Trying to direct the right donations to the right people, Los Mayas Eternos AC, a charitable organization that brings food and hygiene supplies to poor villages in Yucatán, is turning to smartphone technology.
Pedro Tec, the organization’s founder as well as an artist from Ixil, announced the plan — dubbed K-otoch — at Mayas Eternos board meeting today.
K-otoch is Mayan for “our home,” and that’s exactly where people will go with the aid of geo-positioning technology. They will be willing to donate unopened packaged food, water, toothpaste or similar goods to people asking for exactly those things.
Typing “k-otoch” into a Google map search field will bring up pins that link to contact information and wish lists. The link will also include the name and phone number of a volunteer to reach and coordinate within that community.
K-otoch is intended to benefit about 500 families, including more than 1,500 children.
The first communities to be brought into the programs will be ones the organization has already worked with, and where volunteers have already been recruited.
This makes donations more in line with what people are asking for. All too often, donations are made of expired food or refuse like old mattresses or moldy clothes, which get thrown away and squander the organization’s resources. Or well-meaning people gather food or gifts that have no appeal to typical Maya households.
A video explaining the concept is in the works. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The writer is a founding member of Los Mayas Eternos.