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Direct democracy via smartphone

You can do just about everything on your smartphone – so why can’t you use it to engage in politics?

For Pia Mancini in Buenos Aires, it’s not just a far-fetched idea. The young activist has developed what she calls a Democracy Operating System – or DemocracyOS -, an open-source platform for political debate. Political parties and organizations and download the system and repurpose it to suit their own program – like a lot of people do with WordPress blogging software.

The idea is that voters all over the world can easily find out what each party stands for and inform themselves properly.

Pia is also a politician herself and co-founder of Argentina’s tech-savvy Net Party.

Listen to Michael Scaturro’s report from Buenos Aires:

Pia Mancini is convinced that technology and democracy can work together (Photo: M. Scaturro)

Pia Mancini is convinced that technology and democracy can work together (Photo: M. Scaturro)

 

 

Date

Wednesday 30.07.2014 | 06:51

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Young man stands up for women’s rights in Buenos Aires

In Buenos Aires, it’s not uncommon to see ads plastered on every street corner featuring scantily clad women in lascivious positions. The prostitutes for sale, however, are often there against their will. Human trafficking in the sex industry is a major problem.

Jerónimo Velez is working to change that, together with the organization Martes Rojos. He leads volunteers on walks through the city to remove the sex ads. Their aim? To raise awareness for the fact that many of the city’s prostitutes are victims of trafficking.

For some people in the community, it’s unusual that a man like Jerónimo would have the courage to take a stand on this sensitive issue.

Listen to the report by Maria Cruz from Buenos Aires:

Jerónimo Velez

Jerónimo emphasizes that Martes Rojos is non-political (Photo: M. Cruz)

Flyers advertising prostitutes are ubiquitous in Buenos Aires (Photo: M. Cruz)

Flyers advertising prostitutes are ubiquitous in Buenos Aires (Photo: M. Cruz)

Martes Rojos volunteers take to the streets regularly to remove sex ads (Photo: Martes Rojos)

Martes Rojos volunteers take to the streets regularly to remove sex ads (Photo: Martes Rojos)

Reporter Maria Cruz joined in on one of the Martes Rojos walks (Photo: Martes Rojos)

Reporter Maria Cruz joined in on one of the Martes Rojos walks (Photo: Martes Rojos)

 

Date

Wednesday 18.12.2013 | 07:55

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Energy for Argentina’s poor

Getting access to enough energy for heating and electricity is a struggle for people living in Argentina’s poorer communities.

Diego Musolino, 31, has designed a solar water heater which he hopes will provide a cheap, renewable solution, while at the same time reducing his country’s carbon footprint. He co-founded the non-profit Energizar Foundation, which works to help solve social problems by using alternative energy.

Listen to the report by Eilís O’Neill in Buenos Aires, Argentina:

Energy for Argentina’s poor

Diego Musolino

Diego Musolino (left) explains to Pablo Uviedo how to fill the solar water heater. (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Mabel Uviedo

Mabel Uviedo laughs as she prepares Argentina’s traditional mate tea for the Energizar Foundation’s employees and volunteers. (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Diego Musolino and volunteers

Diego (center) and two volunteers assemble the solar water heater in the Uviedos’ backyard. (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Uviedo family

The Uviedos have seven children, who range in age from three to 17. (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Water heater

The solar water heater, constructed entirely from materials made in Argentina, can heat water to about 50°C (122 degrees Fahrenheit). (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Diego Musolino

Diego explains his next project: to install solar panels on homes in this shantytown so that residents will have light even during one of the area’s frequent electricity outages. (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Pilar

The Uviedos live in a shantytown in Pilar, on the outskirts of greater Buenos Aires. (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Date

Tuesday 22.10.2013 | 14:31

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Working to transform mental health care in Argentina

Valeria reads, writes and paints every Saturday with patients at a mental hospital in Buenos Aires. Not only is she the highlight of their week, she’s also hoping to instigate major reforms to the city’s mental health program.

Listen to the report by Eilis O’Neill in Buenos Aires:

Valeria

Valeria helps to give patients a window on the world in Buenos Aires (Photo: Eilis O’Neill)

 

Date

Tuesday 18.06.2013 | 14:03

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Project runway in Buenos Aires

Many young women in the shantytowns of Buenos Aires struggle with drug abuse or unwanted pregnancy. Learning to walk with self-confidence can change that, says Guido Fuentes. So he opened a modeling school.

Listen to the report by Eilis O’Neill in Buenos Aires:

Project Runway in Buenos Aires

Red pumps

Learning to walk with confidence (Photo: Fotolia/Peter Atkins)

Date

Tuesday 21.05.2013 | 12:30

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Music keeps Argentine kids in school

Music education can help at-risk kids stay in school and out of drugs and violence, research indicates. And keeping kids off the streets is exactly what the Caacupé Music School, a free, after-school program in Buenos Aires’ 21-24 Shantytown, aims to do. For the past six years, four paid teachers and four volunteers have given lessons in singing, guitar, piano, violin, and a host of other instruments. They hope to instill a love of music in their students and keep them in school.

Listen to the report by Eilis O’Neill in Buenos Aires:

Argentina music school

A freight train passes the Villa 21-24 shantytown

A freight train passes the Villa 21-24 shantytown in Buenos Aires (Copyright: JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

Date

Wednesday 12.09.2012 | 13:12

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