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Adriana Lucia Suarez Grajales on Using Text Messages to Solve Conflicts in Columbia
Photograph by Alexander Rieser

Adriana Lucia Suarez Grajales
Coordinator, Casa de Justicia
Villa del Socorro, Medellín, Colombia

Suarez Grajales, 43, has worked with U.S. tech delegates to strengthen her community's conflict-resolution project.

"WE STARTED THIS Casa de Justicia, or Justice House, with the support of the U.S., to give people who come from marginalized — and often violent — areas more resources to resolve disputes. People can come to the Casa and meet with conciliators who work with them to draw up agreements. To make it easier for people to communicate, we asked the U.S. to help us create a free or low-cost system using cell phones. Almost everyone has cell phones, but text messages and email are expensive. When Josh Nesbit came to Colombia, he connected our program with Sean McDonald and FrontlineSMS:Legal for technical help. We are working with telephone companies here to make SMS and text messages free for the people who work with us. The goal is to bring together citizens and justice."

A version of this article appeared in the May 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.