Recently, I participated at ANDICOM30 in Cartagena, Colombia, which was attended by more than 2,500 industry leaders and government officials, including Colombia’s President, Juan Manuel Santos, and Minister of Information Communications Technology, David Luna Sanchez.
I was invited to give a presentation about Qualcomm Wireless Reach, a strategic program that brings wireless technology to underserved communities globally, and serves as a good example of how technology can improve social and economic conditions around the globe. By collaborating with various stakeholders, our programs address government priorities, while demonstrating the positive impact mobile can play in development.
To reinforce the importance of public/private collaborations, I invited a key stakeholder from the “Fishing with 3G Nets” project we launched in 2010 in Brazil to say a few words about his experience working with Wireless Reach. His name is Claudio “Xepa” Mendes, and he is the Superintendent of Fishing at the Municipality of Santa Cruz Cabrália in Brazil.
In his remarks, Mr. Mendes said “the role of local government in traditional fishing and rural communities is often limited due to a lack of resources but when a private company unites with a public entity and a local community, that’s when we start to see desired results.” Many of the fisherman in Brazil are using the additional income to provide basic needs for their families, for example one person had a bathroom constructed in order to provide access to improved sanitation. Mr. Mendes shared that in 2014 one of the participants from the Pataxó indigenous community received national recognition when she won the Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award from SEBRAE, a Brazilian nonprofit entity specializing in the promotion of sustainable development of small and medium size enterprises.
At the end of my presentation a few local fishermen participating in the “Fishing with Mobile Nets” project in Colombia joined me on stage. They expressed that the adoption of mobile technology is providing their community members with unprecedented opportunities for growth both at a personal level and at a business level.
The project has been so successful, that during Minister Luna Sanchez’s keynote speech he mentioned the Fishing with Mobile Nets project and the Ministry of Information Communications Technology’s (MINTIC) commitment to replicate this project in additional communities across Colombia!
With Wireless Reach, one of our goals is for projects to reach sustainability. The support and investment from the government reinforces the fact that we are demonstrating successful and innovative technology solutions to reach positive economic impact on various industries, like fishing.
Given this new commitment, there will be a total of 5 communities integrated into the Fishing with Mobile Nets project by the end of the year: 3 communities that are funded by Wireless Reach, Telefonica Foundation and USAID and the 2 additional communities that will be integrated with funds from the MINTIC.
To learn more about the project, watch the video here.