We Give Back: Using Code to Support Communities with 'Code for Venezuela'
Vlociter Diego Garcia leveraged his tech background to support Code for Venezuela in their efforts to solve the most pressing needs of the country.
I was born in Venezuela during a time when the country was prosperous and was on a trajectory for success. However, in the last decade, I have seen the country I once called home and its people experience innumerable challenges. Hyperinflation has led to scarcity, famine, and a myriad of other humanitarian issues. These conditions have caused “fuga de cerebro” in other words “brain drain.” The current generation of motivated young professionals who want to foster change has left the country, leaving the country with an aging population struggling to identify a future.
Taking all of this into account, being a part of the technology community, I knew I could have an impact on the issues that mattered to me, I just needed to find the right avenue.
In my efforts to find an avenue to give back, I was introduced to Code for Venezuela through a mutual friend at Salesforce. I joined a Hackathon and met the group like-minded individuals who shared my passion for our country. The organization sought to bring together technologists and innovators who care about Venezuela and leverage the talents and networks to solve the most pressing needs of the country. My interest was piqued and I continued to do projects with the group and was eventually asked to become a member.
While there are a number of challenges, we focused our energy and resources on the health and public service issues the country is currently facing. We leverage technology to collect data and analyze it in accordance with what people need to see. For example, with the recent impact of COVID-19 across the country, we have worked on several solutions to help diagnose and collect information on how to help our healthcare workers.
You can find more information about it here: https://www.codeforvenezuela.org/covid19bot.
Further, all of the data we collect is shared on an open data platform and is intended to be shared so that it can be leveraged by others. As an engineer, being part of an organization that is built on open source and built on open data makes me proud of the work and how it can be used by other organizations.
This is most clearly seen in the bots we’ve created. People who are living in Venezuela are able to tweet and converse with these bots, on various platforms, when things like power outages and gasoline shortages occur. This then gives us the information we need to compile and share with relevant stakeholders who are aiming to fix these problems. across the country. Another example of our bot technology is what we’ve done to increase access to medicine and medical supplies. Facilities who have the supplies, for example, Amoxicillin, are able to tweet they have it and the bot then notifies individuals and hospitals who are in need. This model has enhanced people’s ability to gain access to the life-saving items they need.
As we look to the future we are excited to use our expertise to provide technology to enhance the quality of life more broadly. We want to ensure the data we are collecting is not only publicly available but is getting attention from the media to enhance the visibility of the crisis in a country where accurate information is often manipulated. Further, we are aware that our country is not alone in the struggles it faces. Paying deference to the model of Code for America we aspire to create a replicable model that could be used in other countries to positively impact even more people.
The technology community connected me to Code for Venezuela, which has now become an invaluable part of my life. If you’re interested in joining us in our goal to build and create change for good please get involved! Or if you are interested in sponsoring some of the work we are doing to create equitable access to vital supplies please consider a donation.
Vlocity Value: We Give Back
Giving back is becoming increasingly important and is prioritized in the enterprise technology business community nowadays. Since the founding of the company, one of Vlocity’s core values has been “We Give Back.” This value aligns with those of Salesforce closely, particularly when it comes to Vlociters volunteering their time or corporate charitable donations in the health and human services arena. This post is one in a series of posts sharing stories of our employees, customers, and partners giving back in a wide variety of ways.