Announcing the Winners of the Americas Datafest Accelerator Grant!

Apps supporting migrants
Announcing the winners of the Americas Datafest Accelerator Grant contest: project Ruta and project Pulso — two apps that leverage technology to support migrants primarily in Latin America.*

DataCenter recently fiscally sponsored the Americas Datafest Accelerator Grant contest. The goal of the contest was to leverage the surge in mobile and computer technology to innovatively address the challenges and opportunities of migration.  Eight teams submitted apps that were reviewed by 17 professors and professionals in computer science. Now, we’re pleased to announce the winners – project Ruta and project Pulso.

Ruta is a web application that uses Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) to map the locations of resources in Mexico. It combines existing data with information obtained from migrants to map the locations of aid centers, hospitals, migrant shelters, danger zones, etc. It is focused primarily on the areas around train routes, a common way for migrants to travel in Mexico.

Pulso addresses the lack of data on migration patterns and trends. The project began as a collaborative effort between the Pulso team and Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM), an on-the-ground migrant workers’ rights organization based in Mexico. Part of CDM’s work involves research, education, and policy advocacy related to the H-2A and H-2B temporary work visa programs. In 2012, over 110,000 migrants workers were employed on H-2 visas in the U.S. and over 80% of those workers were from Mexico. Using mobile phone and text message technology to deploy and collect short surveys, Pulso will provide CDM with the crucial ability to document migrants’ experiences to fill the information vacuum about recruitment under the H-2 temporary work visa programs. This will help raise migrant voices in policy debates.

Both teams will receive $9,750 to help turn their prototypes into real products and services.

The grants are made possible by generous support from Alianza CAMMINA, a joint initiative of the Avina Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundations.


*Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons