not have been possible without the commitment of the participants to progress and their desire to help Puerto Rican communities, and the support of the Cultura de Líderes program through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an ally of the ChangeMaker Foundation.

This is how an initiative could help strengthen Puerto Rico's emerging social organizations and businesses in these times of social reconstruction happening in the Island. Just as it is enough for each person to contribute a grain of sand to cover the coasts against coastal erosion, the same happens with leaders who launch themselves into society to build a better world.

For more information about ChangeMaker Foundation: Fact Sheet

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