As a CCTer pursuing a Certificate in Latin American Studies, I had the privilege of being selected as one of eight students to participate in a summer abroad program in Santiago, Chile. Over the course of ten weeks, I took part in a comprehensive course focused on Chile’s history, political economy, and sociology at a partner Jesuit institution called Universidad Alberto Hurtado.
I also participated in an internship at an organization called Ciudadanía Inteligente, which works to harness the power of technology to strengthen democracies in Latin America.
This blog about the power of apps and social media in Chile’s social movements is one of four that I completed during my time abroad, all of which had to do with personal observations of Chile’s culture and society that I found most intriguing.
It goes without saying that technology is often found on the wrong side of social development; increasing digital inequality, increase in cyberbullying, hate speech online, etc. all form part of the negative consequences of tech evolution. However, I have realized in my time in Santiago that technology, as it is in every country, can be harnessed by a population for a good kind of change. At Universidad Alberto Hurtado, I was instantly curious about the stickers on the inside of the womens’ restroom stalls, advertising low-cost access to menstrual products via Instagram. It seems odd and insignificant at first glance, but the implications of using social media to not only create accessibility for healthier and affordable options of menstrual products but also to destigmatize a topic that affects half of the population and is still considered taboo in many places…I think that’s awesome.