Even thinking of publishing an International Ecosystem Social Innovations Journal edition dedicated to Colombia was a real challenge. This edition was made possible by the introductions and connections made by the Eisenhower Fellows and Alejandra Navas-Martinez, a native Colombian who spent hundreds of hours building the infrastructure and meeting with Colombia’s Social Sector leaders. Our shared passion and goal of showing the world all that Colombia has to offer, contribute, and teach, were the strategies that will make this publication a success.
We believe that the potential of good ideas to inspire more good ideas cannot be underestimated. As we attempted to focus this edition on Bogota’s Social Innovations we learned that every obstacle we encountered lost its power in the face of this irrepressible force and resulted, organically, with good ideas finding their own way to the light to accomplish their mission and inspire more ideas.
Alejandra Navas-Martinez best expressed the impact of this edition when read by our international readers. “There are no words to describe how my life became richer after meeting all the authors of this edition. Vulnerability and courage are the words I would use to describe the topics of the articles: From specialized care to enable children to access education, the very quality of this education, the inclusion of parents, and the possibility that companies include among their goals of social responsibility their employees’ children; the use of a game to help young people take the reins in their lives and stay away from drug and alcohol addictions; girls who have had a traumatic past opening their eyes to the world’s possibilities through dreams and empowerment to create a pathway to a much better future; the access to retirement savings and incentives to promote preparing for retirement; and from another point of view, supporting our elders’ sharing their stories and memories as a way to improve their cognitive abilities; allowing access to a decent wage based on skills, daring to include people with intellectual disabilities and eradicating the fear associated with someone being different, and the creation of a welcoming environment to enable those with intellectual disabilities to have a job; an initiative concerned about Bogotá and its problems and leaders who are set apart by their reliance on academic support networks and their conscious commitment to service; rewarding good ideas, audacity, and courage to solve problems affecting all of us; giving a hand to those who struggle to move forward with their projects and who lack access to traditional banks and financing possibilities; building cities that think strategically about their inhabitants to enable them to live with dignity; the development of projects focused on communities that live with violence and are in dire need of support and constructive help; and finally, the environment, the urgent need to commit to the preservation of our natural resources and the creation of programs to consciously and sustainably manage them. I’m honored and humbled by the great work happening in Bogota and I congratulate the social sector leaders who are driving these excellent initiatives.”
From each one of these articles we can highlight common elements -- leadership, commitment to service and helping others, and the audacity and awareness that only by working together and searching for integral and sustainable solutions can we make the impossible become possible. We hope that the inspiring power of every one of these articles leaves an impact on each of you and inspires you to have the audacity to lead efforts based on new ideas and change.
Yours in Innovation,
Nicholas Torres, Co-Founder
Tine Hansen-Turton, Co-Founder
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