Text Messages To Help Centuries-Old Choco Mining Tradition

Jim Glade | FrontlineSMS | June 2, 2011

Artisanal mining traditions and culture dating back to when the Spanish first brought African slaves to mine the region known today as Choco, are being reintroduced into the 21st century marketplace with the help of a text message.

The Choco Bioregion stretches from Panama, through Colombia and into Ecuador along the pacific coast of the South American continent. It has some of the richest biodiversity on the planet. Its human inhabitants are pre-dominantly Afro-Colombian, descendants of the slave trade. Dense jungle, heavy rains and poor infrastructure leave these inhabitants isolated from the rest of Colombia and the world.

Local economies are still very much stimulated by the centuries-old trade that forced their ancestors to Choco. Gold...How does an artisanal miner who might have to walk hours with no road through thick jungle to get to the nearest town, stay informed and competitive in the international gold market? The Oro Verde Program created and implemented by two local Community Councils, Fundacion Las Mojarras and the NGO AMICHOCO piloted a project in May that uses mass text messaging (SMS) technology to inform artisanal miners in the region of the daily, London Fix price for gold...