Focus on: Verónica Puga, Executive Director of Ingenieros Sin Fronteras Chile

July 18, 2018
Communications Colunga Foundation

"I believe that Colunga fulfills the objective of being an ecosystem that empowers civil society organizations to collaborate and strengthen"

How did you get to civil society?

It was a long road. When I was in fourth grade deciding what to study was between several options and a history teacher told me that I had to think about why I wanted to study something and for what. At that time I was working as a volunteer, in an open dining room in Valparaíso, and I thought I would like to work on poverty issues. I started studying Engineering at the Catholic University because it gives you many tools for many things and it helped me to work on these issues. Two years ago, a friend with whom I participated in several volunteering invited me to be part of Engineers Without Borders Chile.

I saw that it could be a great challenge. I started to realize that the foundations are also a partner of the State to correct certain rights that can not be guaranteed due to problems of resources, for example. Since April of this year I am in executive management.

What are you currently working on?

Ingenieros Sin Frontera Chile seeks to take advantage of the social potential of engineering and generate cooperation networks to make projects that build a sustainable society. What we want is that there is more voluntary engineering that serves society and the communities that are most vulnerable. We do engineering projects, but we also support groups that want to do it, because we realized that there are many people related to engineering, who want to volunteer, but do not know how. We want to be a connector between the wills and create an ecosystem that enhances engineering with social value.

Escalera Project - IEDIEG. Support to the IEDIEG group, which will build a modular steel staircase in the Vista al Mar campsite, Valparaíso.

What is your biggest challenge for this year?

Our biggest challenge is to go from this incipient stage to consolidate, because from June 2016 to April 2018 we were always volunteers, we could not hire anyone. An engineering and construction company, Bechtel, supported us and made a donation so that we could consolidate and start being a foundation. Today we have 50 partners and our challenge is to find a second or third company that supports us and win some competitive funds. We are starting to generate a service of methodologies to work on projects of engineering with communities, because the engineers do not train us in topics of community diagnosis, participatory design or evaluation of results, these are tools of other careers. We are finishing up to have a solid proposal for the companies, to continue having more "partners - person" and to sell these services and training based on the experience that we are accumulating.

How has your experience been at ColungaHUB?

Being in ColungaHUB is very good because networks are very important. With the COS and with Lealtad Chile Foundation We have had meetings and have helped us a lot in legal issues and transparency through training. It is very nice to be here because it costs nothing to climb the stairs and there is an important event Pro Bono of donation certificate, or go to CommunityWomen and ask them how they are doing their gender perspective workshops. Just as we want to be an ecosystem that promotes engineering with social value, I believe that Colunga fulfills the objective of being an ecosystem that encourages civil society organizations to collaborate and strengthen themselves.

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