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AmorXLOCOMBIA

Addressing Food Insecurity and Healthcare in Colombia during COVID-19

42% of Colombians who live off their daily earnings, i.e. members of the informal economy, became unable to access basic food or healthcare due to the nationwide stay-at-home orders when COVID-19 hit in 2020.

The unemployment rate in Colombia increased from 10.5% in 2019 to 16.8% in 2020, with most job losses coming from the informal economy. The pandemic and the subsequent stay-at-home orders resulted in a loss of livelihoods for many informal workers, who often lack social protections such as sick pay or unemployment benefits. 

Some of the more affected communities were just outside of Barranquilla, Colombia. I subsequently created AmorXLOCOMBIA created to sustain 100 families with food, water, and biosecurity kits for the 156-day quarantine. Major brands such as Coca-Cola and Anheuser Busch In-Bev collaborated to establish a distribution program and provide safe food and necessary healthcare items.

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1. Ideation through Call to Action

"I'd rather die of COVID, than of hunger", among other headlines pervaded publications and media outlets in Colombia. AmorXLOCOMBIA also took to social media and created a viral music video, Odio X Amor, to spread our mission and receive donations.

 

Funds raised from the music video helped launch LOCOMBIA as a brand and yielded the first meal distribution.  

2. Discovery and Mission

After coordinating with charity organizations and nonprofits in the region, it became clear that the outskirts of Barranquilla were at a huge disadvantage due to the lack of food, water, and access to healthcare, compared to the metropolitan areas.

The lack of access to basic necessities led to a rise in crime rates as a result of theft in pharmacies and grocery stores and larger COVID-19 outbreaks due to the disbelief of the virus. 

Every day, people needed fresh and healthy meals, clean water, and basic healthcare/first aid supplies. This became AmorXLOCOMBIA's mission - to address the crisis head-on.

3. Design and Implementation

Following our first successful distribution, the nonprofit partnered with both Coca-Cola and Anheuser Busch In-Bev. Together, we more than doubled our donations with safe, healthy food and necessary healthcare items. 

In order to keep pace with high-demand, AmorXLOCOMBIA adapted by creating a sustainable revenue stream versus relying on charitable donations. This sustainable business model was called NuestraGente ("Our People"), and included a fashion collection sold via its eCommerce platform.

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4. Fashioning a Sustainable and Social Business Model

I conceptualized and launched a symbolic fashion collection, LOCOMBIA x NuestraGente. These specially designed t-shirts not only symbolized the love Colombians share, encapsulated by the term "AmorXLOCOMBIA," but also told the stories of Colombia's rich culture and folklore.

These t-shirts transcended mere garments; they became a conduit for change. Each purchase directly contributed to our mission. Every penny of profit from the sale of these t-shirts was meticulously directed towards the production and distribution of essential food baskets, nutritious meals, and biosecurity kits. This not only provided sustenance to 100 families every week during the four-month quarantine but also ensured their safety.

All profits supported 100 families with weekly sustenance and biosecurity kits during the 156-day quarantine. 

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My Role

Ideation

At the project's inception, I envisioned the potential for positive change and launched the "Odio X Amor" music video, setting the stage for what would become AmorXLOCOMBIA. This initial spark of creativity laid the foundation for our entire initiative, uniting the community around a shared purpose.

Business Design

I recognized that we needed a sustainable approach to tackle the food insecurity crisis exacerbated by the pandemic. This led to the creation of our symbolic fashion collection, LOCOMBIA x NuestraGente, which became a powerful tool for fundraising and community engagement.

Volunteer Outreach & Management

Spearheaded volunteer recruitment efforts and managed a team of ten volunteers. I ensured that our operations ran smoothly, from purchasing and delivering donations to documenting our impact. This collaborative effort was essential in our ability to reach those in need.

Corporate Partnerships

I leveraged my leadership role to seek and establish corporate partnerships with Anheuser-Busch InBev and Coca-Cola. These partnerships brought necessary financial resources and beverages to our food relief program, effectively doubling our impact and helping us reach more families.

Fundraising

As the founder, I took on the role of chief fundraiser. I designed, sold, and shipped t-shirts nationally, driving individual donations that directly funded our food relief efforts. This hands-on approach allowed us to maintain a steady stream of financial support for our mission.

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