Santiago Center Launches Covid-19 Related Research Projects

July 17, 2020

The Columbia Global Centers | Santiago has posted on its website seven innovative projects related to Covid-19’s impact in Chile, which were conceptualized and implemented by Columbia Alumni in the context of a call for proposals launched in May.

The seven projects were selected from a total of 28 alumni-submitted proposals, which were evaluated and rated by a group of the Santiago Center’s Advisory Board members.

“The Santiago Center continues to bring relevant academic content and projects to the fore,” Center Director Karen Poniachik said. “We are in a unique position to tap into to our extended Columbia Alumni base, with all the insight, knowledge, and expertise they represent, to document this singular moment in time and review how it is affecting Chile, its people and its institutions.”

The projects range widely in scope. La Creatividad No Para (“Creativity Doesn’t Stop”), for example, employs photographs and short videos to highlight the innovation and resilience of four institutions that have found creative solutions that respond to Covid-19: a high school in Arica broadcasting via local radio to reach students that cannot go to class; a restaurateur who created a collaborative platform to donate healthy, free meals to hospital workers and people in need; a clean air systems builder that pivoted to produce sanitization systems for public spaces; and a clothes manufacturer that adapted to make copper-infused N95 medical facemasks.

In turn, Promoting Young Children’s Autonomous Learning offers the Spanish-based online platform Juega y Aprende Conmigo (“Play and Learn with me”) to foster the physical and mental development of young children sheltered at home, from doing yoga with sea animals, to helping Tito the Cat solve mathematical problems. The website also offers apps to download and tutorials for parents.

Meanwhile, Diosas de lo Íntimo (“Goddesses of the Intimate”) provides an advance on a collection of stories on the lives of Chilean women forced indoors. Such is the case of Esther, a strong woman who keeps tradition alive and the family together by lovingly preparing recipes that have been passed down through the generations, and Ziomara, a resolute woman used to overcoming obstacles in her struggle to become a professional basketball player.

The submitted works, available on the Santiago Center website, are:

  • La Creatividad No Para, led by Paloma Estévez (SOA’19): Creative solutions addressing Covid-19 in four cases: Liceo Bicentenario Pablo Neruda de Arica, Cocina País, The Tunnel of Life by Grupo Air, and clothing manufacturer Monarch.
  • Promoting Young Children's Autonomous Learning, led by Alejandra Cortázar (TC’11): A child-friendly online platform in Spanish, with a repository of resources (digital and for print) for children aged 3-6 to use autonomously from home. This project is supported by the World Bank and the Center for Studies on Early Childhood, CEPI.
  • Diosas de lo Íntimo, led by Ximena Vial (GSAS’16): Women have been the keepers of the intimate space and familiar memory since ancestral times; however, their work and relevance has been kept in the private spheres of history and left out of traditional accounts. This archive registers and provides visibility of diverse Chilean women in the midst of a global pandemic. The project includes a “making of” video and an advance preview with three such stories, with the remaining seven stories to be published shortly.
  • Covid’s Impact on the Labor Market, Fueled by Automation, led by Pablo Egaña del Sol (GSAS’16): A paper which suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic may serve as a catalyzer for automation in several industries throughout Chile. Crossing datasets containing material on the degree of exposure to automation at the occupational level, with information related to telework capacity, the amount of physical proximity and the level of exposure to infectious diseases at the workplace, the researcher concludes that 13% of female workers and 21% of their male colleagues are under high risk of automation. The study also highlights the existence of a high degree of variability at the industry and territorial level throughout Chile.
  • The Politics of Coronavirus in Chile, led by José Miguel Cabezas (GSAS’12): An analysis of political announcements from March to June 2020, demonstrating that government policies can effectively reduce – or encourage – the movement of individuals during a pandemic.
  • Comparison of Educational Initiatives in Campamentos in the Context of Covid-19, led by Valeria Moraga (SIPA’19): A case study on the impact of two interventions - internet access and remote tutoring - on the mental health and educational indicators of children between 6 and 14 years old, who live in informal settlements.
  • Understanding the Impact of Social Distancing Measures and Quarantine on Vulnerable Families with Pre-School Children, by Carmen Le Foulon (GSAS’14): An analysis on how different social distancing measures in Chile have impacted the most vulnerable families with pre-school children, while also identifying potential risk factors and protective measures. (Note: field work ongoing and data still being compiled.)