[All links lead to Spanish-language sites unless otherwise noted]
Child labor in Latin America is not a new problem. In 2009, at Global Voices we published a series of posts [en] on child labor [en] in the region; more recently, in 2011 we tackled the issue of child workers [en] in Bolivia, and this year we reported about child labor in sugar cane fields in Guatemala [es].
On July 4, 2012, Paula Gonzalo wrote a piece for website Periodismo Ciudadano (“Citizen Journalism) entitled “#Yodigoaquiestoy: una herramienta para denunciar el trabajo infantil en #Colombia” (“#Yodigoaquiestoy [I say I am here]: a tool for denouncing child labor in #Colombia”) where she describes an initiative to put an end to child labor in Colombia with the help of citizens.
We hereby reproduce Paula Gonzalo's post which falls under the Creative Commons license for Attribution – Non Commercial 3.0 Spain (CC BY-NC 3.0).
“Yo Digo Aquí Estoy” (“I say I am here”) is the title of an interesting project by Fundación Telefónica which aims to put an end to child labor in Colombia, counting on citizen participation. More than 1,800,000 children work in this country and more than 90% of them are not identified as such. That's why [the creators of Yo Digo Estoy Aquí] have decided to set up a tool to locate and identify these children so as to give them the opportunity to have a better future.
This application can be downloaded either on your mobile phone or on your computer in order to report about and denounce such kind of situation in three quite simple ways. The first step is to localize the child in a geolocalized information map, created thanks to the Ushahidi software, in which should be included as much information as possible, including photos of the child in question. All this data is stored in a database which will allow tackling the problem of child labor in a more efficient way. The police receive this information so that they can intervene and get the child to leave the job and join school.
Then there is the Twitter hashtagh
#yodigoaquiestoy, so you can also report by tweeting and using this hashtag. Finally you can join the “Aquí Estoy” community and register to collaborate more closely with this initiative.
In these videos you can take a closer look at the work that has been carried out through this initiative so as to succeed in relocating these children so they can have a different childhood. Many of these children have left the street thanks to citizen involvement and participation: