Emma Camarero: “With intensive ICT training lasting just two days, you can achieve extraordinary results”

During May and June, Emma Camarero, professor of the Department of Communication and Education at Universidad Loyola, stayed in the Dominican Republic and Paraguay as part of the training actions of the projects implemented by Fundación ETEA – Development Institute of Universidad Loyola. The aim has been to provide ICT training to improve the agricultural marketing of Paraguayan women and increase young Dominicans’ employment opportunities. This training has directly benefited more than 160 people.

This type of training generates an extraordinary impact in the short term, as it allows the beneficiaries of the workshops to immediately start using their mobile phones as real communication tools, and not only to send text or voice messages and make calls,” explains Camarero. Women producers, in particular, greatly appreciate the opportunity to learn how to use their phones more effectively. They feel empowered. After all, before participating in these workshops, they had been kept out of the marketing process because they thought (maybe due to their social environment) they were not qualified.

Emma Camarero has been working on development projects since 2010, specifically as a trainer in media literacy and ICTs for social change. Since then, she has given workshops in much of Latin America and Africa, with more than 1200 direct beneficiaries, who have improved their ability to use accessible technologies – the mobile phone (or mobile phone), in most cases – to expand their skills in social networks, market their products or position their brand, company or idea through the internet.

Tools for developing communication projects in the Dominican Republic

In May this year, together with the communication consultant Óscar Gómez, the professor traveled to the Dominican Republic, where Universidad Loyola and Fundación ETEA are developing the project “Digitalisation in disadvantaged populations in the Dominican Republic to contribute to their digital development in the context of the SDGs and COVID-19”, funded by AACID. More than 90 young people and teachers from three institutions of the Society of Jesus in this country participated in these ICT workshops, which took place in Santo Domingo, San Cristóbal and Dajabon, the latter on the border with Haiti. This training aimed to improve the communication skills of the young people and educators so that the knowledge and tools acquired during these workshops would enable them to develop communication projects capable of giving optimal visibility to their projects and applying them in their professional and educational spheres. Communication initiatives, such as Tana and Arelina’s bookshop café, are designed so children can access books and become fond of reading.

Digitalization and Agroecology in Paraguay

In June 2023, Emma Camarero traveled again to Latin America, specifically to Paraguay, where Universidad Loyola and Fundación ETEA, together with Alter Vida, have several projects funded by the Spanish (and Andalusian) Cooperation, whose general objectives focus on the development of organic peasant agriculture and agroecological digitization to improve the economic situation of women producers and their families. In this case, the workshops, held in Asunción, Villarrica and San José Obrero, were adapted to the profile of the participants, most of whom were rural women with little or no training but with a vital empowerment as agroecological producers. For this reason, the intensive two-day workshops focused on improving the communication skills of the technicians and producers to give optimal visibility to their projects and apply them in their areas of production and commercialization, using accessible technologies. To this end, we worked on creating a personalized discourse and communication project -storytelling-emphasizing the values and strong points of each of them, and using the available channels that best adapted to each life story for its dissemination.

As soon as I heard this training would take place, I wanted to participate. Because it hurts to see that your daughters are using their mobile phones and you can’t, and you have to ask someone else to record videos, take photos, or post on Facebook. And now I know how to do it”, explains Julia Jiménez, a 64-year-old organic producer, in the video taken during one of the workshops in Paraguay.

The results obtained in these workshops have been published in scientific research works, but “what I want to highlight from this intensive training is that we work for social change and that social change is possible when you understand what they need to communicate, what medium and what technology they have at their disposal to do so and, above all, what extraordinary story that deserves to be told is behind each one of them” (Emma Camarero).